Like all of our competitors—and most companies looking to expand their workforce these days—we have to work extra hard to make ourselves known to today’s younger scientists, engineers, developers, and budding program managers. Lots of social media engagement and onsite visits to our partner universities for targeted recruiting events are essential – and it helps if college students already know us through our sponsorship of their high school robotics or science clubs!
But we find the search is worthwhile: today’s younger workforce is very intelligent, hardworking, seeking purpose, and responds well to regular feedback (positive or constructive) and encouragement—much more so than the annual performance review process many of us are used to.
If there’s a downside to today’s Millennials, it’s mostly on our side: our resistance to change, particularly to changing our own mindsets and office culture to accommodate the new ways of the workforce. Millennials like to work hard on creative, innovative projects—and then they like to play just as hard outside of the office. They like to work in groups, and they don’t shy away from challenges—they thrive on them. But they may solve those challenges in new ways, and that’s good.
They often work a staggered schedule through the day, versus a hard “8 to 5.” If there’s a two-hour break in their day, they may go for a bike ride or a movie—then log back on later in the day to finish the job. And they seek meaning from their work, probably more so than some of us older folks. Their jobs aren’t as much a “means to an end” as a central part of their identities, one they take pride in and enjoy discussing with their friends.
So, our job is to accommodate their work/life habits, provide them time and space to innovate their own ideas, encourage them along the way, and ensure they understand the importance of our mission.