Making an Impact Matters Most to Millennials


By Roy Maurer March 9, 2015

Young professionals are less motivated by compensation and more motivated by their ability to make an impact, their career advancement possibilities and the feedback they receive, according to executives’ responses to a recent survey.

Recruitment solutions firm Futurestep, a Korn Ferry company, asked 800 executives what matters most to the Millennial generation, generally defined as those born after 1980.

The largest amount of respondents (23 percent) said it was their “ability to make an impact on the business,” followed by “a clear path for advancement” (20 percent), and “development and ongoing feedback” (16 percent). Compensation came in at fourth place at 13 percent.

When asked what makes Millennials choose one job over another, more than one-third (38 percent) of executives said “visibility and buy-in to the vision of the organization,” while 28 percent said “a clear path for advancement.” “Job title and pay” came in third place at 18 percent.

The research shows that today’s young workforce has changed priorities, said Trish Healy, vice president of RPO Operations for Futurestep in North America. “Where traditionally we might have expected salary to be the number one differentiator for talent choosing their next employer, Millennials are now placing greater value on understanding what a company stands for and how, as employees, they can play a role in growing the organization into a better, stronger brand,” she said. Organizations need to clearly communicate paths for advancement and “create ongoing dialogue about development opportunities,” as part of the recruiting and onboarding process, Healy added.

The survey revealed that nearly half (42 percent) of survey respondents believe social media is the best way to recruit Millennials, followed by word-of-mouth and networking (28 percent), and online talent communities (19 percent).

“Businesses need to meet these young professionals where they live, which is on social and mobile platforms,” said Healy. “These channels are clearly a way of life for this generation, making it imperative that when companies look to hire the best and the brightest, they are creating digital-first recruitment strategies.” Healy recommended employers utilize mobile-optimized career sites and online professional and social communities that “communicate the culture, values and personality of the company,” to truly connect and engage with young talent.

More than half of respondents (54 percent) said that onboarding programs for Millennial new hires help improve performance and accelerate time to full productivity. Nearly one quarter (23 percent) claimed onboarding provided company leaders with more insight into future high-performers.

Notably, 81 percent of respondents said they currently develop Millennial employees differently than other employees.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy

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