• 17 strategies that can help you graduate from college debt free

    February 23, 2017 by

     

    College is expensive. And student loan debt is on the rise. While many believe the only way to graduate from college debt free is by receiving an academic or athletic scholarship, there are actually several strategies one can implement to graduate from college debt free – or with much less debt than the average college student graduates with – which is just over $30,000.

    It’s not easy and it could make the path to graduation more challenging, but it can be done. It starts by planning in advance and digging deep to find ways to accomplish this goal.

    “The days of going to college without any real pre-planning or self-evaluation are over,” says Bob LaBombard, retired CEO of GradStaff, a company that helps college students and recent college grads identify where there skills fit in the job force  “It’s just too costly and risky.”

    Consider these facts: More than half of college students change their major at least once. Further, recent data shows that only about 56 percent of students entering college graduate within six years; almost half drop out.

    “Clearly, lack of a clear-cut plan often causes students to waste time, precious tuition dollars and, ultimately, interest in completing a degree,” says LaBombard.

    There are many strategies that can help college students cover the high costs of obtaining a college degree, and if done correctly, graduating debt free. We highlight those strategies here:

    Continue Reading

  • Mobile job applications: Q&A with the Experts

    February 22, 2017 by

     

    In today’s “Q & A with the Experts”, College Recruiter spoke with Chrissy Toskos, Vice President Campus Recruiting at Prudential FinancialWe asked Chrissy about how much Prudential Financial allows, expects or accommodates mobile job applications. We also are including insight from College Recruiter founder and president Steven Rothberg, who adds a birds-eye view of employers trying to attract entry-level applicants with mobile applications, and how they measure their success. 

    What changes are necessary to make a good mobile job application?

    Chrissy Toskos: Prudential was an early adopter of mobile applications, having introduced it in January 2015 when less than 20% of Fortune 500 companies had this capability. The mobile application was launched with the intent to provide an easier and more modern way for students to apply for internships and full-time positions at Prudential.  We created a student friendly application by reducing the number of fields that the students are asked to complete which resulted in a shorter application and significant increase in applications.

    We eliminated duplicate content and created specific parameters to ensure that the information captured from each candidate is accurate and specific. By tailoring the language and reorganizing the application to the student perspective, we found a significant increase in submissions and accuracy of completed applications.

    Steven Rothberg: Over the past two years, the percentage of traffic to College Recruiter from smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices has increased from 15 to 50 percent. The huge and likely permanent increase in the share of traffic coming via mobile versus websites is only exasperating a problem that many employers have.

    Do you notice a difference in quality between non-mobile and mobile job applications? 

    Chrissy Toskos: We have not seen a difference in the quality of applications via mobile device vs non mobile device since the processes mirror one another. After applying via mobile device, students are asked to submit their resume online to fully complete the application process.

    There’s no difference in quality between the mobile and non-mobile versions of the Prudential Application. Both application platforms provide applicants with a user friendly look and feel when searching, applying and submitting an application. The only functional difference is for applicants that need to upload a new resume in that the mobile application will not allow for resume uploads. Therefore, applicants need to save their submissions and later access their account via a non-mobile device to fully complete and submit their application. Once their resume is updated in the system, applicants can apply to jobs with ease via their mobile devices. 

    What challenges come with mobile job applications and how do you respond?

    Chrissy Toskos: We have found that we may have to reach out to candidates with a reminder to upload their resumes after they have applied.  Other than the follow-up this has been a seamless process allowing us to provide a more accessible way for students to apply to positions at Prudential.

    As mentioned above, one of our ongoing challenges is the inability to upload a new resume to their profile. We are currently monitoring the system functionality to solve for this current challenge.

    Steven Rothberg: The majority of employers make little to no effort to accurately and automatically track their sources of candidate traffic, applicants, and hires. Many rely upon candidate self-identification such as “how did you hear about us” drop-down boxes or, even worse, asking candidates during an interview. Studies show that drop-down boxes are very likely to provide inaccurate data, and it is likely that interview stage questions provide even worse data. These employers would be better off collecting no data than collecting data which is that inaccurate.

