Wood Words

How Middle Tennessee Employers Can Attract and Retain Gen Y Talent

There go the Boomers.  Here comes Gen Y.

Just when your need for talent is on the rise, here comes a new slew of tech-savvy workers to save the day.  But while it’s tempting to think you can simply substitute one generation with another, things are not that simple.  Diverse, demanding and socially aware, millenials are creating a major paradigm shift in the workplace.

So how do you attract and keep the best and brightest, without turning your organization upside down?  Here are some great strategies for recruiting and retaining the best talent the next generation has to offer:


  • Take a viral approach.  Develop online Flash videos and other materials (think interactive, entertaining and hip) that young people will want to share with their friends.  A viral approach can enhance awareness, properly position your organization in millenials’ minds and increase job referrals.
  • Leverage industry blogs, forums and social networks. The best Gen Y workers stay on top of their game by constantly seeking out new information.  Become a trusted source they turn to, by writing and posting articles that are ahead of the curve in your industry.
  • Use your current Gen Y employees. Millenials are particularly peer-influenced.  Turn your current young employees, who are already devoted members of your staff, into company ambassadors – at job fairs, online or when interviewing candidates.  Your Gen Y staff can tell potential employees what life will be like “in the trenches” and address their individual questions and concerns.
  • Work with a staffing and direct placement firm. Services like Wood Personnel have the resources, networks and expertise to recruit and screen Gen Y talent for your organization.  With an extensive database, progressive recruiting strategy, robust website and comprehensive screening process, we can quickly provide talented workers with cutting-edge skills for your temporary, contract, temp-to-hire and direct hire staffing needs.


  • Give them what they want. Millenials have a strong desire to learn new skills and use bleeding-edge technology.  If you can, meet them halfway.  Keep tabs on your millenials’ technology needs and, whenever fiscally appropriate, allow your Gen Y employees to spread their wings by testing and integrating new technology tools as they become available.  If you have trouble justifying the cost of the technology your Gen Y talent wants, keep track of whether a lack of such technology is prompting talented people to leave, or hindering your ability to attract the candidates you need.
  • Offer flexible work schedules. Gen Y workers want to control their own schedules and work from home.  If you don’t provide this generation with these core benefits, one of your competitors surely will.
  • Understand their needs. Instead of trying to change Gen Y, bend to their needs.  If necessary, educate your company leaders about what makes Gen Y tick.  Explain their need for job control, desire for more flexibility, craving for reassurance and hunger for new technology.  The more willing your staff is to accommodate millenials’ needs, the higher your rate of retention will be.