HOW TO ATTRACT AND RETAIN MILLENNIAL TALENT (HINT: IT’S NOT JUST PING PONG OR HAPPY HOURS)
By Erica Goldberg, VP, Talent Acquisition, Publicis Health
Traditionally, the interview process is a chance for companies to get to know prospective employees. However, in today’s talent-driven market, the interview process increasingly has become an important opportunity for a company to communicate its employee value proposition to potential hires.
As Talent Acquisition Lead for Publicis Health, much of my role is dedicated to listening to what attracts Millennials, then understanding how to best retain and engage them. Over the past several years, I have had the opportunity to interview hundreds of young professionals seeking careers in advertising and marketing. During that time, I have learned two critically important factors that appeal to Millennials:
1) A diverse workforce is a key to retaining Millennial talent.
2) Millennials expect their organizations to be inclusive.
Rather than focusing solely on what job requirements a candidate needs to bring to the table (i.e., emotional intelligence, leadership capabilities, and subject matter expertise), forward-thinking organizations need to consider what it takes to become the best place to work for all employees.
More than ever before, I am asked by job applicants about Publicis Health’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. The question comes early, often even before the candidate has a chance to meet with hiring managers or direct teams. It’s possible the candidate may have scrolled through pictures from one of our annual Drag King and Queen Competitions in New York and Chicago, hosted by our LGBTQ Business Resource Groupe (BRG), Égalité, on Instagram. Or, perhaps they’re aware only 11% of creative directors in advertising are female and want to know what we are doing to change it. Regardless, I am thankful every time the question is asked. Not only is it an opportunity to share our values and discuss the many BRGs that are available to all Publicis Groupe employees, but it is also an opportunity to listen to what is important to them.
Through these conversations with candidates, I’ve discovered the days of challenging competing offers based on company-sponsored happy hours and office baristas are long gone. The company’s sell needs to be authentic and thoughtful, with training around unconscious bias and managing inclusion, transparent salary bands, career workshops for people of color and other historically marginalized minorities, as well as providing safe spaces and remote working options. Our sponsorship of the Out & Equal Workplace Summit is one of many ways we promote diversity and inclusion, and provide unique professional development opportunities for staff across our organization.
At Publicis Health, we use data to combat bias in hiring, promoting, rating and retention. Setting diversity goals and definitions are equally crucial for our prospective candidates and employees. We are working to create inclusive cultures and exploring safe spaces to address areas of concern. Recruitment marketing and employer branding are everyone’s responsibility (not only Talent Acquisition’s); it may well be the best strategy to achieve diversity recruitment success. We are looking for new partnerships to drive diversity in talent and inviting junior employees to collaborate with C-suite leads on identifying sponsorship opportunities with diverse networks and groups. Diversity champions can sustain employee advocacy.
Further, it’s crucial to be cognizant that social networks tend to be homogeneous and referrals will mirror your current employees; a relevant point when more than one-third of industry new hires are referrals. We are currently researching ways to incentivize our recruiters and asking hiring managers not to give referral candidates better treatment.
As human resource professionals, we ask candidates to bring their best to the interview, but we have a responsibility to bring ours, too. It is essential to recognize where change can be most impactful. Honesty in the approach and striving for better are what millennials want to see, make sure to tell them in the interview and include them in the process once they are hired. So, continue to offer the happy hours and baristas, but recognize Millennials are looking for more than just a place to work — they’re looking for a place to belong — and it’s our job to make that happen.