Secrets to Onboarding Millennials for Success

Each day, Millennials consume a larger percentage of today’s workforce. What worked for previous classes, probably isn’t going to cut it with this next gen mindset. Here are some easy ways to start by tailoring your new hire process for onboarding millennials for maximum productivity.

As we go through this process, keep this little fact in mind…

Formal Onboarding Millennials Performance Milestones Stats
Source: cognology.com

Why Onboarding Millennials is Different

Onboarding millennials is particularly crucial because they’re starting with less. Less work experience, less training, less everything.

Part of the reason being that they’re known to be job hoppers. In fact, LinkedIn research says with each passing years, millennials are staying for shorter and shorter time periods at each job.

Average Length of Millennial Employees Company Experience Graph

Because they haven’t gotten extensive training during long stints at previous companies, they simply don’t have the foundation you’ll find with other mid to senior level employees.

So don’t be fooled by this driven, tech-savvy group. They need the same, if not more onboarding than other generations.

Don’t believe it? Ask them.

In a recent study millennials on average rated themselves at a C- level for job preparedness. Essentially, even THEY know they’re not ready for the job.

And it’s your job to get them ready. You need to make the investment in the generation who will soon make up more than half of our US workforce, and take advantage of an incredibly agile, intelligent, and talented workforce.

Creating a Lasting Impression for Your Millennial Employees

For regular employees onboarding might just be a way to get new hires up to speed. For millennials, it’s where they begin to build their company roots.

Think of it as your 30 seconds to impress the Bachelorette after getting out of the limo on opening night. It doesn’t matter whether you ride up on a horse, do a magic trick, or wear a full blown costume, but you better do something. Simply saying your name and walking inside is essentially millennial suicide.

Why is the first impression so critical for millennials? Because they are your employees who are most likely to leave within their first 18 months. And when they do, it’s expensive. Research shows that nearly 2/3rds of millennials leave a job within 3 years, exits that could cost you on average $20,000 a pop.

So when it comes to onboarding millennials, make sure you wow them. Be creative, and be authentic. This isn’t just a training opportunity, it’s a chance to get them hooked.

Here are a couples ways for onboarding delight:

  • Grab them early. Don’t wait until their first day to start connecting with your brand’s identity, and the team. Send out information in advance to help get them excited. Even better? Personalize it! Anything customized to your new employee will make them feel like your organization in on top of the ball and ahead of the tech curve.
  • Make them part of the family. Encourage your team to reach out to new millennial employees via social media networks, like LinkedIn, so they can get connected. Nearly 75% of millennials create social media profiles, and they’ll appreciate that your organization is active on them.
  • Focus on culture. More than anything millennials want to be a part of something great. 75% of millennials think business are too focused on their own agenda versus helping to improve society, and they’re not happy about it. Use onboarding to share about your company culture and mission, and convince your millennial employees you’re part of the 25% who cares.
  • Give out some gear. Nothing says “This new job rocks” like some free company swag. Delight your new millennial employees with t-shirts, mugs, and pens so they can snap some photos and brag about their new job on social media.

Getting Millennial Employees to Their Full Potential

Delighting your millennial employees will help keep them around, but you actually need to train them too.

Training millennials, just like anything else, is slightly different. Don’t expect to keep the exact system you have now and see your millennials flourish.

You need to adjust your programming to fit their needs, like technology and social interaction. In other words, a classroom with a chalkboard is no good.

Try the following experiences to enhance the effectiveness of your millennial onboarding tactics:

  • Incorporate technology. It’s all about tech! Did you know 80% of millennials sleep with their phone within reach at night? Give them what they want. Ditch the chalkboard and move your onboarding information online.
  • Offer flexibility. What else to millennials love? Options. Design your online onboarding process with software that allows for flexible, interactive modules so millennials can tackle different topics as they please.
  • Get interactive. A lot of information needs to be absorbed individually, but interacting with existing employees is a great way to get your millennials in the game. Incorporate shadowing, peer mentors and coaches, and meaningful experiences to help get them up to speed and connected to the organization.

Millennials may be incredibly savvy, but they still need effective onboarding just like anyone else.

It’s up to you to transform your organization to welcome in millennial employees by recognizing their unique needs. From being delighted, to getting up to speed effectively, your onboarding process is a critical moment for each of your millennial employees.

First impressions are important, but also make sure your whole organization isn’t a dud either.


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