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How to Attract and Keep the Employees You Want - January 15, 2018

How to Attract and Keep the Employees You Want

If you’ve ever parented a teenager, you’ll relate to this: When my oldest daughter was 16, getting her out of bed in the morning was almost impossible. I tried tender encouragement (so naïve), yelling, take-away-the-car threats, more yelling … and there she still was – in bed.

Now a successful businesswoman and mother of three herself, she and I revisited the issue recently over an adult beverage. When I commended her on finding so much self-motivation, she looked at me the way only a Millennial would look at someone who doesn’t know how to tweet, and said, “Mom, who was more motivated? The woman who got what she wanted (sleeping teenager) or the woman who didn’t (ranting mom)?

The takeaway here is this: If someone doesn’t respond like you do, we believe they’re wrong. And therein lies the problem.

Keeping this in mind, let’s now address two important facts:
1. 66% of employees are not fully engaged.
2. Improving efficiency is an ongoing issue with companies of all sizes.

So how do you improve engagement and efficiency?

Here’s a glance at what the Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers want from their workplace:


Overall, this is a group that’s very confident they can find a job, and if they don’t like it, they can find another one. They also like the idea of striking out on their own, so making the position you’re filling sound entrepreneurial will be attractive to them. Incentive plans and a flexible benefit package is a plus.

This group also likes to do business with companies that have strong altruistic cultures, so talk about the volunteerism, community outreach, and charitable contributions your company participates in.

Titles are attractive to Millennials, so offer one. And if you don’t want your prospective employee to think your company is a dinosaur, talk about your technology capabilities and goals. Offer online job applications on your website and social media.

Consider offering this group lifestyle benefits, like a student loan conversion package – if you hire someone with a degree, your company will help pay a portion of your debt.

Gen Xers

This group is very different from the aforementioned Millennials. While Millennials have close family ties, these folks have close friendships as their emotional base. They are pragmatic, self-reliant and have no tolerance for the proverbial BS. They accept and embrace diversity and are less trusting than their younger counterparts.

Because many Boomers have delayed retirement and have so much experience, and Millennials are automatically assumed to be digital wizards, this group can suffer from being overlooked at their present jobs, so they’d be delighted to find a position where they can spread their wings.

Offer your Gen Xer applicant the opportunity to build (or rebuild) retirement savings securely. These 40- to 50-year-olds have seen their savings hit hard by the Dot Com bubble, the Great Recession, and lousy deposit rates.

Attract these employees by trying to accommodate their need for flexibility in hours – most have active kids and tight daily schedules.

Be mindful that some have become “forgotten” in their current position, so offering career pathing and continuing education opportunities is valued.

These employees are still an active segment at many companies today, comprising 40% or more of the entire team. While you’re probably not actively seeking to increase your Boomer employee segment, there are things you can do to impact your engagement and efficiency issues. Consider performance incentives that feature paid time off and/or travel vouchers.

Most Boomers are grandparents, and many of them provide some type of financial support to their children and grandchildren, so scholarship programs to benefit those kids and grandkids would be highly motivating to a Boomer.

As an employer, perhaps the single most important thing you can do for your Boomers is to establish a long off-ramp for their retirement. By creating a two- to three-year plan that ramps down incrementally, your company is more able to fill the role needed with the support and help of the retiree … and it helps the Boomer transition more easily into retirement and adapt to their new lifestyle.

Whether they’re 23 or 63, your people are the most important asset your company has. In many markets, finding the employees you want is challenging and highly competitive. For those reasons and more, taking the time to understand what they value in their job is an investment with a very high ROI.


Source: This information was used with permission from Mills Marketing and based on a variety of national research studies.



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