How to Retain Millennial TalentJuly 24, 2019
Last Updated on December 4, 2020
The Pew Research Center informs us that millennials (ages 22 to 37) make up the largest share of today’s workforce. Millennials offer a lot of value to a company because they tend to be highly educated, comfortable with technology, and willing to learn new things. However, the average millennial worker remains with a job for only three years or so. With that in mind, it’s important for your company culture to appeal to your millennial hires so they’ll decide to stick around for the long haul. The question for companies then is: How can we make our company attractive to millennial employees? And how can we keep them? Here are some insights into what millennials are looking for in the workplace.
Above All, Millennials Want Opportunity
Millennials regard jobs as opportunities to learn and grow, and they have a strong desire for career development. A Gallup survey found that an impressive 87% of millennials rated career growth and opportunities for professional development as the essential aspect of a job. This contrasts with 69% of non-millennials who say the same thing. So, if you want to retain millennials, you need to take their desire for career progression seriously. Here are some ways to accomplish this.
- Keep your employees updated on education and promotion opportunities. Institute a tier system based on knowledge with the ability to advance by getting new certifications.
- Provide weekly training sessions to build teamwork and advance knowledge on a topic. Incentivize your team for a job well-done by providing rewards such as a surprise gourmet lunch at the office.
- Notice and appreciate your staff when they’ve done an excellent job. Don’t wait until the six-month or yearly review to provide feedback. Create a process that allows for the consideration and implementation of your employees’ ideas and complaints, e.g., via monthly one-on-one meetings.
- Talk to your employees face to face. Millennials want to communicate about their work and possible career advancement in person. When they question management decisions, they are not being disrespectful but rather seeking information. Engage with them in a conversational style rather than shutting them down or issuing an order.
- Provide the necessary structure for a work project – meeting times, deadlines, etc. – but then let your millennials work things out without micromanaging. They want to be provided with work that they can “own” and run with.
- Make sure they know the “why” of what you want them to do. Millennials need to understand why their work matters in the larger scheme of things.
- Instead of losing your talented millennial employees to another company, allow them to switch roles within your company. It provides them with the opportunity to get new experiences and learn new skills. Plus, you’ll be building a pool of potential future managers who understand the inner workings of several aspects of your company.
Millennials Want a Company that Invests in its Employees
Depending on the job, this could mean providing the latest and greatest technological tools available in the industry. For others, it could mean offering a stipend or an allotted expense for travel to conferences or other events to further education. Often times this includes shares or stock options in the company. In other words, provide more than just a salary.
Millennials Like Perks
Although perks may not be the main reason why millennials might choose to work for a company, they do like perks. Young married millennials are much more likely to stay with your company if, for example, you provide flexible work schedules or an on-site child care facility. Other attractive perks might be:
- Free training or learning allowances
- Mid-career internships
- Flexible vacations
- An allotment of days for remote work
- Summer Fridays
- Free gym memberships
- Bring your dog to work
The Hiring Process
Millennials appreciate transparency during the hiring process and throughout their employment. A job candidate wants to see if they are a good fit for the position and what their future with the company is likely to be. Once a millennial is hired, transparency should continue through regular assessments or check-ins with their supervisor. Nothing should be shrouded in mystery or corporate-speak that obscures or confuses.
Retain Your Millennial Team Members Longer
Millennials tend to leave jobs when they feel they aren’t appreciated or that their employers are not willing to be flexible. The cost of having your millennial talent leave is high. Your company has poured time and resources into training and development, so retention is an issue for your bottom line. Millennials don’t just want a job; they want to be highly engaged in what they are doing. Smart companies should find ways to harness this sense of mission or risk losing their brightest millennial talent to more purpose-driven companies. For an excellent overview of how to treat your millennial employees, read the free Epic Guide To Managing Millennials In The Workplace by Rob Wormley.
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