It’s a common refrain heard from small and midsize businesses: recruiting and retaining Millennial employees is tough. Considering that the 54 million people now aged 18-34 will make up more than half the workforce by 2020, SMBs would be wise to figure out the trick to attracting and keeping this bigger-than-Boomers generation.
Cheryl Kelly, Microsoft’s General Manager, SMB Marketing who shared those stats with us, spoke to Yahoo Small Business Advisor about the findings of recent Microsoft research on millennials in the workplace.
In a nutshell, she says the software giant’s SurveyMonkey poll of 1,000 millennials confirmed her own hypothesis: that technology is the key to keeping high-quality young workers happy and productive. In fact, 93 percent of survey respondents said that the latest technology is important to them when choosing an employer.
She offered four main takeaways from Microsoft’s research for SMBs:
1. Millennials like a culture of collaboration, and not just virtual collaborating, but in-person and face-to-face collaboration. But they also like their alone time: more than half said they like to solve work challenges on their own.
2. SMBs, which are often known for delaying technology updates or adoption until absolutely necessary, would be better able to attract great millennial workers by becoming earlier adopters of the latest tech and gadgets that enable and empower millennial workers.
3. If the data that comes in and goes out of your business isn’t secure, you’ll have a hard time getting respect from a millennial. More than 80 percent said they think about security when developing, communicating, and sharing sensitive information at work.
4. Your business will be better able to attract millennials if you have a strong mission statement and value system that can help give them a sense of purpose. Nearly 90 percent said they’d prefer to work for such a company.
Kelly also points to a 2013 Boston Consulting Group Economic Impact Study that showed that SMBs who are aggressive adopters of new technology “far outperform their peers in the marketplace,” create more jobs, and see faster revenue growth. What can your small business do right away to become more attractive to millennial job candidates? “Instead of waiting for things to break, be proactive and go out and get the latest technology,” Kelly advises.