5 Keys To Retaining Millennial Employees, The ‘Job-Hopper’ Generation
Millennials (born 1980-2000) can get a bad wrap for being unloyal.
In fact, half of Millennials are actively seeking a new job, or are ready to make a change. This characteristic has historically given off the perception that they aren’t committed to their work.
It’s quite the contrary.
First of all, their job hopping early into their careers is much attributed to the chaos of the recession. This generation graduated with diplomas in hand and a load of student debt, only to run off the cliff of the recession. The opportunities during this time in the job market turned their resume into graveyard of trials and errors— and they’re currently looking at new options for growth and stability as a way to bounce back from an otherwise chaotic time in their early career.
Moreover, Millennials don’t want to settle for something that doesn’t fulfill them, and part of that means making sure they’re continuously growing in their careers. Unfortunately, employers don’t always ensure that this is happening.
It can’t be forgotten that commitment is a two-way street. That’s why businesses need to evaluate where they’re misaligned with the needs of this generation… After all, when you consider the cost of a lost employee is at a minimum 16% of their annual salary (If you have someone making $100,000 that $16,000 per employee), it adds up quickly.
I’m not placing blame, I am however pointing out that things can be improved to help both companies retain employees and for Millennials find a place they can truly commit, grow and give back.
This boils down to understanding what attracts Millennials to a specific workplace,how to leverage their needs, and how to retain them. Here are five characteristics that Millennials look for in a job and how you can use them to keep this top talent committed.
1. Money isn’t a priority.
When it comes to finding a career they love, Millennials are willing to put money on the line. In fact, this generation has largely reported they would be willing to take a pay cut for a better job. And when it comes to getting hired, six in ten Millennials didn’t negotiate the financials at all. They would rather have a job that pays too little than no job at all.
This means if you want to hire or keep a Millennial, flashing a big dollar sign next to the job title isn’t going to be the main means of persuasion. Oddly, this would be more beneficial to do with Generation-Z, which I write about often. Millennials prefer a career that is more aligned with their core values, passion, and improvement of work-life balance.
2. Career growth is a constant necessity.
The number one value for Millennials in their careers is development. They seek to grow knowledge, experience, and expertise as quickly as possible. Part of this is because they’re genuinely motivated growers; another part of this is a result of trauma from being underpaid and underemployed during the recession. This generation feels like they need to “catch up” for their lost time. And the cost of that is on you, as an employer.
Challenging? Yes. But necessary to know.
If you are a small company, you’re likely have a much harder time retaining Millennials. There is less room to grow and move up in the company when numbers are low and roles are limited. This is why you focus must be around leveraging a great company culture, and atmosphere… Part of that means if you want to retain them, you must invest in them and teach them opportunities. Sponsor continued education or offer periodic training to keep them challenged and learning.
3. Timing is crucial for their careers.
Millennials are often pegged as being entitled. But then again, every generation got a bad rap at some point. Studies talked about how selfish Baby Boomers are, and how Generation-X are making a big mess… Needless to say, the media likes to roast just about every generation. We just tend to forget.
Overnight success is not something to strive for, but there is something to be said about being empowered to see what you want and go for it.
Millennials want to grow their careers quickly and don’t plan on putting in years and years of time to get what they want. This is, again, largely due to the recession being hurtful for their careers. The good news is that they’re willing to work hard in their job when they know it’s getting them somewhere, and they feel their employer is committed to growing them. The bad news is that means you need to stay on your toes as an employer.
Managers must choose to view this as an opportunity to start developing their Millennial hires from the first day they walk through the door. Upon hiring a new Millennial employee, set up a meeting to discuss their career trajectory, and lay out a path that is aggressive yet attainable, and hand them the tools to make their career flourish. Also be sure to ask what specifically motivates them, as knowing this is a key to your successful management.
If you’re a Gen-X’er or Baby Boomer, you probably think this is needy or narcissistic of your new Millennial hire… but the truth of the matter is they’ll work harder than a lot of other hires if you’re able to spell this out for them.
Do yourself a favor by doing them this favor.
It is up to the employee to decide if they are willing to put in the effort to grow as quickly as they envision.
4. Feedback is a reinforcement of their impact.
In order to stay on track with their desired development and timing, feedback is a burning need.
One way to do this is through scheduling recurring check-ins with employees. Gone are the days of annual performance reviews, and here are the days of frequent feedback. Set up a weekly or monthly meeting to review projects and make sure they are receiving the support and feedback they yearn for to keep growing.
Not only does this constant feedback helps them monitor their career growth, but also it creates a personal connection to the manager and team. Needless to say, Millennials don’t leave jobs— they leave managers. Thus, having close relationships with coworkers in the office will further help retain employees, especially when you consider that Millennials are the loneliest generation.
5. Purpose is a core value.
Millennials yearn to connect to a company’s missions and values. Companies are missing the mark with this right now, as only 29% of Millennials are engaged at work. This disengagement often is catalyzed when Millennial employees feel no connection to or ownership to the outcome of their work and actions.
Build a strong mission and embed your corporate values and culture into daily tasks. Ensure that employees see the vision, and communicate with them to explore how they can personally match their growth and skills to the mission of the company.
This is why Millennials are more likely to seek out employers with strong corporate social responsibility tied to them. Take advantage of this fact by offering volunteer time off for employees, creating an internal committee dedicated to giving back through the business and bringing environmental awareness and sustainability into the workplace.
Creating a company and culture that goes beyond financials and invests in teaching employees will make a positive impact, both in the retention the company experiences and the impact its employees make.
The grass is often going to appear greener on the other side for Millennials. As an employer, like it or not, your job is to never give them a reason to look at the other side.