Nothing irks more than a gross generalisation, yet people are always doing it.
Being an Aussie in London, I am forever being told, “Oh you Aussies are… ” something or other.
Really? I’m just the same as all 23.8 million Australians?
If it’s not race, it’s religion, it’s short, it’s tall, it’s male, it’s female or any other way we can pigeon hole people.
And now the industry is trying to lump people into one category based on their date of birth and have us believing that these ‘Millennials’ are really different to us, the ‘non-Millenials’.
Well according to Pew Research’s How Millennial Are You? I am 92% Millennial. Not bad for a 70s baby!
Apparently, I reached the 90s because of my unremarkable ‘piercing in some place other than an earlobe’ and my tattoo, both obtained when it was trendy back in the 90s.
In fact, in the full report, they state:
They [Millennials] embrace multiple modes of self-expression. Three quarters have created a profile on a social networking site. One-in-five have posted a video of themselves online. Nearly four-in-ten have a tattoo (and for most who do, one is not enough: about half of those with tattoos have two to five and 18% have six or more). Nearly one-in-four have a piercing in some place other than an earlobe – about six times the share of older adults who’ve done this
Oh please! My 50 year old foster bro must be Millennial too then. Tats galore, piercings, multiple social networks, and videos. He’s all about self-expression (and one of my favourite people on the planet)
How many ‘older’ people do you know who also fit this camp?
I recently read a great article by Joe Reardon, Will Millennials Want to Work For Your Client?, which got me onto the aforementioned Pew survey. In the post Joe, a confessed ‘Baby Boomer’, relays a conversation he had with his ‘Millennial’ daughter where she states what she, and only she, looks for in an employer:
- A collaborative team environment, with all working together towards a common goal.
- A culture where everyone wants to get better at what they do, and that opportunities exist for self-improvement and skills development.
- An environment where you have to earn the respect of your co-workers, and it’s not just assumed because of title or position.
- Appropriate and competitive benefits are provided and effectively communicated, and if not provided, resources exist to provide direction.
- Systems and processes exist that are efficient and consistently followed, and well thought-out ones are added/changed as necessary.
Is that really any different to what all employees want?
Stop labelling people and get curious instead
Instead of trying to pigeon hole people, get curious about what’s unique about your company/client, the role, the team, the people… all of it. Create job descriptions that tap into your company’s/client’s individual interests, passions and direction.
- Why do people work there?
- What is special about the place?
- What makes people stay?
- What do you offer that is different from everyone else?
- And check out Glassdoor to find out what people say about you when they leave.
Because aren’t you actually looking for people who would excel in your environment, regardless of their age?
Use social media to share this true insight into your company
Obviously, if you would still rather just tap into the younger market you’ll want to engage where they actually are. They’re unlikely to be on LinkedIn, with so little of their own history to add, so try Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and niche social networks.
Ensure you add value, engage in conversation and quit the broadcasting. Be genuine and be yourself, they don’t want business speak… who does?
And for goodness sake, don’t forget that not everyone is on social media. You may need to share the aforementioned via phone!!
Just wanted to speak to someone who is not on social media. Had to actually ring them up. Like it’s 2004 or something.
— Gem Reucroft (@HR_Gem) April 16, 2015
In January 2016, I was delighted to speak at DisruptHR in New York, and just loved this presentation from Miriam Peterson, Human Resources Assistant at Goshow Architects, “What Millennials Want You To Know About Millennials”