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FMI Quarterly/December 2013/December 1, 2013

Talent Wars, Then and Now

Tech15_imageGeneration Y (Gen Y), Millennials, futures, kids, call them what you want. But do not call; simply text. This new generation communicates differently from prior generations. As the Millennials communicate differently, we must find ways to communicate more effectively, which means different interactions and ideologies must drive the way one thinks.

Past generations were more suited to connect through in-person interactions or via phone calls. Email and video conferences are considered standard ways of interacting, but not for Millennials. IMessage, texting, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets are all communication tools this generation uses. These trends are the foundation of the next generation’s way of communicating and interacting. Pagers, two-way radios and landlines are museum artifacts that should be on exhibit to be regaled by the Millennials. Therefore, if an organization is looking to hire members of this particular generation, there are a few things to consider:

  • Where to find them
  • How to entice them
  • How to keep them, long term

To attract young talent, organizations must change the way recruiting and hiring occurs. The potential this next generation can provide is greater than a job or position. Hiring for Millennials should be more about culture and potential than the work itself. Corporate mission, vision and values on how individuals fit a particular culture have direct impact to this group. Millennials will want to come up with dynamic ways to improve production and more effective means to achieve higher morale and profits. Organizations must be willing to allow this transformation to occur. Many companies tend to tell new employees how and what, but today these individuals need and want to be asked and included, not told.

Finding the right talent today is different, difficult and frustrating, yet the key to an organization’s success. Talent searches prior to 2009 were difficult because the potential hiring pool seemed shallow. As the high volume of construction activities moderated or decreased, companies may not have been searching for talent at a steady rate and, as such, recruiting efforts were lessened. As the market continued to intensify with more jobs becoming available in early 2012, qualified personnel may have been more readily available. More availability means Millennials can be more selective, and this just exacerbates the current war for talent.

Today, qualified individuals may be available, but their attitudes, desires and needs may have changed. How does a company win the talent war? The answer is complicated and frustrating. Here are the types of questions organizations may be asked from potential hires within this generation:

  • What is your company culture, and how does this encourage me to feel as though it is a place I want to thrive?
  • What separates your organization from others — how are you an employer of choice?
  • How much training and development can you offer to assist me in growing within my career?
  • Do you have a mentoring program, either formally or informally?
  • What rewards and recognition do you offer?
  • Will I have a healthy work-life balance of my choosing?

If these questions make you think (or cringe), then you may have some work to do as it pertains to hiring and retaining the best talent for your organization. The challenge of where to find these potential employees is considerable. According to CareerCast.com, on a list for best-worst jobs of 2013 (based on five criteria: physical demands, work environment, income, stress and hiring outlook), construction worker ranked 171 out of 200. This is not good news when trying to attract a group of young individuals. In 2007, when the economy was capable of producing high profits, new talent was scarce, and we were reaching the limits on finding the best and brightest at the right price. Now in 2013, significant talent exists, but their needs have changed. What they want and expect is not what we had to offer in the economic market of 2008 through 2011.

Since technology and the needs of the generations have changed, hiring practices and the way we search for the top talent has to change as well. Finding the appropriate individuals to meet our needs is difficult. Creative recruiting is important to engage the Millennials. The days of ads in the newspaper are lost on this group. Today recruiting, hiring and interviewing are different. How different? Consider this: Websites such as www.constructionjobs.com, www.monster.com and www.indeed.com all are good resources for advertising, but today’s generation is much more sophisticated in finding careers.

Networking is the direction for them; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites are where they meet. While this may not sound like a novel approach, the Millennial generation is a culture of group-belonging. Millennials are not individualistic in their philosophy, so they want to work where they feel a sense of fitting in. Millennials can actually increase the talent pool organically because they talk among themselves. Millennials can and will often bring others with whom they feel comfortable into the recruiting process. CareerBuilder, jobs.com and craigslist are fine, but creative recruiting is essential to find and hire the right talent in today’s new work environment.

The new workforce is understandably a challenge for the current generations of leaders, from the clothes Millennials wear to the way they think about work, client satisfaction and profit. Millennials shape of the future of organizations because they are entering the workforce at a steady pace. If you want the organization to continue to succeed past the next 25 years, then consider that Millennials are key to further success. Finding the right fit is the challenge; talk to these bright and unique individuals and listen to what they can offer.

In an age where change is constant and technology reinvents itself routinely, this young group of future leaders has insight, intellect and desire. Today’s HiPos (High Potentials) or HiPers (High Performers) can and will find other talent to join the workforce if asked. The Millennial generation is different from the Boomers and Gen Xers, and that is a good thing.


Randy Nemchin is a senior consultant with FMI Corporation. He can be reached at 919.785.9301 or via email at rnemchin@fminet.com.

1 Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324874204578439154095008558.html

 

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