The Multi-Generational Workforce Series: Recommendations for Recruiting a Multi-Generational Workforce

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1 The Multi-Generational Workforce Series: Recommendations for Recruiting a Multi-Generational Workforce Issue 2 / September 2011

2 Recommendations for Recruiting a Multi-Generational Workforce This is the second in a series of articles that focus on optimizing the potential of a multigenerational workforce through the four phases of the employee life cycle. The series is framed around Camden Delta s proprietary Competing on Values Talent Management Life Cycle Model (Figure 1), with each article addressing one of the model s four principal components. The Talent Life Cycle The Camden Delta Competing on Values Talent Management Life Cycle TM Model (Figure 1) provides a comprehensive framework from which to view the employee life cycle. In this context, Talent Management refers to the practice of addressing the entire employee life cycle strategically and holistically: from attracting and hiring to engaging and developing, through succession planning to retirement. To understand the organizational impact of a multi-generational workforce, it is now critical to determine what impact each generation has on each phase of the talent life cycle, and how organizations may need to adjust to the unique needs of each generational segment. The purpose of this article is to explore the Source component of the model, and how to most effectively design a recruiting strategy relative to a multi-generational workforce. Specific recommendations are provided that explore strategic workforce planning, candidate sourcing, assessment and selection, and the employment brand. I t is now critical to determine what impact each generation has on each phase of the talent life cycle. Figure 1. The Camden Delta Competing on Values Talent Management Life Cycle Model TM 2011, Camden Delta Consulting, LLC 1 The Multi-Generational Workforce Issue 2 / September 2011

3 Key Considerations for Using Social Media to Attract Top Multi-Generational Talent Social media use is now relevant to all working generations. The desire to keep in touch with family and friends through this technology has become the norm in daily life. Its ease of use and immediate nature is a key driver in an individual s need for work/life balance. Organizations that use this technology for sourcing candidates are supporting this need and giving the individual another option to blend the two more effectively and on their own terms. S ocial media use has increased in every generational demographic, both in the number of users and the amount of time spent utilizing social network platforms. 2

4 Use Workforce Planning to Inform a Proactive Recruitment Strategy Typically, recruiters receive a job requisition when a position becomes available, lengthening the time it takes to recruit an employee if recruiter did not have ample time to develop a pool of talent beforehand. Pressure to fill a job is placed on the talent acquisition team, which has implications on which candidate in the pool will be most interested in the role. Workforce planning (Chart 2) provides recruiters the opportunity to know which positions are at risk as well as enough time to build a candidate pool before those positions become available. Recruiters can leverage current methodologies for attracting and hiring qualified candidates such as building relationships through social media where potential candidates can get to know the company and its people. This approach is most successful with job seekers who prefer having more time to get to know the organization, what it stands for, and the role that is being filled. Chart 2. Process for Recruiting a Multi-Generational Workforce Measure and Review Results 6 Manage the Candidate Experience 5 Use the Appropriate Sourcing Channels 4 Tailor Your Messages to Match Your Candidates According to Camden Delta s recent Strategic Workforce Planning Survey, more than 70% of all respondents suggest they are just at the beginning stages of workforce planning. 3 Appeal to Generational Values 2 Consider Your Options For Creating a Diverse Candidate Pool 1 Use Workforce Planning to Inform a Proactive Recruiting Strategy Recruiting a Multi-Generational Workforce Consider Your Options For Creating a Diverse Candidate Pool The U.S. workforce is aging and according to a 2010 report by Kelly Services, 80% of U.S. companies do not have a strategy to recruit older workers. This can be a missed opportunity for organizations to recruit experienced talent. When attempting to attract members of the Baby Boomer and Silent generations, it is important for recruiting marketing collateral to appeal to a wide array of generations. Baby Boomers going back to school to reskill and explore second careers, could create an ideal candidate pool for a job that requires less experience and provides real world exposure. 3