    Even if the employer is trying to automatically and accurately track their applicant sources, it is very difficult to do so accurately when candidates use mobile devices. One problem is that it is likely they will conduct their initial research on their mobile but then come back hours, days, or even weeks later on a laptop or another device that allows them to upload a resume. Tracking across multiple devices is very difficult and often impossible.

    Another and lesser known problem is that many tracking systems rely upon the use of cookies but those are blocked by mobile apps and many of the most popular mobile browsers such as Safari. Simply put, if your tracking systems rely on cookies, then you aren’t able to accurately track mobile traffic.

     

    Chrissy Toskos

    Chrissy Toskos is the Vice President Campus Recruiting at Prudential Financial. She leads the transformation of Prudential’s multi-faceted campus recruiting strategy to identify and invest in the long-term engagement of top talent while providing innovative practices for building a leadership pipeline for the company. Connect with Chrissy on LinkedIn.

     

     

    Steven RothbergAbout Steven Rothberg: Steven’s entrepreneurial spirit was evident from an early age. Disciplined in fifth grade for selling candy during math class and in college for running a massive fantasy hockey league, Steven managed to channel his passions into something more productive after graduate school. A fully recovered lawyer, Steven founded the business that morphed into College Recruiter and now, as its visionary, helps to create and refine the company’s strategy and leads its business development efforts.

     

    Want to stay on top of other expert advice around college recruitment? Connect with College on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube.

  • 10 employers that offer tuition assistance for part-time employees

    February 21, 2017 by

     

    It’s no secret that college tuition is expensive. And it’s no secret that student loan debt is an issue because of this. In fact, nearly seven in 10 seniors who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt, with an average of $30,100 per borrower, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

    But there are surefire ways to lessen student debt load, while gaining valuable job skills and experience at the same time.

    How so?

    By finding a part-time job that offers tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance. As defined by Salary.com, “tuition reimbursement is a contractual arrangement between employer and employee that outlines specific terms under which the employer may pay for the employee’s continuing education.”

    Numerous employers (we list 10 below) offer tuition reimbursement programs for part-time employees. This is an attractive recruiting and retention tool for employers – they help support employee education goals, pay for part of it, and get a educated employee in the process. The employee/college student gets help paying for the cost of college, and is loyal to the company because they invested in their future. It can be a win-win for both.

    But forward-thinking college students should take it a step further. The right part-time job could provide not only tuition reimbursement opportunities, reducing the costs of college, but also a chance to secure an internship with that company, or perhaps, participate in a training program, or learn additional skills beyond what is required in the part-time job. In other words: Take advantage of both the opportunity to earn tuition reimbursement, but also seek ways to learn and add a combination of soft skills, and real-life work experiences that employers will covet, while working this part-time job. Take on new challenges and opportunities. Learn about operations, management, marketing, distribution, merchandising, sales, e-commerce, technology, how the company uses data and analytics, and much more.

    “Students should seek a variety of experiences during their college career-including part-time jobs and internships,” said Mike Caldwell, Director, Business Careers and Employer Development at the Cohen Career Center at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. “These opportunities help build skills, networking contacts, and professional experience. Part-time jobs that offer additional benefits, such as tuition assistance, also offer an opportunity for employers to identify and develop prospective talent while helping employee’s complete academic requirements along the way.”

    Ask yourself: What else does this company do that I could learn about, that would add additional skill sets needed for me to succeed in securing an internship or full time job after graduation?

    Below are 10 companies that offer tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance for part-time employees:

    Continue Reading

  • Spotlight on success: CEB’s summer internship program

    February 20, 2017 by

     

    As Head of Global Talent Acquisition at CEB, Teresa Green knows something about successful summer internship programs. She shared with College Recruiter about how they pull it off every year, and what she recommends as best practices.

    What does CEB’s summer internship program look like?

    CEB’s internship program provides students with hands-on work experience, allowing them to gain business acumen while supporting CEB’s mission to address senior leaders’ most pressing challenges. CEB hosts a ten-week summer internship program for rising college seniors in several of our U.S. office locations.  Interns are placed in one of two business communities; research or business development. Research interns examine common challenges faced by business leaders and produce solutions that help those business leaders to take action.  Business development interns assist with engaging senior-level executives in our services, prospecting and scheduling sales meetings. Each internship gives students a glimpse into the entry level roles within these communities and a chance to receive a full-time position at the end of the summer.

