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Millennials:Now in 4 Flavors

Kristen Harcourt Sep 14, 2015 7:30:00 AM

Everything you’ve heard about millennials is true! For 42 percent of them, anyway. The rest, well, they’re something else entirely. Are you adapting your recruiting and employee engagement approach to the different types of millennials?

What? You didn’t know there were different types? You should really read this.

According to a study by Carat, called “The Millennial Disconnect,” there are four different types of millennials. Did you know? I had no idea. The study of 14,000 millennials found that 42 percent of millennials fit into the typical stereotype we’re all familiar with; the “hyper-connected, optimistic, digital extroverts”. The majority, though, fall into three other, very different segments.

The report was broken out in an article in Advertising Age magazine and here’s a quick snapshot of the results:

Carat’s “The Millennial Disconnect” Study Findings

 "Trend-Netters" - 42%

  • Hyper-connected, optimistic, digital extroverts
  •  Pop-culture savvy
  • Impulse driven
  • Use devices to be brand ambassadors
  • Public

"Alter-Natives" - 23%

  • Skews younger
  • Non-conformist digital natives
  • Privacy-aware and share selectively with a select group of people

"Lifeprenuers" - 19%

  • Ambitious and lifestyle-aware
  • Likes work-life-health balance
  • They like to save money on brands they find reliable

"BetaBlazers" - 16% of millennials

  • Trendsetters
  • Adventurous
  • Worldly
  • Seek out exclusivity – brands that tell stories

What This Means for HR

The study was created with marketing/advertising in mind, but it still holds meaning for HR professionals. First, we should avoid the trap of assuming all millennials fit the stereotype. By considering these different types of millennials we can hone our processes to more effectively recruit and retain them.

Recruiting

In recruiting, like marketing, we need to know our audience. In social recruiting, we need to curate social media content that appeals to them. Understanding the makeup of the millennial cohort will help in this.

Take the “Alter-natives” as an example. This younger group tends to use older devices and prefers brands that have nothing to hide. If one of these millennials are the right fit for a role we’re hiring for, approaching them with gimmicky recruiting tactics won’t work.

Retention

A huge part of retention is engagement, and a huge part of engagement is motivation. Misunderstanding any employee’s motivation is a costly mistake.

Think of what motivates your work. Is it one thing? Maybe. Many things? Probably. Is it the same as your coworkers? Probably not. There are some common motivations among millennials, but it’d be a mistake to think what motivates one motivates another.

“Lifeprenuers” value work-life-health balance. If we’re offering bonuses for working extra hours, this group won’t be motivated by that. Flex hours or vacation time may be more appealing. Applying the wrong motivation can be as ineffective and costly as offering none at all.

An Even Better Idea

Considering different types of millennials when planning your recruitment and engagement strategies is a good idea. An even better idea is customizing those plans to individual motivations, behaviors and personality. That’s when things get really powerful. You can read more on that here and here.

You can read the full Advertising Age article on Carat’s study, “What You’ve Been Told About Millennials Is (Mostly) Wrong” here.

What are your thoughts about Carat’s findings? What do they mean for HR professionals and hiring managers?

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Recruitment, Employee retention, Coaching and Development

Kristen Harcourt

Written by Kristen Harcourt

Kristen Harcourt is a highly trusted, creative and collaborative advisor who is passionate about people. She really enjoys helping companies make the right people decisions to achieve long term productivity.