At a time when Indiana’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level in more than 14 years, Hoosier companies have to up the ante to attract talent. You want the best, the brightest and most innovative individuals joining your team, and many of these workers are just now entering the workforce. They’re called Millennials, and while they may get a bad reputation for being entitled, lazy and addicted to social media, they have the skills, potential and ambition to succeed in their careers and transform the workplace. This generation will make up 46 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020, so the time to understand Millennials and attract them to your company is now.

Why hire Millennials?

They are digital experts. This generation grew up with laptops, high-speed internet and smartphones. They use technology in every aspect of their life and are eager to learn about the latest tech trends. When your company rolls out new technology or software programs, you can expect Millennials to be eager to try it out and hit the ground running. And while their addiction to social media is often criticized, Millennials’ social savviness can make them extremely valuable marketers for your business. Social media is a powerful marketing tool and with the right person overseeing your social accounts, you can increase brand awareness, engage with customers and improve customer service and brand loyalty.

They give back to their communities. This age group may not have the means to make large cash donations to nonprofits, but research shows they will donate their time to give back to their communities. According to the 2015 Millennial Impact Report conducted by Achieve, 70 percent of Millennial employees spent at least an hour volunteering in 2014, and 37 percent volunteered up to 10 hours. What is the main reason this generation volunteers their time? Passion. They are more likely to volunteer if they have a personal connection to the cause.

They want to grow professionally and personally. Millennials want to work in a culture that they feel cares about them and will help them grow both professionally and personally. In fact, according to a study by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and the YEC, 65 percent of Millennials said the opportunity for personal development was the most influential factor in their current job. The study also found 52 percent of respondents said opportunities for career progression made an employer attractive.

How to attract and keep Millennials at your company

Offer competitive pay. To attract Millennials to work for your company, you don’t have to totally change your workplace environment, but you may have to make some changes. Offer incentives such as higher starting wages or salary, or if you have employees who are still in school, offer a tuition assistance program to help student employees pay for college.

Provide professional and personal growth opportunities. Offer programs that will help team members gain skills for personal development, such as continuing education, leadership development programs and networking opportunities.

Millennials have a reputation for being impatient and wanting to quickly work their way up the corporate ladder. A great way to offer growth opportunities within the company is through a fast track management program that allows employees to be quickly promoted, earn certifications, etc. up to a certain high-level position.

There are many benefits to having Millennials on your staff. From their experience in digital and social media to their desire to give back to the community, this generation brings a unique skillset and new opportunities to the companies they work for. To attract these ambitious, innovative young workers, it takes innovative approaches by the employer.

Tom Wiederin is director of recruiting for Indianapolis-based Crew Carwash.

Story Continues Below