If your company wishes to welcome Millennials in your workforce, you must consider two very important things: they have extremely high expectations and they are impatient. Although Millennials can easily adapt to changes and deal with pressure, they are very selective and aware of their options. This means that your traditional employee training will no longer work. And it’s time to be creative if you want to retain the Y generation.
Tips for onboarding Millennials
In the same way, the onboarding process offers fertile ground to instill the excitement and passion needed for a Millennial to settle in for a long-term career. The first couple weeks of a Millennial’s employment largely determine their career trajectory with the company. There is no doubt that the below onboarding program tips will take time and effort to implement, but they will ultimately save you time on the back-end from recruiting and interviewing for the positions Millennials leave because they didn’t feel welcomed and accepted at the organization.
Talk to existing employees
Ask current employees, who have worked for the organization for less than two years, what they wish they were told or did during the onboarding process, and integrate it. With existing employees, stress the importance of a warm welcome to new hires. Set-up time for the new hire to connect with at least one company leader.
Send a pre-first day email or text to the new Millennial hire that highlights the organization’s excitement and what to expect when it comes to attire, parking, and the day’s agenda. Since employee energy levels are typically higher later in the week, consider starting the new hire on a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. Start the new hire’s day after 10 am. This allows ample time for the new hire to find their way to work and current employees to address urgent items before the new hire arrives.
Prepare some promo gear
Nothing communicates “we forgot you were starting today” than not having the new hire’s gear ready. Ensure all company-issued hardware and devices are live and pre-loaded with the new hire’s favorite utility applications. Surprise them with some super sweet company-branded SWAG (stuff we all get). The quirkier and more unique the better. This can help the new hire to begin identifying with the company.
Millennials appreciate customization
Thanks to the Internet, Millennials grew up in an age of customization where they personalized their shoes, shirts, and cars. Lean into this expectation and allow the new hire to customize their workspace, devices, and/or work applications. You can learn a lot about the new hire during this customization process. In addition, provide preprinted business cards with their name on them. This will help the Millennials see and feel that they are a part of the team right from Day One.
Millennials need and want to know exactly how you want them to perform. Providing a clear introduction and overview of their job will go a long way. Provide dos and don’ts when it comes to communication, leadership, work hours, vacation, etc. After onboarding, the Millennial should have a basic understanding of the following: culture, values and vision, roles and responsibilities, opportunities and promotions, training and safety, and ethics/accountability.
The top reason Millennials leave organizations is due to the lack of career opportunities. Get an early jump on this issue by highlighting the necessary steps for advancement within the organization. Introduce them to your employee engagement software and employee rewards system so they are aware of how to use the company tools to help engage and advance from the get-go. Clearly identify their options and the necessary timelines for promotions. One company, in particular, provides each new hire with a living plant to resemble their growth with the organization. The perceived growth of existing employee’s plants is a literal living example of the organization’s commitment to advancement.
Communication is key for Millennials
Provide a “New Hire Handbook” that includes insights from employees, close places to eat or grab a beer, transit options, attire no-nos, recreation options, etc. Consider a new hire scavenger hunt as a way to get to know the office, people, and the culture. Keep in mind that Millennials get Millennials, so use recent Millennial hires when possible to provide these tours. Having the company values and vision displayed on the walls or embodied by the employees and the physical workspace will help to clearly communicate the company culture.
Finish strong and with energy
Many onboarding processes can drag on and on, and lead to a new hire burnout. Not a good first impression. Instead, end with energy. Use a social event or activity to signify the completion of the process. Or provide a tangible reward that can serve as a right of passage into the organization.
Why you need to be flexible with Millenials
Several companies still fear the word “millennial” as a military weapon pointing at them. Because they know changes need to be made, and they fear change. But, with more than 50 million millennials joining the workforce, employers need to prepare for the future. It’s their best bet. And yours.