February 8, 2016
2015 was the year Millennials surpassed both Baby Boomer and Gen Xers to become the largest generation in the workforce, according to research from the U.S. Census Data compiled by the Pew Research Center. Adults aged 18 to 34 make one in three of all American employees, and that number will continue to rise as more Millennials graduate college.
There’s no doubt these young adults are changing the way we do business, and while analysts and talent management experts may debate whether that’s a good thing or a bad, it’s inevitable. Millennials are also increasingly moving into leadership positions once filled by older employees, particularly as large percentages of the American workforce head into retirement. Employers are looking to re-evaluate their talent management strategies in ways that will allow them to compete with the rising opportunities of the gig economy, which provides freedom and flexibility for Millennials, as well as the shiny allure of working for a startup where the culture is all about creativity, a sense of informality and a focus on innovation. Employers need to find ways to fill skilled positions, particularly when it comes to technology to remain competitive, yet they’re finding this is one of their biggest challenges in today’s marketplace.
Along with an overall skills shortage, employers are seeing high turnover rates among Millennials as a massive problem they haven’t completely been able to overcome. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median tenure of workers aged 25 to 35 is only three years. That is less than one-third of the median tenure for people aged 55 to 64. Millennials frequently feel another better opportunity is waiting for them, so they are often engaged in a continual job search, and many young adults don’t find themselves in a committed career until they’re around 27.
One of the best ways to ensure your organization remains competitive and thrives presently and well into the future is to cultivate a strong, satisfied workforce. Millennials are the workforce of today, and they’re going to be the company leaders of tomorrow, so it’s imperative not just to identify the best young talent but to ensure they stay with you and develop their careers within your company over the long-term. It’s up to business leaders to create and put in place the strategies that will reduce not just the costs associated with high turnover rates, but that will create a desirable culture and an excellent employer brand.
The questions for today’s business, both large and small, is how to creatively retain Millennial talent, particularly in the face of expanding opportunities available to this key demographic?
Cultivate a Positive Culture
An enormous majority of Millennials report they’d rather work somewhere they’re happy, as opposed to working somewhere they can receive a higher paycheck but are unhappy. It’s no longer optional for companies to work on cultivating a strong, positive culture—it’s an absolute necessity for a viable, long-term talent management strategy.
Offer Mentorship Opportunities
Mentorships can be valuable for any age group, but in particular Millennials as they embark on their careers. Consider pairing younger employees with seasoned veterans and it will help Millennials learn about their job and the corporate culture of their employer, and will also help them be more engaged. Plus, it’s likely to help long-term retention, since Millennials will feel like their employer is willing to take part in their success.
Implement Flexible Work Schedules and Opportunities
Employees from all generations are increasingly favoring flexible work environments and, in particular, the chance to work remotely for either a portion of the week or full-time. There is an abundance of technology and software that simplifies remote work situations, and offering these options to talented Millennial employees will give them the flexibility they’re seeking, and also keep them more engaged and productive.
Ask for and Implement Employee Feedback
So many employers forget a simple concept when it comes to Millennial retention: ask them what they want. Millennials continuously report salary is not their number one concern, but take the time to find out what it is they’re seeking in an employer, and what will drive them to stay with your organization.
Create Leadership Development Programs
Millennials want to feel as if there are options for development and upward movement in their workplace. This isn’t a sentiment exclusive to this generation—of course, most employees feel the same way. One way employers can stand out and keep top Millennial talent longer is to show them there are pathways to move up. Develop online leadership development programs personalized to the needs of employees, that represent new and exciting future opportunities.
Define a Purpose
This age group feels a strong desire to have a purpose or to be part of something greater than themselves. They commonly shun traditional ideas of corporations and perceptions of profit-motivated greed, so they’re looking for employment in organizations reflecting these values. Create purpose-driven goals and mission statements that frame employees as part of something greater. You can even go a step further by creating service days and volunteer opportunities for employees. This has the advantage of not only keeping Millennials happy to stay with a company, but it’s also a great team builder.
The traditional work environment of years past was one where meetings happened behind closed doors, whispers were everywhere, and employees often lived in fear they could be fired at any moment. Today’s modern work environment is one that embraces honesty and transparency, and this is driven by Millennial’s desire for such a workplace setting.
Show Recognition and Appreciation
This is not a difficult concept to follow, and it doesn’t have to cost anything. Millennials, like most all employees, enjoy being recognized for their hard work and accomplishments. Make recognition a key part of your talent strategy and you’re likely also to see a reduction in turnover. Formalize recognition programs with the use of software programs that collect performance data and simplify the process of making sure everyone hears how their coworkers are succeeding on a daily basis.
Did you like this article?
Get more delivered to your inbox just like it!