Take millennial retention with a grain of salt and make a margarita
Thursday, August 11, 2016
As a millennial, I was recently asked why the retention rate with my generation is so low within companies. Is it because we're bored at our current positions? Are we not being paid enough?
As the largest segment in the U.S. workforce (and growing), the millennial population has been taught that staying in one organization isn't a good thing — moving around every 3-5 years shows you're expanding your expertise and prospects.
Turnover can be disruptive and costly, but companies shouldn't be scared about losing millennial employees. In fact, it can be a good thing, so take it with a grain of salt — and make a margarita!
As employees are leaving, others are coming in bringing fresh ideas, perspectives and enthusiasm. But with the right understanding of millennials and their career choices, you might be able to keep them for a little bit longer than the norm.
One reason behind the frequent job changes is that it's important to my generation to focus on our growth and career journey, especially if we're able to show we're the common factor in the successes we've brought to each place we have been.
"Many young people finished school during a recession and consequently hypercompetitive job market," Sarah Grant stated in Bloomberg. "Selling oneself as an asset to any company, rather than staying true to one, came to be seen as essential for career survival."
Research from Deloitte states two-thirds of millennials will leave their organizations by 2020. And a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed 3 million Americans quit their jobs in December of 2015, making it the highest number since 2006.
To hang onto your millennial employees longer, here are a few strategies that could help.
Know what millennials care about. What does this generation want within a workplace? Growing up in an environment of customization, millennials want to be catered to individually, instead of as a group. Knowing their personal needs are being addressed may help you in the long run.
"Over half of millennials are willing to take a 15 percent pay cut to work at a company that matches their ideals," research shows.
The world is changing, and companies need to adapt. Though most positions require a certain number of years of experience, millennials who are just starting out don't have it — but are still striving to be leaders right off the bat. Giving them ownership quickly will help them grow personally and professionally.
Find out what would make them happy. You'd be surprised to see many will say leadership courses and mentoring sessions. In fact, some will even say they'd like to have a 30-minute phone call to discuss what has been going on and to check in on things.
"If you can't advance them quickly, perhaps you can provide them with more flexible work schedules or a more relaxed work environment," Cheryl Conner writes for Forbes. "Being a good leader requires a true commitment on your part. You must be willing to put in the necessary time to take your employees to the levels they can't achieve by themselves."
Gratitude means everything to millennials. Having some bean bags for relaxation and a kitchen stocked with all the goodies is great, but millennials want to know their work is valued. Having an environment where this generation can help create a better place is key.
Expressing gratitude for their contributions will help you engage with them on a deeper level, creating that personal bond — which is likely to decrease turnover.
Have more flexibility. Allowing employees to work from home will make them happier and more productive. It's also been shown that many millennial employees would rather have PTO or comp-time instead of an increase in salary.
"Among millennials, just under 90 percent would prefer to work at a time of their choice as opposed to 9-5," Millennial CEO said. "This generation is highly motivated by flexibility. For most integrators, there are some positions that don't fit well with this line of thinking; however, for sales pros, programmers or financial managers, is it possible to offer a little more schedule flexibility as long as the work gets done?"
These younger employees are looking for different things from their jobs compared to baby boomers. The companies that understand what millennials truly want from their workforce will have the best opportunity to hire from this generation.
Instead of fighting the battle of trying to "retain" them, start engaging them to get the most out of them during their time with you.
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