THE BLOG
07/31/2013 01:45 pm ET | Updated Sep 30, 2013

Employers: 6 Things You Need to Know About the Class of 2013

Don't look now, but Millennials are slowly invading the workforce. That's right, there's more than one million Millennials entering the workforce this year. Do you have what it takes to attract and retain the best and brightest from the Class of 2013?

Not all generations have the same interests and expectations in the workplace, especially when we're talking about Millennials. And by 2020, nearly 40 percent of the U.S. workforce will be comprised of Millennials. If you're not offering up things that not only entice them, but also aid in long-term retention, you may be in trouble.

If you're looking to fill entry-level positions or have just brought on a few recent graduates from the Class of 2013, there's a thing or two you need to know about their interests to ensure they'll thrive in your workplace:

1. Flexibility matters. What's your company's take on flexibility? This is something that is incredibly important to the Class of 2013 and other Millennials in your workplace. In a recent study of PwC employees, 71 percent of Millennials say that work interferes with their personal lives.

Play to this interest by incorporating more flexibility into your scheduling. For example, you may consider giving your employees the opportunity to work from home once a week, or whenever their schedule allows it. You could experience more productivity and engagement from both Millennial and non-Millennial employees if you adopt flextime scheduling.

2. They may be lacking previous work experience. Beware: If you're looking to bring on entry-level hires who aren't from your current intern pool, you may be faced with candidates lacking experience. In a recent study involving the Class of 2013, nearly half of this year's respondents have never had a full-time job and 41.4 percent never interned.

The best entry-level hires should come to you with internship and extracurricular experience matching the criteria for your entry-level position. While there's always the possibility of landing a diamond in the rough -- a talented candidate with little professional experience -- it's safer to bring on entry-level candidates with strong resumes and portfolios.

3. They're taking their entry-level search online. If you have yet to build a strong online presence for your employer brand, you're likely to miss out on talented graduates of the Class of 2013. Millennials live online. During their job search, you've got to give them every opportunity to engage with your employer brand.

Go social with your employer brand by building a presence on the channels that are most relevant to your industry, whether it be LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or Google+. Showcase your company culture with photos and videos, share relevant news, post job and internship opportunities, answer questions, and most importantly, aim to have direct conversations with potential candidates.

4. They want growth opportunities. Providing meaningful work for your Class of 2013 hires is essential. According to Pew Research, 89 percent of Millennials agree it's important to be "constantly growing at my job." Millennials don't just want any old job -- they want to be fulfilled in their work.

If you're looking to keep your entry-level hires engaged, ensure they're given a variety of growth and learning opportunities. Pay for their attendance at industry conferences and seminars, allow them to develop new skills through software training, or set up a mentorship program.

5. They want to stick around. Millennials often get stereotyped as job hoppers, but this isn't necessarily the case for the Class of 2013. According to the same Achievers "Class of 2013" study, 20.6 percent of respondents expect to stay with their first employer for five years, while 21.6 percent anticipate staying for more than ten years.

But just because your loyal entry-level hires want to stick around, it doesn't mean they will. It's up to you to stay in tune with their interests and needs as employees. This means giving them a chance to rise through the ranks of your company, develop as professionals, and accomplish work they feel is meaningful.

6. They want unique recognition and rewards. Everyone loves recognition, but the Class of 2013 may want more than just a pat on the back or a plaque after an completing something exceptional. Play to the Millennial interest in personal development and flexibility by spicing up your reward offerings. For example, consider rewarding your entry-level hires with a weekend vacation, spa trip, additional paid time off, or a few days to work from home.

Before you know it, your entire workforce will be made up of Millennials. Catering to the interests of the Class of 2013 will help you attract and retain the most talented recent graduates.

When it comes to entry-level recruiting and hiring, how are you adapting to the interests of Millennials?

Ashley Mosley is Community Engagement Manager of InternMatch, an online platform connecting the best intern candidates and employers. Connect with Ashley and InternMatch on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.