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4 Tips for hiring millennials

Cultivating generational intelligence in your business will help you learn more about your consumers, clients and employees. Here's how to do it.

Dr. Eliza Filby is a historian who studies generations - from baby boomers to Gen Alpha. When not writing and researching, she helps businesses from all sectors understand the changing needs of their consumers and employees. Here she gives her top tips for what business leaders need to know when recruiting talents from Generation Z and Millennials: 

Q: How can businesses create multi-generational work forces?

A: By creating an understanding and appreciation of the skills and attitudes that belong to each generation. For this to be sustainable and lead to lasting change it must center on three things:

  1. Learning and development
  2. Internal communication
  3. Workplace flexibility

You must offer them what they value not what you value, such as democratic internal communications (essentially for the social media generation), entrepreneurship, (allow them to work on their own projects, test ideas, challenge orthodoxies within the company) and bespoke flexible working arrangements that are customized. 

Q: What are the biggest challenges with a multi-generational workforce?

A: The biggest challenge is what I would call generational chauvinism which can be exhibited by the young and the old. It is essentially a feeling that one or the other knows best or does things correctly and the other is an interloper. It is often the greatest barrier to change within a business. Similar to selling your older employees short and thinking that they cannot adapt.

Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to those recruiting millennial and Gen Z talents?

  1. Encourage video CVs/resumes (young talents are doing a lot that cannot easily be replicated on paper). 

  2. Do not just speak about diversity and inclusion - practice it, live it. Young recruits will not be convinced with a blurb in a website. They will want to see it with their own eyes when they walk into an organization.

  3. Create a recruitment YouTube channel. This is where those under 25 are going to learn. If you do not have a video presence, you do not exist in their eyes. Tell them about the sector, educate them on what they need to know. Avoid selling them your company as a place to work. They are well versed in advertising and can detect it from miles away. 

Q: What do businesses need to do to survive this disruptive age?

A: Remember that for all the talk of disruptive tech, the real disruption is coming from people not machines. Get to know how people, society is changing and being influenced by politics, culture, and yes technology. Cultivate generational intelligence in your business and learn about your consumers, clients and employees.

The failure to understand people is the biggest challenge facing business right now. An overemphasis on sexy tech and futurism will be businesses’ great undoing. From the designing people-centered AI to understanding populism. 


Dr. Eliza Filby is currently writing a global history of generations to be published next year. She will be in Oslo on April 4th, 2019 at Oslo Business Forum's Digital Leadership conference, where the audience will learn a mixture of insights and strategies on how demographics are changing, life cycles are evolving and people are maturing.