Gen Y: Hiring and Retaining the Best

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Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for She writes about small business, focusing on human resources.

Your business’s hiring decisions can have long-term consequences for the performance of your organization. A report by the AARP found that turnover-related costs for an experienced worker – no matter what generation – can cost your company more than 50% or more of that individual’s annual salary.

In order to keep your business running smoothly and efficiently, you need to ensure that your hiring practices are finding and retaining the very best employees. When it comes to recruiting members of Generation Y, you need to appropriately use all the tools available to you, in addition to your HR software.

Recruiting Gen Y
According to a study by Knoll, Inc., Gen Y will make up roughly 50% of the US workforce by 2020. The way that they search and apply for job opportunities differs significantly from previous generations. For example, instead of scanning newspaper classifieds for employment opportunities, Gen Y often searches online job boards and social networking sites. To help address the generational shift in job searching, employers should consider:

  • Instituting an online hiring process that can help your business effectively target Gen Y members, as well as streamline the application process, assess applicants fairly, and reduce hiring time.
  • A study of automated hiring systems used in the US federal government found that their effective use resulted in increased access to job opportunities, a wider pool of applicants to select from, and increased quality of new employees, according to Identifying Talent through Technology: Automated Hiring Systems in Federal Agencies from the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board.

Hiring Gen Y
In order to hire the very best applicants, you should assess your candidates’ qualifications and references. Recruiting software can help you collect and sort applicants based on their merits. Additionally, background checks will help improve your quality of hire, but just because you may have sourced your candidate online or through social media, doesn’t mean you should use that information as part of the background check process.

  • The use of social media is ubiquitous amongst members of Generation Y, and can be an invaluable tool for recruiters for sourcing, but employers should be cautious if considering using social media as part of the background check process. Asking applicants for their social media passwords can violate many sites’ Terms of Service – and may even violate the law.
  • In addition, the exposure to certain information on a candidate’s social media profile that reveals the candidate’s membership in a protected class by the EEOC could potentially expose you to a claim of discrimination.

Retaining Gen Y
Generation Y – born between 1979 and 1997 – has grown up with a variety of emerging technologies unavailable to previous generations, from smart phones to wireless internet and beyond. Effectively retaining Gen Y workers means giving their skills value within your business.

  • Gen Y’s preference for internet and digital technologies doesn’t stop at online job boards. Your employees will likely be more comfortable and willing to stay with your company if you incorporate digital communication and technologies throughout your organization.
  • The speed and ease of digital communication has accustomed Gen Y to fast, effective feedback. Be transparent with job requirements, and expect to give your employees frequent updates as to how they’re doing and what they can do better.

Hiring a new generation of workers comes with its own unique set of requirements. Utilize the right technology and strategy to effectively attract and retain the very best of Gen Y.

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HireRight is a leading provider of on-demand employment background checks, drug and health screening, and electronic Form I-9 and E-Verify solutions that help employers automate, manage and control background screening and related programs.

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