By Jim Wong, CPA | May 6, 2015


Did you know that by the year 2020, 46 percent of the workforce will be comprised of millennials?

By now, most people are familiar with the term millennial. Millennials, or Generation Y as they’re also referred to, were born between the years 1976 and 1993. They’re the youngest generation to enter the labor market since the baby boomers. And although not all millennials are the same, major cultural events in their formative years have created common attributes among them.

For the most part, millennials were raised by supportive baby boomer parents, experienced an expansive economy and saw extreme advances in technology. Now, making up one third of the workforce, millennials tend to be tech-savvy, crave collaboration and think globally.

So, how does this affect the accounting, finance and IT professions?

For all industries and professions right now, managers and leaders are struggling with exactly how to approach this new generation. From hiring millennials to managing them once they’re onboard to retaining them years later – all of this has become unchartered territory for many. Fortunately, millennials are the most educated generation in history, and typically, are easily coachable as they like to be challenged.

CFO.com recently released a white paper on managing millennials. I think the white paper has some great points about the generation as a whole. Below are a few tips for recruiting, managing and retaining millennials.

Be Transparent

I find that being transparent from the very beginning of the relationship i.e. the interview process really helps start the relationship off on the right foot. Communicating to them the type of culture, management style and values that are present within your company allows for the millennial to make an educated decision on whether to work within your accounting, finance or IT departments, or not. In addition, providing clear communication about how one is able to gain more challenges and career opportunities at your company will increase your retention among millennials. I have found millennials to become very engaged when they understand what new challenges and opportunities are available to them. Further, statistics show that millennials stay at a company for approximately two years before moving on. That is not necessarily always the case. If a young professional feels like there is value, that they’re a part of a team, and can make an impact – they’re more compelled to stay. Overall, being open and transparent with this generation builds trust which builds comradery, increases productivity and improves retention.

Apply Technology

It’s no surprise that the tech-savvy millennials crave technology of all sorts from advanced software systems to social media. This unique skillset should be leveraged in order to optimize their individual performance and the group as a whole. In fact, as managers, there may be technology components that you do not fully know how to navigate. Allowing millennials to run with something they’re already familiar with – can help improve processes and help with the company’s bottom line.

Inspire Action

Millennials are innovative and want to take ownership. Research shows they thrive on interesting projects and feel compelled to make a difference. Explaining the “what,” “how” and “why” of a project shows them the importance of your request. I always find that starting with the “why” gives your young team a better idea of the project which could lead to conversation and additional insight. This may take longer upfront, but in the long run it’ll save time on any unnecessary questions. Coaching and mentoring in ways that inspire millennials will help retain them, as well.

Think Big Picture

Millennials are more than just a phenomenon. They’re a generation of intelligent individuals who are emerging as a serious force in the corporate world – especially accounting, finance and IT. As long as you leverage their strengths with the core values and culture of your company, you’ll have a good chance of succeeding in recruiting, managing and retaining them in the long run.

What are some other ways to recruit, manage and retain millennials? Comment below and let us know!


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