For all the buzz among bank and credit union executives regarding the acquisition of deposits, assets, or even another institution, they’re missing one of the most important acquisitions a business can make. And it could be a terminal mistake.
I’m talking about talent acquisition. Particularly Millennial talent. This isn’t just about balancing the number of employees approaching retirement — it’s about injecting fresh energy and ideas into your frontline. And who better to serve the Millennial account holders you seek than their peer group?
Although some employers have mixed reactions to Gen Y from encounters with a so-called “entitled” generation, the secret to attracting talented Millennials is straightforward.
An article from IveyBusinessJournal.com suggests, “If corporations wish to motivate and engage their workforce, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work.” Just as community financial institutions have faced an ideological pivot from high-net-worth Boomers to Millennial account holders, they face another shift in hiring and workplace culture.
Millennials expect very different things than their parents do from an employer. I’m not talking about ping pong tables and fully stocked kitchens. Millennials are looking for fulfillment — they know that lots of businesses will pay for their time, but not every business is willing to make them part of a bigger mission. Engage their values and you may find they become your most dedicated, creative, and productive employees.
Here are the four main areas that your institution needs to tackle if you’re going to attract, engage, and retain Millennial employees.
Be Willing to Change
Millennials place a high value on authenticity — so lip service and superficial changes will lead to disillusionment. You don’t need to change everything all at once, but if you find yourself responding to new ideas with, “but this is the way we’ve always done it and the board doesn’t like change,” you probably have some soul searching to do.
Create Feedback Loops
Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are not waiting for participation trophies. They are ambitious and crave regular, constructive evaluations of their performance. Set up mentoring relationships between entry-level employees and managers. Look for ways to groom young talent — and when they’re ready, call them up!
In turn, they expect to be able to voice opinions and suggestions about policies or workplace dynamics that affect their quality of life. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that a “suggestion box” is going to cut it. Millennials expect a conversation — respond to their questions and suggestions with either a “yes + when it’s going to happen,” or a “no + why” answer.
Reframe the Opportunity
Millennials are hungry for growth. A “stable 9-5, with paid holidays and 401(k)” isn’t going to bring them through your door. Even if your institution doesn’t have a lot of advancement opportunity into management, you can still help employees expand their skill sets and take on new projects. When you advertise for new hires, make sure that you get specific about the ways your institution supports professional development (paying for online classes is a great place to start).
Empower them to Take Action
According to Kasasa Chief Client Officer Greg Wempe, “Empowerment is important. Employees that don’t feel empowered aren’t going to go the extra mile to give customers or members a great experience.” This step is crucial to helping employees feel satisfaction about their work. Give them the power to go solve problems on their own and everyone wins — account holders get white-glove service, employees feel like heroes, and your institution’s reputation gets a boost.
There is a lot more that you can do to invite new talent into your workplace. This list is just the beginning. Stay tuned to our blog for more insights on making your institution a great place to work.