DAV Professional Placment Group
DAV Professional Placment Group


Johannesburg +27 11 217 0000

Cape Town +27 21 468 7000

JOHANNESBURG +27 11 217 0000
CAPE TOWN +27 21 468 7000

What Matters Most in Attracting Millennials?


What Matters Most in Attracting Millennials February 2016 - Maria Meiring

I’m a huge fan of Millennials: they are bright, tech savvy, connected and energetic and care a lot about being part of something bigger than the bottom line. They don’t necessarily respond to the same things our older generations do but they are not as complicated as they are sometimes perceived. Considering that come 2020, according to some estimates, they will make up the majority of the workforce, I think it’s time we tweaked our tried and trusted methods of talent attraction if we want to become millennial magnets.

Understanding what motivates them is essential to formulating a plan for attracting millennials to our organisations. Their biggest priority is rapid advancement and so I read with interest that some companies are now developing advancement roadmaps that offer ‘smaller’ promotions at shorter intervals. Promotions from roles A1, A2 and A3 to B1 etc., versus a bigger jump from role A to role B. I think this is very clever allowing a company to recognise good performance whilst giving their millennials a sense of career progression.

Millennials are known to consider job-hopping as perfectly acceptable; this is because they consider jobs as opportunities to gain an education in specific technical or communication skills. I believe they stay for longer when we keep them interested and so in attracting them we need to highlight educational opportunities in tangible, technological and communication skills that will feed millennial interest, ambition, and entrepreneurial spirit. This is a marker of the most successful firms and is what the best young people are looking for. Assign mentors to millennials: they want to learn from people with expertise. I even go so far as to recommend giving them co-leadership opportunities. They will embrace the challenge and reward the opportunity to learn and develop with hard work and commitment.

Millennials are just as interested in how a company contributes to society as they are in how it develops its people. They want to work for companies that have a clear sense of purpose and they want to personally have an impact within the organisation. Identify why the world is a better place because your company exists and incorporate this into your attraction message. 81% of the Best Places to Work for Millennials offer paid time off for volunteer work, compared to just 53% of companies that did not make the list. Stress how their role will impact the company’s vision.

Many companies are relooking the type of leaders they have in place, as millennials seek and respond to a very specific style of leadership. According to a Deloitte study, today’s Millennials define true leaders as strategic thinkers (39%), inspirational (37%), personable (34%) and visionary (31%). They respond very negatively to micro-management.

Other factors that millennials consider important are:

  • Focus on results, not hours. Introduce flextime and/or telecommuting.
  • Work/life integration (more than just balance, they want work and life to integrate seamlessly).
  • Open communication and transparency.
  • Innovation and creative thinking.
  • Regular feedback.
  • Collaborative, rather than competitive, work cultures.

What millennials are looking for is actually pretty basic and straight-forward. You may already be getting some of what they want right, you just might need to adapt and revamp a few things.

If you have any questions or if we can help in any way, please get in touch.



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