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Big Think+

This 3-step method will help you hire—and retain—millennial talent

If a new hire is expected to put in 40 hours, 50 hours, or even more at their job, their new position will be their life for as long as they have it. Yes, of course, they want the income, and maybe they’re building skills for their next career step. Nonetheless, if the culture in which they’re being asked to work doesn’t feel at least as fulfilling as the job itself, they’re likely to pass. That is, if they have a choice; if not, the company’s about to gain an unhappy, disengaged employee struggling to thrive. In her Big Think+ video “Create a Hiring Cycle for Millennial Talent,” CEO and co-founder of The Muse Kathryn Minshew talks about strengthening the value proposition for new hires by architecting an attractive company culture, right down to the candidate’s first job interview.

The way to an inviting culture

By culture, Minshew says she’s referring to “norms of the behaviors, the beliefs, the actions and the words that really make up what it’s like to work at a particular company.” Really good companies consciously develop their cultures, she asserts — they don’t just happen.

So what if your company’s culture did just happen? Minshew suggests some things you can do to. She sees the process as constituting a “tremendous opportunity” for management: “I think that it’s so powerful for a business to figure out what is your culture and how do you articulate that.”

Minshew says your employees can help guide you. You can ask them questions such as:

  • Why did they choose to work for your company?
  • Why do they stay?
  • What is it that they would tell their friends and contacts about working at your company?

Their answers provide you a means of understanding what you’re getting right, or not, and help you make your company all you want it to be for the people on whom its success depends. This isn’t just a touchy-feely goal either, because, as Minshew puts it, “ultimately at the end of the day, really talented people, they are out there looking at different companies, and they’re not just weighing them based on salary and perks. They’re weighing them based on culture and based on the experience of working there.”

Presenting your culture right from the start

While Minshew recognizes that some companies are reluctant to let go of the traditional job interview for new applicants, rethinking the way you get to know them and the manner in which they can get to know you can help everyone connect more effectively.

Some companies immediately engage candidates in problem-solving sessions. If it’s possible, paying them for their hour or two is a good idea, because it communicates your respect for the value of their time. “So they’ll say; we want you to come in. We’re going to pay you for an hour, and we’re going to actually have you problem-solve with a couple of people on the team.” This is obviously a great way to expose new people to your culture, see how they work, and test their cultural fit.

Millennial onboarding

Once a new employee is hired, onboarding should instill confidence that they made the right choice in signing on. In addition to all the forms that have to be filled out, and training, why not use it as a forum welcoming them into a culture in which they have real value and that’s designed to invest in their growth? As Minshew puts it, “Onboarding is a great chance to do that because you can really lay out ‘here’s what you’re going to learn. Here’s what you’re going to get out of this job.’”

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