    Our interns make an impact, not coffee.

    We’re proud to say that interns make an impact – not coffee. Their work is tied to business objectives so we are able to measure the positive impact interns have on the organization.  At the same time, CEB makes an impact on the students’ development, ensuring they are starting their career on the right track. Guaranteeing interns gain valuable work experience, allowing them to establish business relationships and helping them identify possible long-term career opportunities are important objectives of CEB’s program.

    Every year we ask for feedback from our interns and, unanimously, they say that CEB hosts a well-rounded intern program.  Throughout the summer students participate in learning and development workshops, a speaker series with our executive leadership, community service projects and various networking activities. Our diversity employee groups also host external speakers, social events and training activities that interns partake in across the summer. And there is always time for a little fun.  In past years we’ve planned ice cream socials, bowling nights, baseball games and boat cruises for interns to hangout outside of the office.

    An example of an intern who went on to succeed at CEB Continue Reading

  • 10 unique side jobs that can help pay off student loan debt

    February 16, 2017 by

     

    Robin Rectenwald has a full-time job working for WordWrite Communications a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania public relations firm, that she absolutely loves. But that hasn’t stopped her from finding unique side jobs to help pay off her student loan debt. Rectenwald graduated from Duquesne University in 2012 with 20 different student loans and $100,000 in loan debt. Now, in 2017, she only has five loans left, and is quickly whittling down the amount she owes.

    Before landing her first full-time job in 2012, Rectenwald worked part-time as a customer service representative at Gateway Clipper Fleet, a Pittsburgh sightseeing organization. She worked in the ticket and sales office, where she learned about marketing, sales and customer service – all valuable skills in her current role – and for any future opportunities. She worked for Gateway Clipper Fleet for four years, using that money to make extra payments towards her school loans. Rectenwald recently switched to a new part-time job as a customer care representative at ShowClix, a ticketing software company. For this job, she works from the comforts of her own home answering phones and responding to emails from customers looking to buy tickets to international events.

    “Even though I’ve grown as a professional in the PR field and have had a number of promotions that increased my salary since starting out as an entry-level professional, I continue to work a part-time job because I’m trying to save as much money as possible,” says Rectenwald. “With this part-time income, I’ve been able to pay off several student loans and I’m currently using this extra money to pay tuition out-of-pocket for grad school.”

    Rectenwald takes these part-time jobs seriously, and puts in maximum effort – something her managers have noticed. She was offered a full-time job in the marketing department at Gateway Clipper Fleet, and is writing a crisis communication plan for ShowClix as part of her grad school program.

    “These part-time jobs have not only expanded my network and presented additional career opportunities, it has also given me a unique perspective on marketing and communication strategies.”

    And it’s also helped her greatly reduce her student loan debt, and time it would take to pay the loans back.

    That’s what Eric Hian-Cheong is also trying to accomplish. He works full-time for a public relations firm in McLean, Virginia, but also has two, unique part-time jobs. He makes $11 an hour as a part-time rock climbing instructor at a local fitness center, and also works as a second shooter/assistant to a local wedding photographer.

    “Why limit yourself to just one other part-time job?” said Hian-Cheong.

    He works up to 8 hours a weekend, and nets up to $400 a month as a rock climbing instructor – which is right around what he pays each month for his student loans. That job also provides a free gym membership – saving him another $95 a month in gym membership fees.

    These jobs have helped Hian-Cheong improve his self-confidence, he says, and also provides an incredible social life outside of the 9-to-5 job.

    “I have several friends whose social lives revolve around their 9-to-5, which can get a little unhealthy at times,” says Hian-Cheong.

    It’s also helped him network and communicate with a wide variety, and diverse group of people, helping him develop communication, interpersonal, critical thinking, and speaking skills, as he must provide instructions, detail, and clarity, when instructing individuals and a class.

