3 Keys to Recruiting and Retaining Millennials in Accounting
Whether its because they’re truly fascinating or simply due to the era of widespread and constant communication we currently live in, millennials are without doubt the most analyzed generation in human history. Depending on whom you listen to, millennials are either spoiled, entitled brats or motivated, ambitious big thinkers. They’re either killing the economy or rebuilding it.
It seems like there are a lot of strong opinions about millennials, but one thing is certain—they’re different, and if you want to recruit them at your place of business, you’ll need to approach them differently than any generation in the past. And keeping them around after they’ve been hired may be even trickier. Here are 3 secrets to recruiting and retaining millennials in the accounting industry.
1. Embrace technology
One thing nearly all millennials have in common? They’re tech-savvy and tech-reliant. To recruit and retain them, you’ll need to update your firm to match their technological prowess.
Millennials communicate through social media more than any other medium. So it’s vital that you not only have a presence on all of the major platforms (Facebook and Twitter, and maybe even Instagram and Snapchat) but also have an active and personal presence on them.
Update your accounts with new posts and content regularly, communicate and respond to those who engage, and put a real person’s name behind the posts—not just a generic corporate account. This may require hiring a dedicated social media manager if you don’t already have one in place. Not incidentally, millennials themselves are usually best suited for this role.
Your website also needs to be modern and up-to-date. If a millennial candidate sees an out-of-date or generic website, they will assume you are behind the times and move on to a more tech-savvy firm.
Finally, in order to retain millennials, be sure you are giving them all the technological tools they need to remain happy and successful. Millennials want the newest versions of every application. They also want to communicate through non-traditional ways, such as Skype, texting, and through Google Docs. Allow days where they can work remotely if their physical presence in the office isn’t essential.
“Millennials seem more willing to rely on newer technology to get work done when possible,” says James Perry, CPA and Forecast Analyst, Gulf Power. “The older generation demands face-to-face meetings where millennials would prefer webcam meetings and performing work remotely when possible.”
2. Have a flexible work style
Every business has a certain set of goals that must be reached. Sales targets must be fulfilled and deadlines must be met. But there are usually dozens of different ways to get from A to Z, and firms that are insistent on one particular path to success may struggle to recruit and hold onto millennials.
Allow millennials the flexibility to achieve success in their own way. Again, this may mean letting them use technology your firm hasn’t used in the past or giving them the opportunity to work remotely. Millennials may also question older processes and suggest new ways of doing things. Try to encourage this, allowing them to innovate when aspects of the work don’t make sense to them.
“I think the biggest difference is the way they approach workloads,” says Steven Henry, Controller, Sandy Sansing Automotive. “The same type of analytics are required, however, the millennials rely on newer techniques to push the data. Prior generations had to manually input and recheck themselves.”
Flexibility also means rewarding millennials in non-traditional ways. The younger generation is interested in more than just a good salary—they want health benefits, plenty of time for vacation or maternal/paternal leave, bonuses or profit sharing, social events like team outings or happy hours, and a sense of meaning behind their work. To that last point, if your firm doesn’t already, consider partnering with a charity to raise or donate funds a few times a year. Finding innovative ways to reward millennials is crucial to keeping them satisfied and engaged.
3. Keep them involved
The traditional technique for new accounting employees is to push them to the side, making them “earn their spot” with menial tasks and grunt work. This old way of doing things simply won’t fly with millennials. While you certainly shouldn’t hand over critical work to employees who have little or no experience, try to find ways to keep them involved and let them know their work matters. If you don’t, they’ll leave to find a firm that does.
A clear path to career growth is also vital to millennials. The old “annual review” style of evaluation, promotions, and raises feels slow and antiquated to them, so consider more casual check-ins or even a quarterly review system. Let them know exactly what they need to do to reach the next level, and then give them the tools to do it.
“Invite them to the leadership table to add diversity,” says Liz Branch, Director of Marketing, Accountingfly. “You might like what you hear or find ways to improve. Either way, listen and absorb what your millennials have to say.”
A better way to connect with millennials
Accountingfly offers a better way to connect with millennials than tools of the past. Learn more.