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Lo-res_412-19999-SWhen it comes to appealing to Millennials, retailers have to consider more than just young consumers; they need to think about the job applicants that present themselves to fill the many jobs available in the retail sector. Although the strategies to find and hire the best applicants might not be totally different based on generational cohorts, some aspects of the process could require adjustment to appeal to Millennials, who currently account for approximately one-third of the workforce and will constitute the majority of workers by around 2025.

In particular, some studies suggest that a key practice is to engage in dialogue, to find out what each individual applicant seeks in terms of job goals, responsibilities, and future prospects. With this information, a Millennial job candidate can affirm whether she or he will fit with the retailer’s corporate culture, which constitutes an important criterion for young workers. Other reports suggest that working in a team setting that enables them to receive training on the job is important to most Millennials.

Although such tactics might be optimal for getting individual employees to commit, hiring firms appear to hold somewhat poor views of Millennials as a group. For example, 74 percent of hiring managers surveyed in one study indicated their sense that Millennials had a poor work ethic, compared with previous generations of workers.

Part of the source of these conflicting notions might stem from a basic difference in perspective about what employment should mean. Many previous generations might have sought to obtain a job and stay with that same company for their entire careers, and people with that attitude likely are the ones doing the hiring. But Millennials instead might respond better to a strategy that encourages them to develop their skills and talents by leveraging the resources available in the company at that time. By helping them cultivate these skills, in line with their own preferred job trajectory, the retailer can ensure that it prepares them to perform well in the future. From a traditional view, the challenge of such an approach is that the Millennial might find more opportunities with another company. But that might be the price modern retailers need to pay to attract the best talent among the current generation of workers.

Discussion Question:

  1. From your personal perspective, do you agree with these results of studies of Millennials? Why or why not?

Source: Matthew Stern, Retail Wire, January 13, 2016