How to Effectively Hire Millennials for Your Retail Business

February 18, 2019
An online search for "millennial job statistics" will yield a plethora of peer-reviewed articles, data-backed infographics and other resources to help your business understand how to hire this generation of workers. Why am I telling you this? Because half of the US workforce will comprise millennial workers by 2020, with that number ballooning to 75% by 2030, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you're a business owner comfortable with the prospect of recruiting only half of all possible candidates, there is no need for you to read further. However, if you are excited about benefiting from the ideas of the next generation, then please allow me to provide valuable business strategies to appeal to this obscure yet eager group of workers and make them more likely to work with you!

Before expounding on ways to increase employment rates among millennials in your company, let's start by defining "millennial". While age ranges vary, the Pew Research Center includes anyone born between 1982 and 1996. Many millennials grew up in a post-recession economy, which impacted the entire generation just as the Great Depression did to its respective workforce at the time.

One of the recession's consequences was a reduction in discretionary spending. The retail industry suffered and the aftermath is still evident today. Using retail's employment exodus as a case study, we can identify problems and find solutions to rectify it. If millennials can be attracted to work in an industry with low profit margins and a notoriously high turnover rate, they can be attracted anywhere. So, without further ado, I give you the four best ways to attract millennials to retail jobs.
Communicative and socially-conscious companies are retaining the most millennial talent.
Be transparent about yourself and your business' direction

Millennials are known to some as being professionally distracted, switching companies and jobs at a rate far greater than that of their parents. While arguably true, perhaps they're not entirely to blame for that. Great Place to Work, an analytics and consulting firm, recently published a report self-explanatorily titled, 2018 Best Workplaces for Millennials.

The companies detailed in this report conduct their businesses ethically, meanwhile communicating their direction to their employees. 88% of millennials surveyed would remain employed long-term at one of those companies if given the opportunity. This statistic proves that communicative and socially-conscious companies are retaining the most millennial talent. If you tell millennials about your business, why you're passionate about it, and how you want to change the world with your ideas, nearly nine out of ten of all 73 million millennials in the current workforce will want to work with you.
Learn more than your employees' names

Communication goes both ways, so it is crucial to learn about millennials' passions, goals and expectations within their lives as well. Most people don't have a passion for retail, so find out why they're there working for you. Growing up in the technological revolution of the 21st century, millennials have had to be the ones to find a voice in an increasingly distracted culture.

Giving them the time of the day to show that you genuinely care about their wellbeing will be a catalyst for positive change in your business. The aforementioned report concludes that millennials exhibit an eightfold increase in agility and sevenfold increase in innovation when their managers take an active interest in their employees' lives. Changing the way retail chains operate might solely hinge on the owners' relationships with employees.
Change your business model

The costs associated with a physical location in retail doesn't allow for competitive compensation packages for many hourly employees. This fact coupled with the current inability of millennials to work from home has caused stagnation in this industry. However, ManPower Research Group and its report, Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision will tell you that 79% of millennials prioritize a healthy work-life balance over any other job aspect. Capitalize on that by giving them work to take home occasionally.

In the age of E-commerce, it may be more fiscally responsible to work from home at times. If that doesn't work, bring the home to them. Provide your millennials with a comfortable workspace. Referral bonuses for new hires can represent a quid pro quo, if you will. Your employees will enjoy the idea of getting a bonus to work with their friend, and you earn reputable (hopefully) staff. Hopefully this inspires and gives them freedom to change the brick and mortar business model.
Incorporate technology

As previously mentioned, the retail industry needs new ideas. Technology can be great for that. It may sound unproductive, but allowing your millennial employees access to their phones can actually help your business. Technology has made for more informed consumers, so I shouldn't have to tell you that your employees should be equally knowledgeable on the products or services their selling. Additionally, if phone and technology use at work adds to the work-life balance, endorse the policy.
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