Millennials: Gotta Catch 'em All

millennial gen y workers and how to recruit

If you're in HR right about now, you're probably thinking your best shot at recruiting Millennials would be to have a Jigglypuff in the next cubicle. You're probably not wrong. Alas, we can't all be designated Pokemon Gyms (to be fair, there are a whole lot of folks who wish they weren't). But the explosion of Millennials out hunting Weedles and Charmanders should at least be a little instructional. The game pretty much checks all the boxes on the Millennials' wish lists in life, not just Pokemon.

Recruiting Millennials, As Told by the Pokemon Playbook

Want to catch Millennial? Take a page from Pokemon playbook:

Go Mobile

Nobody's running around catching Pokemon hauling a desktop. It's an important clue to how Millennials are surfing jobs. Make sure your recruitment site is able to catch Millennial job hunters by mobile.

Get Them Connected

Want to know what people say they like best (OK..second best) about the game? People connections. The age of the virtual office can put people contact at a premium. And as IBM told us in a webinar, "What we're finding is that people in the Millennial generation do want to come together at the same location where they have shared interests."

Give Them a Purpose

We'll leave for another day the whole discussion about whether reaching level five to battle other Pokemon trainers counts as a "purpose." But "take action/see results" is pretty attractive, especially for Millennials who like to see the success ratio of what they're doing. "Having a sense of purpose is a human need," says Jamie Kirkland, a Bright Horizons training specialist and a Millennial himself. "But the way technology has allowed us to connect to causes makes it a much, much stronger need for Millennials."

Give Them a Challenge

Blastoise chasing isn't just a game...it's a challenge. And learning stuff is in Millennial DNA. These kids grew up chasing more degrees than any generation before - 60% have gone to college, versus 46% of Boomers. And they want to be challenged so much they'd happily trade a fatter paycheck for on-the-job learning.

Make it a Game

Is it any wonder the latest craze would be a game? Millennials started learning math by counting chocolate chips in Millie's Math House. So there's a reason more and more companies are moving to gamification: it works. A quick Google search will find gamification just about everywhere - in recruiting, SEO, fitness, training...and more. We've heard of training games that get people hooked on good scores to develop skills - and they don't even have to include a Pikachu to be a hit.


None of this is to say that people need toys to do their jobs. We're also not suggesting you should add "become a Pokestop" to your list of strategies for recruiting Millennials (although...). But among those swarms of people tripping over themselves to catch cartoon monsters, there are a few clues for HR. Not that having a Jigglypuff would be bad. And dear Millennials: please use your Pokeballs responsibly.

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.