5 It is also important to educate hiring managers not to discriminate based on age and to ensure the interview process focuses on the aspects of performing the job successfully rather than on areas simply related to age. Further, organizations need to evaluate their benefit programs to ensure they support all generational segments and consider less than full-time options and flexible schedules, when possible. For example, Home Depot recognized a customer need for information and advice regarding home repairs and other construction projects. Baby Boomers and members of the Silent generation presented as better candidates due to their experience and expertise performing their own home repairs. Preferring a flexible schedule and part time work, members of these generations were hired to provide customers with value-added experience and know-how. Appeal to Generational Values The first challenge in recruiting is to identify the critical capabilities the organization requires to achieve its strategic business objectives. Next is to understand what you as the employer are selling to potential employees. Does your organization value and promote work/life balance, offer career paths, long-term employment and stability, status, identification, loyalty, authority, pay, or technology? It is essential to have a clear understanding of each generation s expectations in order to appeal to their values. If your career website profiles long-service families and individuals, it will most likely appeal to members of a generation that places a high value on occupational stability and employee loyalty. This fits the profile of Baby Boomers, who are more likely to possess a live-to-work philosophy. Generations X and Y tend to view work as a means to support other life activities and are interested in a job that offers money, stock options, and the chance to pursue work tasks that interest them. Generation Y is most attracted to work/life balance and seek flexible schedules, more time off, and opportunities to take time (without pay) to travel or do community service, rather than money or status. Millennials are more vocal about their job expectations, expecting employers to go beyond traditional compensation and benefits to create an environment that is creative, challenging, team-oriented, fun, and financially rewarding. They are also more likely to pursue the ideal job, and are more attracted to independent small businesses, non-profit and contingency work. By understanding the values of potential employees, you re able to offer incentives that will be most effective in attracting them. Along with having a clear understanding of the networking platforms, expectations regarding candidates should be viewed through the lens of each generation. An organization that can quickly move between and understand each generation s preferences will more efficiently target its efforts and recruit successfully from a broad and diverse pool of talent. B y understanding the values of potential employees, you re able to offer incentives that will be most effective in attracting them. 4

6 Tailor Your Message to Match Your Candidates In order to appeal to each generational segment, a consistent employment message needs to be communicated in a variety of ways. For example, Starbucks provides information in the Careers section of its website that appeals to multiple segments. Through their Special Blend program, total pay packages are tailor made for candidates, providing them with various benefit choices in an attempt to meet individual needs. The customized messaging consistently reflects the Starbucks brand, yet appeals to multiple target audiences. We have seen many companies approach social media as an extension of their Internet job boards, and simply post press release content that can be found on the company website along with job openings. Companies that take this approach often see their social media traffic dry up. says Lotz. He adds, Job seekers want real dialogue with real people about real issues that matter to them. Progressive organizations are having recruiters and other employees monitor their traffic on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, and respond quickly to members questions. They keep the content real and fresh. This takes an investment and is a paradigm shift for talent acquisition organizations. T he advent of social media and the unique needs and interests of the multi-generational workforce have rendered the typical Talent Acquisition model obsolete. Use Appropriate Sourcing Channels It is possible for an organization to unintentionally overlook an entire segment of the workforce simply as a result of their choice of recruitment channel. For example, the most popular job boards appeal to Baby Boomers and Generation X. The Generation Y workforce, on the other hand, is increasingly using mobile technology for their job search. Millennials get more of their information through channels such as YouTube (videos) and friends recommendations. It is critical that the channels and processes used for recruiting talent are generationally accessible. The recruitment process was once relatively straight forward; at least as it related to sourcing, contacting, and engaging potential candidates. With the introduction of social media, the game dynamics have changed forever. Over the past eight years social media has grown exponentially, and as social networks and relationships continue to grow, functions as a critical engine for professional networking. Social media use has increased in every generational demographic, both in the number of users and the amount of time spent utilizing social network platforms (Chart 3 and Table 3). Recognizing this rapid growth in utilization, it is increasingly important that organizations consider this recent phenomenon to create a successful recruitment strategy implementation. 5

7 3. The food services and facilities management company, Sodexo, established a presence on social networking sites, such as YouTube and LinkedIn, to attract younger workers. Additionally, they launched a recruitment initiative aimed at veterans that translates military experience and skills into civilian jobs. As a result, in 2007 they experienced a 24% increase in the number of job applicants, including a 38% rise in minority candidates and a 32% increase in gender diversity. 6

