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Workforce Retention and Attraction: How Do We Keep the Millennials?

Monday, February 26, 2018

Many businesses in Polk County are asking what they can do to attract and retain Millennial workers. This is an important question to ask because they are making up a large portion of today's workforce. The oldest millennial is 35 and long past their teenage years. They are beginning to enter management careers, taking their place in leadership roles, and play a significant role in small and large companies alike. The challenge is that many business owners and executives do not understand them. This generation has been a bit of an enigma, making it difficult to recruit and retain them. To help, we put together a profile on Millennials with key information businesses need to know to make their recruitment and retention efforts more successful.

Millennial careers are closely linked with technology

Millennials do not remember a time where computers and smartphones were not part of their everyday life. They have grown up with these devices and technology has become an integral part of their existence. Older companies, who are conducting business the way they always have, are going to face challenges recruiting Millennials. Companies must be willing to adopt new technology to attract and retain young talent. Sometimes, the best idea is to give them the reins and let Millennials source and implement the solutions businesses need to advance in the modern age. Change may not be easy but is it necessary for continued business growth, especially when today's workforce demands it.

Millennials are innovators

Because Millennials have grown up surrounded by rapid change, they are used to technology and solutions evolving. They are innovators who do not believe that things must function in a specific way. Instead, they are more likely to look for new solutions and to constantly search for things that make their life and everyone's life better. Companies who offer Millennials the ability to innovate and lead change may find themselves more successful in recruiting them.

They are less apt to embrace formalities

Many Millennials fail to see the point in doing things like wearing professional attire or engaging in certain cultural norms like needing to network over a round of golf. This does not make them lazy or entitled. It simply means that they view the world and the workplace differently. Offering Millennials flexibility with things like workplace attire can go a long way.

Millennials are concerned with quality of life

The good news for businesses in Polk County is that Millennials are passionate about achieving a high quality of life. For many Millennials this is the driving force in decisions about their career and where they will locate. By showing Millennials that they can have a better work-life balance and enjoy more time away from the office by working in Polk County, it will be easier for businesses here to recruit them. Things like not having to spend time in traffic can be a huge benefit. Companies may also want to consider offering the opportunity to work remotely part of the week to incentivize Millennials looking for flexibility. This can be especially beneficial for young parents.

Millennials embrace social causes

Many Millennials are looking for authenticity from the business that they work for. One way to demonstrate this is through involvement in the community. Millennials want to see that a business is concerned about more than the bottom line. That is a vision that many Millennials can get behind.

Millennials are an important part of today's workforce. Companies in Polk County should consider what makes them different from Gen X or the Baby Boomers and be willing to adjust to meet their needs and preferences. This is critical for continued business and overall economic growth in our area. For help with workforce recruitment, contact the Polk County EDC at


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