Millennials compose 35% of the labor force, making it the largest workforce in U.S. history. And although many businesses still think of millennials as young professionals, the oldest ones are almost 40 years old.

As older generations retire, millennials will become an even more important source of employees.That's why your business needs to appeal to the millennial workforce. Times are changing, and if your company can't attract new workers, you'll struggle to stay competitive.

Regardless whether you are using your own internal talent acquisition team, or contract recruiters, or recruitment agencies, let's look at what millennials want from their employers, and how you can offer it.

1. Provide Career Development Opportunities

Millions of millennials were working their first jobs during the economic downturn. Although the job market has since improved, their career growth has suffered as a result.

In truth, they have many of the same desires as previous generations. Yet they do not react the same way to getting what they want.

For example, although all workers appreciate training, millennials are much more satisfied with job training. Since they're trying to play catchup, career development is a major concern of the millennial workforce. You can offer training opportunities by rotating workers or job responsibilities, and you also contribute toward college tuition costs.

2. Forget the 9-to-5

The traditional 8-hour workday is coming to an end. Millennials are more concerned with work flexibility, whether that means they choose their own schedule or work from home. In fact, many millennials value this flexibility more than financial incentives.

There's no doubt that strict scheduling is easier to coordinate. When everyone is in the office at the same time, you don't have to worry about scheduling conflicts. However, while it's more work for your managers, the benefits of a flexible schedule are well-documented. According to one Stanford study, flexible work schedules make employees happier, healthier, and more productive.

Your business doesn't have to turn into anarchy to offer flexible incentives. Consider allowing some leeway when people can show up for their shifts. Telecommuting is also a great option, even if it's for a day or two every week.

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3. Give the Millennial Workforce a Purpose

Everyone wants their work to feel meaningful. This is especially true for Millennials who have grown up in an age of social activism. They want to work for a company that makes a meaningful contribution to society. And if they don't feel their work has any purpose, they won't stay very long. Job satisfaction is inextricably tied to your business's mission statement.

Now, not every industry provides a product or service for charitable benefits. Your plumbing or tax company is helping people, yes, but is it making a real impact?

Make your company's purpose clear. When millennials know why they are working, and for whom, they'll be more driven workers. Improve your corporate social responsibility initiatives and get your workers involved. Does your industry not have an opportunity for direct philanthropy? Then look to fundraising events or charity walks.

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4. Create Financial Incentives

Since millennials have struggled with financial instability, they're more concerned with compensation. Yet this doesn't mean you must pay your millennial workforce a higher salary. Financial incentives can include great healthcare benefits and 401k programs. Or keep it simple with more vacation days. If you want the best millennial workers, you'll have to offer a financial package that trumps your competitor's.

But remember that it isn't all about the pocketbook. You can stay cutting edge with perks like telecommuting or flexible scheduling.

5. Promote a Healthy Company Culture

Formal work attire is stuffy, and the last time a millennial had to refer to someone as a "Ms." or "Mr." was in secondary school. Time and time again, strict work environments have stifled employee happiness and productivity.

It's time to modernize your company culture. Work should be fun -- as fun as possible, at least -- and the office should feel like a second home. Reprimanding employees with formal rules is a surefire way to disengage millennial workers.

At the same time, don't overdo it. Forced group activities and meme-filled emails run the risk of making people roll their eyes. You can nurture a positive atmosphere, but you can't compel one to take shape.

6. Offer Constant Feedback

The millennial workforce craves validation. When you look past the negative connotations, you'll see this actually benefits your company.

For one, millennials are more concerned with job security than other generations. They want to know that they're doing good work and the company has no reason to cut them loose.

Accountability is also key. If there's an issue with their work, millennial employees want to know as soon as possible so they can make adjustments.

Look for ways to provide feedback outside of traditional performance reviews. For example, each month you could send out an email detailing room for improvement or praise for a job well done.

Want to Recruit Talented Workers?

If you're struggling to tap into the millennial workforce, your recruitment process isn't getting the job done. Unfortunately, not every company has the resources or experience to attract top talent.

Consider using a recruiting solution like ContractRecruiter. Our vetting process will bring you talented candidates that help your company thrive. Contact us and start reducing your time-to-fill today.

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