    Rectenwald and Hian-Cheong are among the many recent college grads supplementing their income, and paying off student debt with the help of a unique side job. What are some other unique part-time job opportunities one can pursue to help make extra cash to pay off student loans? Consider some of these options:

    Continue Reading

  • The do’s and don’ts of recruiting summer interns

    February 15, 2017 by

     

    Recruiting interns requires being strategic. Here are a few ideas.

    The competition for talent ranks as one of the biggest challenges with recruiting interns.  Whether contending with large corporations that have more established programs, or smaller businesses with better compensation and perks, companies are only successful in the long term with an effective recruitment strategy and strong employment brand.

    Developing the right recruitment strategy and implementing it on a consistent basis is critical.  Here are a few ways to become more strategic:

    • Host focus groups to learn how students perceive your employment brand, and what they are looking for in a potential employer
    • Encourage former or current interns to become ambassadors to further your reach on campus
    • Build and foster your school relationships, letting them know you’re open to new and unique opportunities to connect with students
    • Focus recruitment efforts in the fall. Your competition is probably recruiting interns to snap up top talent in January so it benefits you to start early.
    • Maintain a consistent message across all functions that are recruiting interns on campus, making sure what’s communicated aligns back to the larger organization.
    • Play up the positives of your company, being transparent about what a student may not feel is a benefit (students can see right through an inauthentic or generic message).
    • Increase your candidate pool and save on cost through virtual career fairs, info sessions, and video interviews.
    • Recruitment platforms, talent communities and niche job boards can help pinpoint candidates who you wish to hire.

    Dig into a few pools that you might be missing.

    Companies can broaden their candidate base through the use of talent communities and social media platforms.  A company’s own careers page can let students opt-in to receive notices about internship openings or related company news.  Social media platforms make recruiting interns easier by targeting and connecting with certain student populations (ex. HBCUs, STEM, MBA) through advanced filters and virtual presentations. Continue Reading

  • Why employers covet soft skills developed working in the restaurant and retail industry

    February 14, 2017 by

     

    Note to those restaurant employees who get frustrated going to work on a Saturday night while friends are preparing for a night out on the town.

    Employers understand the sacrifices you are making, and in the long run, it will pay off. Why?

    Because employers covet recent college grads and entry-level job seekers who have restaurant industry experience. Sure, that doesn’t help when you feel you are missing the must-attend social event of the year (you’re really not) because you have to go to work, but it’s going to pay off when applying for that first job.

    Same goes for that retail worker, who goes to class all day and closes up shop every night, or who has to pull a double shift on a Sunday when other workers call in sick (because they did go to that social event the night before).

    Thousands of college students and recent college grads work restaurant jobs and retail jobs, and whether they know it or not, they are developing transferable skills that employees seek in recent college grads and entry-level job seekers.

    Continue Reading

  • Don’t ask, “Do we have to pay interns?” The answer is always yes.

    February 13, 2017 by

     

    A common question in the space of college recruitment and talent acquisition is, “Should interns be paid?” Sometimes, unfortunately, the variation is “Do we have to pay interns?” In fact, there are over 7.4 million Google search results for that latter question, with the No. 1 hit typically being this ProPublica article asking “When is it OK not to pay an intern?” However, I look at it from the other side. In short: you should and need to pay interns. 

    First of all, paying interns is a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) issue. In the broadest terms, government and non-profits do not need to pay interns, whereas for-profit companies do need to pay interns. The U.S. Department of Labor actually developed six criteria for determining whether an intern can work unpaid. (You can find everything on the sexily-titled “U.S. Department of Labor Fact Sheet Number 71.”)

    The fourth criterion is worded as “… the employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern …”

    As College Recruiter president Steven Rothberg puts it, “I defy anyone to provide an example of an internship designed to deliver absolutely zero value to the employer.”

    Continue Reading

  • Ask Matt: Make a plan! 12 strategies for dominating student loan debt

    February 09, 2017 by

    Dear Matt: I recently graduated from college and it’s almost time to start paying back my student loans. I have over $50,000 in student loan debt, and it seems almost overwhelming to have to pay all this back, especially with many other expenses. Fortunately I have landed a job, and am making a decent salary. That helps, but I’m feeling financial pressure to make it all work. Do you have any tips or resources for people like me seeking advice on how to manage the overwhelming burden of paying back student loans/debt?

