Hiring and Training the Millennial Employee

By Suzanne McIntosh President, McIntosh Human Capital Management | February 28, 2016

What attracts the Millennial colleague? How do we keep them engaged during the hiring process? How do we on-board them to ensure they assimilate quickly within our organizations. What’s important to them to feel part of our team as quickly as possible? How do we keep them for the long term?

Millennials will make up 50% of our workforce within the next several years. Our hiring managers need to understand how to attract, develop, and retain this new talent. Methods are changing and we must change with them to attract the best of the best. To hire and retain the Millennial who has the core competencies and values that "fit" with the job, most organizations and managers must shift how they interview and engage employees. They also need to consider what strong Millennial candidates look for in an employer and what their organization has to offer. They are interviewing us just as much as we are interviewing them.

This generation looks for jobs through social media channels, among friends, by working their alumni. They network to understand the best companies to work for and word travels faster than ever before. Clearly if you have a work environment that is collaborative, creative and supportive, your current satisfied Millennials will attract their high performing friends to your company. The social media channels they employ will communicate that your company is a good place to work. (Conversely, if they are not challenged or rewarded, this news will also travel fast.)

The hiring process needs to be thorough and timely. They expect us to communicate with them differently and rapidly. It is important to engage with Millennials on the social media platforms they use in their daily lives. By creating and maintaining Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin company profiles, potential employees will easily get to know your company, its products, and services. Blogs and pages must be kept up to date and ideally managed by a colleague that understands the target audience. Millennials want to know that they are engaging with real people like them not corporate identities. Ultimately, a Millennial wants to know why they should take this job. How will it help them with their overall goals? Creating a company Linkedin page and not keeping it current will reflect negatively on your organization.

Millennials want to know they will be challenged, have a sense of purpose, a sense of community and are being sought after. Companies must sell Millennials not on just why they should join, but what their career progression will be, and most importantly how they’ll make an impact on the organization. Companies also need to be seen as socially aware. This communication needs to be as rapid and immediately impactful. If you don’t engage them quickly, they will move onto the next job posting with the next click.

Your interview process needs to reflect the culture you want to promote about your organization. A lengthy, process-oriented interview process will not work for the Millennial candidate. If you are a fast paced, innovative lifestyle hospitality company, you can’t put candidates through an arduous, bureaucratic series of interviews. It will reflect negatively on what they can expect upon hiring. They must have a personal feel for the person that they will ultimately report to and have free access to asking questions. To assign the negotiations to a third party or if they feel disconnected from who will be their immediate leader will promote a sense of old style “top down” style management. They must have a sense of collaboration and speaking with current employees just like them will help them to get a sense of the community they would be joining.

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Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.