Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) now make up more than a third of all employees and bring with them unique and somewhat demanding working preferences for employers to manage.
They are digital savvy and expectant of convenience through meaningful experiences. They bring these same hopes into the workplace. According to Business Matters, over half (53%) say they would rather lose their sense of smell than their access to mobile devices at work.
It’s not surprising then when they get frustrated with waiting for something that could easily be automated. Take annual leave for instance. Annual leave requests have changed dramatically in the past few years, with the average leave duration now just 2.34 days. This alone presents a challenge for both HR and payroll, with many systems still not up to the task of fully automating requests.
If you pair this frustration with not being afraid to leave if they feel their expectations aren’t being met, it’s more important than ever to make sure the HR technology you use to engage with them is relevant.
“43% of millennials envisage leaving their jobs within 2 years, and 28% are looking to stay beyond 5 years” Deloitte
Using different methods to engage with millennials
HR teams need to prepare for a different type of engagement, embedding AI into a company’s employee value proposition. After all, millennials have a strong desire to see professional growth and change as quickly as they can order something from Amazon.
With such a rich pool of HR AI and automation software solutions where do you even start?
The stereotype is that millennials love new technology. Whilst this is true, there are specific qualities of a software that they will look for, especially in a company where they can see a future beyond two years:
- Employee experience through technology must be consistent across the entire life cycle of their time as an employee.
- Your chosen HR systems need to be agile enough to deal with the demands for a more flexible millennial workforce.
- Millennials want technology that emulates what they have become accustomed to within their personal life.
- They also want to work collaboratively with managers to feel as if they are progressing their career.
A holistic HRIS
Your employee experience must span the entire life-cycle of an employee’s relationship with your organisation from the hiring process, to their onboarding experience, training, career progression, right through to offboarding.
You’ll also want your HRIS to take account of the specific motivators for millennials. Research from Deloitte and PwC, for example, highlights that cultural diversity and an organisation’s ability to demonstrate its ethical approach to business are key influencers for millennial employees.
Making sure your chosen HR software is flexible enough
According to recent research by leading web conferencing platform, Powwownow, 70% of millennials want flexible working options. Of the 1,000 UK employees surveyed:
“Three quarters of UK employees say that the option of working flexibly would make a job more attractive to them while nearly a third would prefer flexible working to a pay rise.”
And the ‘gig’ economy is now offering a viable alternative for those vying for more flexibility at work. Delving deeper into the Deloitte 2018 Millennial Trends report, it’s clear the pull is very real:
“Among those millennials who would willingly leave their employers within the next two years, 62 percent regard the gig economy as a viable alternative to full-time employment.”
If that’s not compelling enough, research shows millennial employees are 43% less likely to experience high levels of burnout if they are given more flexibility over their job.
It’s not just the flexibility to work remotely that’s key to enhancing millennial employee experience through HR tech. There’s a lot to be said for empowering employees by giving them more control over the more rules-based administrative tasks.
At a minimum, they should be able to log their hours, resolve any pay discrepancies quickly, view their annual leave days and book their holiday at the click of a button.
BrightPay is an example of how payroll software can empower millennial employees with an intuitive self-service dashboard that allows them to access payslips and other payroll documents, view calendars and request leave.
But there are other ways you could add value. Fringe benefits are gaining momentum with companies that have integrated their HRIS with payroll.
Take on-demand pay solutions, powered by DailyPay. You could empower your employees (millennials included) to be in control of when they receive their earned wages, meaning they are not tied into a pay schedule. An offering such as this is not about access to earnings, it is about tailoring services to a demographic.
According to research from leading recruiter, Robert Walters, 53% of millennials say that they are more likely to take a job with an employer who uses the same technology as they do.
They spend hours between Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, SnapChat, just to name a few. You could consider emulating the capabilities of these social media platforms within your HRIS. For example, Workday’s Human Capital Management (HCM) application page, has just rolled-out a social-media like homepage to help tempt employee interest and participation.
“With intelligent functionality woven into a new Workday home page, employees can view recommended steps, courses of action, and activities that will provide them with better education, and guidance at every stage of their workplace journey.” Cristina Goldt – VP of Human Capital Management Products at Workday.
Workday is not alone. Learning Management System (LMS), Agylia, recently introduced several social media inspired learning features into its platform, including integrated commenting tools and end-to-end communications. This, according to Agylia, cuts down on tech adoption timelines.
Millennial employees continually look for opportunities to develop their skills within their organisation. The best way to respond is to empower them to keep building their skills through tailored feedback and learning & development.
Let’s consider management feedback. Interestingly, Robert Walters research shows that 30% of millennials report that they only receive formal line manager feedback yearly, despite the fact 91% would rather receive feedback at least every six months. Not only this, they expect that feedback to be fluid and easily accessible.
The good thing is that with advances in HR artificial intelligence, performance reviews no longer need to be something that’s done when a manager has the time.
Take cloud-based BetterWorks’ AI based HR software, as an example. Rules can be set that promote an ongoing, 360-degree view of a workforce since AI-driven assessment can happen in real-time with feedback and praise issued immediately. If performance standards are slipping, a line manager can intervene before the problem becomes too much of an issue.
Online forums and discussion groups are also transforming the way teams communicate. With chat and workplace collaboration platform, Slack, for instance, there’s a channel for every conversation. Team members can join and leave channels as required. And threads keep side conversations from derailing a conversation or project; much like social media!
Although not relevant for every business, we are seeing the emergence of several game-changing learning & development software solutions that appeal to millennials. AI based technology is now making executive coaching and leadership coaching more accessible. Sidekick is an AI based coaching platform that is capable of identifying employee micro-behaviour changes which require some form of coaching intervention. Using a subscription fee that is comparable in price to a one-off executive coaching session, Sidekick is capable of offering on demand individually tailored coaching with highly-experienced online coaches.
Dedicated leadership development platform, BetterUp, is going one step further. In the New Year, it will be rolling-out on-demand coaching that will be available within one hour, 24/7 to deliver on the spot training, whether that’s preparation for a big speech or preparing for a pitch.