    Matt: I cringed when I heard the numbers. My niece is in her second year of college and has already accumulated $65,000 in student loan debt. “But it’s totally worth it,” she said, before leaving for London for a month-long school-sponsored education program. She’s right in the fact that a college degree, and the experiences that come with it, are worth it. But it’s painful to see so many young students accrue so much debt. She may realize that as well – after one year at a private school, she’s now going to a public university and back living at home as a way to cut costs.

    Her story reminded me of my cousin who accumulated over $120,000 in student loan debt. Her first job was for a large financial institution (her degree was in education, from a private school). Her boss at that job, only a few years older, didn’t go to college, had no student loan debt, and made more money than her. Those two eventually got married – which is how I know this story – but that in itself is a whole other story.

    Why do I tell these tales? Because these are common stories for today’s college student and college graduate. And while it doesn’t change this reader’s situation – or pay their debt, any recent college graduate with student debt should understand that you are not alone, and that there are resources out there to help you.

    In fact, nearly seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt, with an average of $30,100 per borrower, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

    When I paid back my student loans after graduating from Minnesota State University, Mankato (Mankato State University back then), I did it without a plan, or real understanding of the options available to me. I simply read the letters sent to me, submitted the pay stub and check to the loan servicing company (no online payments back then) each month, and cringed as it seemed like a lingering debt that would never go away.

    Don’t be like me. Don’t go about paying back student loan debt without a plan. Take advantage of the many online resources available, and heed advice from financial experts like Phil Schuman, Director of Financial Literacy at Indiana University (IU). Schuman unleashed multiple financial literacy initiatives in the past four years, and reduced undergraduate student borrowing across IU by nearly 14 percent – which comes out to a whopping savings of $78 million, since introducing his financial literacy efforts.

    It’s tough to start one’s professional career drowning in debt. But don’t let that debt dominate your life.

    “While it’s extremely important that you get rid of (student loans) as fast as you possibly can, make sure you don’t do it at the expense of your wellness,” says Schuman. “If there are things in life that are important to you and keep you going, even if they cost a little bit of money, make sure to keep them as part of your life. Having those things in your life will help keep you motivated and energized to continue tackling your student debt.”

    Katie Ross, Education and Development Manager for the American Consumer Credit Counseling, an organization that provides information and guidance on issues such as identity theft, credit, debt and budgeting, agrees.

    “There is a stigma about being in debt that causes many borrowers to prioritize eliminating student loan debt over other financial objectives like saving for a house or for retirement,” says Ross. “If possible, do not neglect saving for retirement just to expedite student loan repayment.”

    I get it – it’s hard to think about saving for retirement – let alone making monthly rent payments, car payments, or even going out on the weekend – when that large monthly loan payment looming. But it can be, and will be done. You will get out of debt. But it’s not easy, and takes planning, preparation and diligence.

    Get out of student debt by following these tips:

    1. Take ownership of your debt: “You need to realize that you are in charge of how quickly your debt can go away,” says Schuman. “Don’t allow yourself to blame others for your debt being there or hope that others will help you get rid of it. Own your debt and get rid of it as fast as possible.”

    Set a “done with debt” date and then do everything you possible can to meet it.

    2. Create an efficient budget: A carefully planned budget will help any individual gain a better understanding of their financial outlook and how they’ll need to adjust their lifestyle to afford to live, save, and pay off debt. “Knowing how much money you have to dedicate to paying off students loans and what expenses can be reduced is the best place to start when trying to figure out how to eliminate student loan debt quickly,” says Ross.

    3. Calculate payments: At StudentLoans.gov, borrowers can access a repayment estimator that will help them understand how much their monthly payments will be under different repayment plans. Because the site accesses borrowers’ specific student loan files, repayment calculators can show each graduate repayment details that are unique to their specific loans. This will also let borrowers see what the interest rates are on their different loans and what they will pay in interest using different repayment options.

