Do’s and don’ts of hiring in the age of millennials

Much has been said over the last few years about the millennial workers entering the workplace and how this generation is going to redefine and reshape the workplace of the future. But, is this getting organisations in a panic over changing their hiring policies and practices?

Much has been said over the last fewyears about the millennial workers entering the workplace and how thisgeneration is going to redefine and reshape the workplace of the future. But,is this getting organisations in a panic over changing their hiring policiesand practices?


According to Michelle Baron-Williamson,Executive of Managed Integrity Evaluation (MIE): “To keep up with the rapidlygrowing number of millennials entering the workplace, this has caused some organisationsto ‘panic’ and try to reshuffle their existing workforce to make space for thismillennial worker. Of course, companies should examine ways to leverage thisnew talent and focus on investing in hiring more skilled millennials to populatetheir workforce. However, this should not come at the expense of HR practicesthat are crucial to protecting the organisation – which I believe is happening.”


Researchfrom PwC notes that millennials already form 25% of the workforce in the US andaccount for over half of the population in India. In South Africa, alternative researchnotes that there are approximately19.5 million millennials in the country. PwC’sresearchstates that by 2020, millennials will form 50% of the global workforce.


“The millennial-worker movement formspart of normal evolutionary shifts of society – where, as one generation movesout of the workplace another moves in,” adds Baron-Williamson. “However, thefast-paced growth of this movement, has largely been spurred by the urgency of eachwave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. As markets increasingly move into a moredigital era, there is a multitude of diverse and digital technologies that organisationsare looking to adapt to, and adopt. And, what has become clear is that as organisationslook to roll out their own digital transformation strategies – having a strongdigitally inclined workforce is key to succeeding and remaining competitive.”


Millennials have grown up withtechnology at their fingertips and being exposed to all things connected. Theirdiverse understanding of the digital realm and innovative way of thinking is aunique opportunity that organisations can leverage and therefore need tocapitalise on. However, the researchalso noted that millennials tend to be uncomfortable with rigid corporatestructures.


Baron-Williamson indicates that whereorganisations are panicked over potentially losing talent, many are eitherignoring or adjusting their HR policies and structures to accommodate this newgeneration worker. But, that this approach in effect increases risks to theorganisation associated with hiring an inappropriate candidate.


“HR processes, no matter whichgeneration, should remain stringent. Aspects such as background screeningchecks must be incorporated. In fact, the need to assess whether a candidate isright for the organisation and the job available, is more prevalent than ever,especially in an economy where job opportunities are not plentiful,” says Baron-Williamson.


South Africa’s unemployment rate remainsalarmingly high at 26.7%; which means there is a much larger number of people -across generations - competing for limited available job positions. Desperationand the anxiety experienced when looking for meaningful employmentopportunities in a tougher economic environment can unfortunately result in anincrease in job-seekers not being truthful about their professional, criminaland academic histories.


Baron-Williamson suggests that there area number of other approaches that should be considered and incorporated into anorganisations hiring strategy to attract top millennial talent. Examples of thesemay include – but not be limited to – adopting social media as key tools inrecruitment efforts, placing increased focus on culture-fit and that theorganisation exuberates a healthy culture, and offering professionaldevelopment. It’s also important to review onboarding programmes, to ensurethese are supported by powerful technology and are in tune with theorganisation’s digital transformation strategy.


“While millennials do form a keycornerstone of the future business workforce and therefore should be consideredwhen growing a business’s talent team, the HR process in hiring millennialsshould not change based on this new generation of worker. Conductingcomprehensive background checks remains paramount to HR practices; to enablethe organisation to make making intelligent personnel decisions,” concludes Baron-Williamson.

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