8 On their company website, Starbucks included interactive videos and employee testimonials of what it s like to work at the organization, appealing to applicants who place a premium on technology. Starbucks leverages the power of social media by allowing potential applicants to follow jobs online via Twitter and Facebook. Zappos, an online shoe and apparel store, leverages technology by inviting candidates to submit videos showcasing their strengths to sell themselves. Zappos takes its employment brand a step fur-ther into the realm of entertainment by producing music videos showcasing its employees, prod-ucts, and culture and emphasizing its Zappos Family atmosphere. Recently, Siemens launched Plantville, allowing them to simultaneously appeal to customers and candidates through an interactive game that challenges players to operate as a plant manager to increase productivity, efficiency, and the health of an industrial plant. Manage the Candidate Experience In today s job market, the entire hiring process needs to be customized to the audience. Effectively managing the candidate relationship will help to ensure the organization appeals to and accurately evaluates candidates. Hiring decisions cannot be based solely on resumes, past experience, and conventional interviews. Multiple assessment processes and modes of delivery should be leveraged for the best results. Millennials tend to be over confident during the interview process. So, in addition to screening for qualifications normally found on resumes, structured behavioral interviews and business simulation assessments are valuable methods when evaluating candidates from this generation. Members of Generations X and Y are more accustomed to immediate gratification and feedback. So, if a young, promising prospect has been identified, organizations must act quickly, before the candidate s interest in the position begins to wane. Drawn out recruitment processes with long stretches of perceived inactivity (or more than 30 days overall) on the part of the employer can convey inefficiency to members of Generations X, Y, and Z, and, by extension, to the organization. In short, HR has an added task to consolidate processes and get it done quickly. Incorporate a Process for Measurement Designing and implementing a recruitment strategy that is aligned with organizational goals and strategy shouldn t be a daunting task Incorporating a feedback loop can offer insight into strategy development and help facilitate discussion regarding process improvements. HR leaders can choose from a number of evaluative measures including voice of the customer (VOC) candidate interviews, recruitment metrics, new hire engagement, and retention metrics, in order to gain insight. Considering the findings of various feedback methods will provide a more complete and clear picture of recruitment effectiveness and help organizations develop an optimal approach. 7

9 As the U.S. workforce expands to include professionals from a wider generational spectrum, organizations realize the significance of understanding what each generation can bring to the workplace. The potential benefits of a multigenerational workforce are many, but an organization must approach recruiting in such a way to mitigate associated challenges. Recruiting a multi-generational workforce can be a powerful and advantageous support to a diversity initiative and one which requires the careful consideration of demographic values. Successfully identifying these values is only a small piece of the recruiting equation. Organizations must incorporate them into the employee value proposition and employer brand strategy. A thoughtful and holistic sourcing strategy can help the organization gain a competitive advantage from attracting the best set of candidates to ensure sustainable success. To learn more or to schedule a Camden Delta Sharing Session, please visit us at or feel free to call References Gold, Lisa. Understanding Generation X and Y and Baby Boomers in the Workplace. Ezinearticles 30 Jul Web. 27 Mar Human Capital Institute. Next Generation High Performers: Gen X and Gen Y. 15 Aug Web. 25 Mar Lewis, Amy. Kaiser Permanente: Clarify, Simplify and Align for Recruiting Excellence. Human Capital Institute, 10 Jun Web. 27 Mar Morga, Jason. Recruiting and Retaining the Multi-Generational Workforce. Kelly Services. Houston. Jun Lecture. Contributing Consultants Sucheta Rawal Zack Hanna Glen Kallas Mark Lotz Randy Wilson The Multigenerational Workforce: Opportunity for Competitive Success. Research Quarterly. First Quarter 2009: Print. The Next Generation Workforce. Beyond.com. Beyond.com, Inc., n.d. Web. 22 Mar < United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Current Employment Statistics Highlights March Apr Web. 2 Apr Van Klink, Susan & Reid, Brenda. Holistic Staffing: From Needs Analysis to Welcome Aboard. Slides SuccessFactors

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