Here Come the Millennials…

Larry McAlister

interns

The Millennials are here, and more are coming. The generation born in the 1980s and 1990s is still in college in some cases, and entrenched in the workforce in others. Regardless of where they are on the age spectrum, companies everywhere need to figure out how to attract and retain Millennials. Because by 2020, they’ll be nearly half of the U.S. workforce.

Our expanding summer intern program is an important way Equinix is bringing Millennials on board. Last year, we launched the program with about 60 hires, mainly in the U.S. This year, we’re expanding to Asia-Pacific, where we’ll hire an additional 60 interns.

This program is helping us build the talent base we’ll need to continue our interconnection leadership. And it’s showing us just how important a vibrant intern program is for any company.

Intense Competition

We’re accelerating our internship program at a time of intense competition for viable new-to-career candidates. A strong internship program can give companies an edge because they gain visibility at key colleges and universities, making these institutions more fertile recruiting grounds.

And good programs not only train interns for different jobs at a company, they also make them familiar with that company’s unique culture. That can save businesses recruiting costs by giving them a pool of qualified candidates already familiar with their operations and values.

Mobile Millennials

But companies need more than a candidate pipeline, they need to figure out how to retain talented interns they end up hiring, because Millennials are famously mobile. The median job tenure for workers ages 25 to 34 was three years, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. A good internship program can lay the groundwork for convincing prospective workers that their company is worth a long-term commitment.

At Equinix, we try to do that by highlighting aspects of our company and culture that we know are valued by Millennials in particular: Namely, that their voices will be heard, their work matters, and they can be part of something bigger than themselves.

For instance, our interns get significant face time with our executives. We hope this shows them that our leadership is accessible and engaged, and that their input matters.

Interns also take on what we call “stretch projects” aimed at showing them the work at Equinix can be innovative, meaningful and have an impact. An example from last year’s program was the creation of a business intelligence dashboard for our marketing team.

We also immerse interns in our culture through social events that aim to make them feel like they’re part of a family, not just a name on an employee roster. They also have the opportunity to serve our local communities by participating in philanthropic activities offered by our Equinix Impact program.

Millennials Are Cool

While we believe interns will be inspired by our company goals, we know they’ll also help us achieve them.

Millennials grew up during the rise of social media and can help companies utilize and dominate social networks.

Millennials often bring a fresh perspective that can help us keep our competitive edge. Their continuous search for new opportunities provides a welcome energy, and many are predisposed to view the workplace as somewhere meaningful things can be accomplished. According to the 2015 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 73% believe businesses have a positive impact on wider society.

Plus, when interns come aboard, it’s fun to have some new faces around.

As summer approaches, we’re excited at Equinix to get a glimpse of some of tomorrow’s Equinix leaders. We like to tell college students curious about Equinix that “The Internet Lives Here.” We hope our interns become convinced their future can live here, too.

For more on what it’s like to be an intern at Equinix, watch the short video below.

Larry McAlister
Larry McAlister Vice President, Global Talent Management