Attracting Millennials to jobs in the nonprofit sector can be a real challenge. Some of the main reasons it is difficult for nonprofits to attract Millennials who shy away are understandable and not easy to overcome, while others can be turned from an objection into a recruiting tool. The point of this post is to expand on one of these latter reasons — the perception that nonprofits are low-tech places to work.
To start, it’s important to understand what Millennials want in a work environment. They overwhelmingly prefer organizations with relatively few layers of management. This structure makes it easier to collaborate, communicate, share ideas – to feel a personal connection to their work. They also want to be part of an innovative culture where their voices will be heard and where they can make a tangible contribution quickly.
Most of all, Millennials need technology integrated into their workplaces. It’s a must-have. Studies and surveys prove that a majority of them won’t consider an employer they perceive to be a technology laggard.
This being the case, how can nonprofits make themselves more attractive to Millennials?
Simple answer: Revisit your current use of technology, your plans for its use in the future, and how you convey the strategic importance of technology to potential employees.
Millennials were brought up immersed in technology. They constantly look to technology to simplify most facets of their life. In the workplace, their instinct is to help an organization automate and be more efficient in ways management hasn’t considered. Take advantage of this when recruiting and retaining Millennial talent.
The facts are the facts. Millennials:
- Love creative control.
- Are seasoned multi-taskers who can effectively juggle multiple responsibilities when motivated.
- Operate round-the-clock via social media and have good insight into what does and doesn’t work.
- Like instant gratification and recognition.
- Value work-life balance highly and look first to technology as an enabler for this.
- Are extremely team-oriented.
- Enjoy tinkering and can be quite focused when it comes to innovation.
Nonprofits seeking to attract tech-savvy Millennials must adapt in ways that will interest this purpose-driven group. The time is right to do it. Businesses in general are undergoing a digital transformation in which many processes are being reshaped by technology. Doing things better, faster and cheaper is easier than ever to accomplish. It can be a great leveler for organizations competing for funding against better-resourced groups. What’s needed is good ideas, something Millennials have plenty of once they feel encouraged to share.
Nonprofit leaders can show Millennials how their ideas can influence the direction of a nonprofit, and by doing so will help change the perception of what working in this sector can be all about. It will also land nonprofits valuable employees that otherwise would be looking elsewhere for work.