LinkedIn’s Head of HR on the One Thing Millennial Workers Care About Most

November 17, 2015

When it comes to attracting millennial workers, one aspect stands out above the rest, LinkedIn's Head of HR, Pat Wadors, said at a session she co-hosted at Talent Connect Anaheim.

“Purpose is key,” Wadors said. “Humans want to leave a legacy. And millennials tend to be more intentional about that.”

Wadors co-hosted her session with Antonia Cusumano, who leads PwC’s people and change business in their technology sector. Both women agreed that having a clear purpose at your company beyond just making money is the key to bringing in great talent, particularly great young talent.

In fact, Wadors said in conversations with recruiters at LinkedIn, 50 percent of millennial candidates asked about the purpose and mission of the company before they asked about compensation. To consistently recruit and retain that great talent, the key is having a compelling story to tell, she said.

Some other factors that also really matter 

Wadors and Cusumano said purpose wasn’t the only aspect that millennial workers care about. Other factors they said were important are:

1. Flexibility

“Flexibility is almost as important as salary,” Cusumano said.

And flexibility means a focus on results, instead of a 40-hour workweek. It means allowing your employees to work from home, or work hours that work for them, instead of enforcing a set schedule, Cusumano said.

2. A unique recruiting process

Rather than the traditional recruiting process of formal interviews and then an offer, Wadors and Cusumano encouraged recruiters to try different ways to recruit candidates.

For example, they suggested sponsoring recruiting mixers at your company’s campus, casual lunch discussions with candidates and giving prospects a chance to interact with the company’s leaders.

3. Benefits that allow for choice

One thing Wadors stressed is that millennials aren’t all alike, and that a program that favors millennials over another generation isn’t ideal either.

To accommodate everyone, she suggested having benefits and perks that give choice to the recipient, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

For example, Wadors brought up a new wellness program at LinkedIn where employees get $500 a quarter to spend on whatever health-related program they want: Massages, a gym membership, yoga classe, etc. That gives people the choice to choose what works for them.

Conversely, a program like paying for free Crossfit for all employees might make some employees ecstatic; whereas others will likely never use it.

4. A lasting message

Wadors also said companies should avoid putting millennials under one broad umbrella, who can all be catered to the same way. Frankly, many of the things that attract millennials to your organization are the same things that attract anyone to your organization, she said.

That said, as the mother of three millennial children, Wadors said she loves the millennial generation and where it wants to take the world. And that’s shown in their desire for purpose, as they truly care about how their work will impact the world, as opposed to just what they get out of it.

So, if you want to attract the great young talent, you are going to have to sell a job beyond just a salary and benefits. Instead, sell a vision.

*Image from Death to the Stock Photo 

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