Millennials. They might seem like a tough nut to crack, but as a senior HR or business leader, it is absolutely critical to hear their side of the story – how they would like to be onboarded and how to get the best of them right from the start. Millennials will comprise more than 75% of the workforce by 2025 which makes attracting and retaining this cohort a top priority. This begins with a foolproof onboarding process.
To give us a better insight into the millennial market, we recently conducted a focus group and invited 10 working millennials in Singapore between the age of 22 to 32. We asked them questions such as, “What do you want out of an onboarding program?”, How do we get the best out of you?”, and “What are your expectations in the first month of a new job?.”
Based on their feedback, we came up with 8 ways for managers to engage a millennial new hire:
1. Excite them before Day 1
New hires are always hungry and eager to learn. As soon as the big contract is signed, capitalize on their enthusiasm and give them access to the knowledge they need for their role. Facilitate their understanding of your company’s culture, values, key processes, supervisors and peers in a fun and interactive way. This way, they stay excited and ready to perform from day one.
2. Promote a continuous learning culture
Millennials want to feel supported and equipped not just for their role but for the future. However, the constraints and distractions of modern life can make learning a challenge. They disengage from long periods of plain reading, passive watching or listening to experts. Give millennials something worth their time. They want to play an active, participatory role in their learning, through asking questions, reflecting on the answers and sharing points of view with other learners. Provide them with a platform where their colleagues can join in and learn together. Learning is contagious. If others are learning, so will they.
3. Kill boring presentations, go mobile
Millennials find overused powerpoint presentations a bore. They want more efficient communication and access to data. Prolonged powerpoint presentations are huge red-flags. Quit boring these millennials and let them take charge of their onboarding!
According to a study of outstandingly engaged business units, only 4% of respondents noted that salary was a key factor that drove their engagement. Instead, respondents prioritize feeling autonomous and empowered, and a sense of belonging to their teams as key factors. Make use of simple technology to guide your new hires and facilitate the key interactions throughout the onboarding process to empower and continuously engage your new hires.
4. Pair them with champions
This is the common reason why new hires often feel disengaged – they feel that they are being left alone to sink or swim. Partner them with champions. It’s essential to pick out passionate individuals who are willing to guide through example and embody your organization’s culture. Rather than merely praising the new employees, champions are also more likely to give authentic and constructive feedback.
5. Celebrate small and big wins
While some new hires are ready to be challenged, others need a little more encouragement. Either way, all new hires are ready to start bringing something to the table. Allow them to own something. Give them a reason to show their passion and creativity. Give them a platform to shine and celebrate those key milestones with their team. Recognition motivates millennials to perform even better on that next project or challenging situation.
6. It’s about them
The onboarding process is like dating. If you want someone to be loyal to you, you have to be invested in them. A transactional relationship between manager and hires will not be enough to get the best of them. Make sure new hires are given a platform to express their goals. Their personal why and vision should be aligned with the overall team and company goals.
7. “Survival” Package
Give your new hires something tangible they can use to feel belonged, or to simply become ambassadors of the brand in the wider community. A personalized space including t-shirts, jackets, a coffee mug that represents your company will instill pride as they embark on their new journey.
8. Show them you’re listening
New hires often have an outsider perspective on the company. Don’t let that go to waste. Find a way to capture feedback from new hires throughout their onboarding and use this to improve company practices. Millennials love to feel like their inputs matter.
To conclude, you don’t need a crazy onboarding process like Google or Apple to get the best from your millennials. You just need to put the right ingredients together, understand their concerns and feed them what they want. The solution could be a simple mobile-first onboarding platform that allows new hires to have access to all knowledge, interact with their champions and teams, and have a participatory and social learning experience.