    4. Worry about the amounts, not the interest rates: “Before I explain myself I do want to assure you that I do understand math,” jokes Schuman. It might seem contradictory to not focus on the interest rates of a debt, but paying off debt is more a matter of psychology than it is math, he says. In the case of focusing on paying off debts by interest rates, while it will allow you to pay less in interest when all is said and done it is difficult to tackle debt when you don’t see the numbers go down fast. If you pay off your debts by prioritizing the one with the lowest balance – and still paying the minimums on all other debts – you’ll see your number of debts go down faster, which will motivate you to keep tackling your debt.  Once you get rid of the first debt, apply the money you used to pay off that debt and apply it to the one that now has the lowest balance, and so on.

    5. Understand relief eligibility: While logged into the Federal Student Aid website, borrowers should read up on different relief programs that are available to military personnel, public servants, persons with disabilities, and other individuals, points out Ross. The details of the programs are important because borrowers might already be eligible or can become eligible based on the industry they enter upon joining the workforce. Some may qualify to have their loans discharged or forgiven after just 10 years of on-time payments.

    6. Choose a loan repayment plan: Those who can afford it and are interested in getting out of debt quickly should choose whichever plan has the highest payments and the shortest repayment period. Anyone in any plan can accelerate their repayment by paying a little more than their minimum payment each month. This will save the most in interest over the life of the loans.

    7. Make one extra monthly payment per year: Making 13 payments a year instead of 12 can help save big on interest. Learn more about that strategy in the article Paying off Student Loan Debt: 5 Tips.

    8. Contact the loan servicing company: Graduates and other borrowers should know which company is handling their student loan debt. Student loan repayment and billing for some borrowers is not handled by the government itself but by a loan servicing company. Getting in touch with the loan servicing company will help borrowers update their contact info, learn about potential ways to reduce interest, and get up-to-date details about how much they still owe.

    9. Enroll in autopay: If borrowers are financially able, the easiest way to ensure that their loans are taken care of is to enroll in a service that automatically deducts their loan payment from their bank account each month. Plus, this protects grads from missing payments and hurting their credit, says Ross.

    10. Be cautious about refinancing student loans: Many new grads obsess over their debt and paying it off as quickly as possible, says Ross. Know that refinancing comes with risks like losing the benefits offered with federal student loans. Also, your credit need to be in really good shape in order to refinance and get a good interest rate. If you do choose to refinance, be careful about choosing a fixed or variable interest rate. Interest rates, which are set by the Federal Reserve, are likely to increase, which could be harmful to your debt repayment plans, says Ross. Be sure to carefully read all terms and conditions when refinancing.

    11. Set up an emergency fund: Don’t accelerate payments on deductible student loan debt until you’ve set aside six to 12 months of “emergency” money, says Beth Walker, CCPS, CRPC®, a Partner and Personal CFO for The Wealth Consulting Group and founder of Center for College Solutions, a resource for families and college students whose goal is to reduce the stress – and costs of attending college.

    “This seems counterintuitive but student loan debt is still relatively ‘cheap’ and having liquidity, use and control of capital is the foundation to a strong financial future,” says Walker.

    12. Find a way to focus on the future: This may seem years away, but remember this tip: Once the loans are paid off, immediately direct the monthly loan payment toward a long-term savings program. “You’ve learned to live without using that cash flow in your current lifestyle up to this point, so take advantage of that fact and fund your future lifestyle with the equivalent of your education loan payments,” says Walker.

    So you have student loan debt. That’s reality. Don’t let it get you down. Develop a plan for success. And heed the advice from experts. By reading this article you’ve already received advice from a financial literacy expert, a manager from a consumer credit counseling agency, and a financial planning expert who has a decade of experience helping families and individuals pay off student debt.

    That’s a good start. That’s more than I ever did – and more than most people do.

    Keep it up and you will dominate your student debt.

    Matt Krumrie CollegeRecruiter.com

    Matt Krumrie is a contributing writer for CollegeRecruiter.com

    About Ask Matt on CollegeRecruiter.com
    Ask Matt is a new monthly career advice column that offers tips and advice to recent college grads and entry-level job seekers. Have a question? Need job search or career advice? Email your question to Matt Krumrie for use in a future column.

  • Millennials, Millennials, Millennials! (Or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Next Generation)

    February 08, 2017 by

     

    For a Gen-X professional like myself, all the recent talk about millennials in the workforce can make you feel a little bit like Jan from the Brady Bunch when it seemed like all she ever heard about was, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”. These days, it’s almost impossible to pick up an HR trade publication or even a top-tier business publication and NOT read something about, “Millennials this,” or, “Millennials that.” With all this talk about millennials, if you are not part of the generation that was born between 1980-2000, it’s hard not to feel like the neglected middle child. Except it’s not our metaphorical over-achieving older sibling who’s getting all the attention, it’s our hipper, hungrier, younger relation that’s nipping at our heels, hogging the spotlight and challenging our assumptions.

    But the truth of the matter is, with millennials making up more than 50 percent of the workforce and growing (they surpassed that milestone in 2015, according to Pew), there is no longer any denying the current and ongoing impact they are having on the way businesses operate today. And that’s a good thing. Millennials are precipitating change in many important and significant ways, I would argue for the better.

    As baby boomers continue to retire, companies are facing the challenge of attracting and retaining millennials to replenish their ranks. With this backdrop, understanding the kind of corporate culture millennials desire and the forces that motivate them is key. But when you dig a little deeper, you will find that many of the same forces that motivate millennials also have a broader positive impact on the entire workforce, no matter their generation or demographic.

    Millennials: They aren’t as different as you think

    There has been a lot of talk about how millennials are different from other generations, but the latest studies show that may not really be the case. The differences between the older and younger generations have more to do with age and life stages than with the different generational experiences they had growing up.

    Millennials share many of the same long-term career goals as older workers. These include making a positive impact on their organization, helping to solve social and environmental problems, and working with diverse people. They also want to work with the best, be passionate, develop expertise and leadership capabilities, and achieve both financial security and work–life balance. In fact, only a few percentage points separate the number of millennials, gen-Xers, and baby boomers who claim these as their top goals.

    That doesn’t mean that companies don’t need to adjust and evolve to attract and retain millennials; it just means that the changes they make will resonate with, and increase employee engagement among, all their employees, not just the youngest. And while there are technology solutions that can help out in this area, technology alone won’t compensate for a corporate culture that doesn’t focus on showing workers true appreciation.

    How to stop worrying and embrace the millennial transformation

    If you’re a business looking to boost millennial appeal and improve overall employee engagement, consider making the following changes:

    Emphasize a broader purpose. Create excitement around the company’s mission and purpose by connecting to broader social causes and cultural movements.

    Encourage collaboration. Break down silos and encourage collaboration between diverse teams across your organization. Use team-building activities to help employees get to know each other and build interdepartmental connections.

    Provide frequent feedback. Recognize contributions. Encourage employees to develop their skills and expertise by providing with training opportunities along with frequent feedback. Create a culture that recognizes and rewards achievements.

    Provide opportunity. Look for employees who are ready to take leadership positions and give them the chance to show what they can do. Hire and promote from within rather than bringing in outside experts.

    Reward and recognize. According to the “Happy Millennials” Employee Happiness Survey, 64% of millennials want to be recognized for personal accomplishments, but 39% of them report that their companies don’t offer any rewards or recognition. Show employees you appreciate and value their hard work by recognizing and rewarding their efforts and achievements.

    Getting the most out of millennials and other generations in the workforce requires creating a culture that encourages, supports and rewards success. When companies do this it has a positive ripple effect across the entire organization, regardless of generation. So don’t fear or resent the millennial onslaught. Embrace them and the positive changes they are bringing to a workplace near you.

     

    Josh Danson, AchieversJosh is Director of Content Marketing at Achievers. An accomplished marketing and communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in the fields of marketing and PR, Josh graduated from Kenyon College and lives in San Francisco with his wife and 9 year-old daughter. In addition to work and family, he is passionate about music, politics and fly fishing (not necessarily in that order). Twitter: @dansonshoes

© 2017 CollegeRecruiter.com, LLC