Millennials; how to make them stick around


Millennials are a hot topic. Mainly because they are the largest ever generation to hit the (US) workforce. Millennial patterns and behaviors have a huge impact on business bottom lines. In particular, the issue of millennial retention is getting CEO's hot under the collar. The cost of replacing a millennial employee ranges from $15,000 to $20,000. Plus, when employees leave, the trend can affect morale and decrease employee productivity. If turnover issues become publically known, it can become difficult for a business to attract new talent. So, what can organizations do to encourage millennial retention?

1.Focus on the millennial win/win

The win/win is an agreement where every party benefits. Workplace win/win solutions are a highly effective way of resolving retention issues. The win/win model for millennials won’t be as simple as (work/money), which suited previous generations but instead, may look something more like, (work/flexibility) or (work/travel). Win/win workplace agreements are so successful because they provide a multitude of benefits for organizations. For example, the win/win work environment encourages shared responsibility and collaboration amongst employees. This type of employee/ employer interaction has been shown to increase innovation and overall workplace productivity, by up to 50%. To find out more about striking a win/win in your organization, I have written extensively on them here.

2. Involve millennials in innovation

Following on from the above point, millennials want to feel included in the bigger picture of any organization. They want to feel that a business is growing and that their work can actively contribute to its development. 54 % of millennials want to start their own business (or already have), and a huge 78% of millennials state a company’s innovation as a crucial factor for deciding if they want to work there. Organizations, therefore, need to see this millennial mindset as an opportunity. By assigning these highly motivated, high potential millennials, innovation-focused tasks such as researching new business opportunities or leading innovative projects, the company can find new innovative opportunities and resolve millennial retention.

3. Promote self-development

Promoting self-development, as a means for millennials to grow their skill set, is another way to ensure retention. An example of this would be Companies like Coca-Cola — which created its Coke Young Professionals or CYP (pronounced “sip”, get it?) to promote young professionals’ professional development. This provides a sense of community something that millennials find particularly motivating.

4. Add meaning to everything they do

Millennials want to engage in meaningful work. This one fact influences every decision in their careers, from recruitment to retention. Start from the beginning and think about how your job descriptions are phrased, for roles where you are hiring millennials. Do they define bigger goals? Does the role tie into the bigger picture for the organization? Would it be attractive to a millennial audience?

A great initiative is to group millennial employees into teams focused on the same goals. This allows them to feel immersed in the bigger picture. Their purpose, in the company, will be continually highlighted and they get a sense of community, which they find particularly motivating in a workplace.

Finally, assigning mentors to millennial employees is a great way to ensure their needs are met. Mentors can seek to address any issues before they become a retention issue and further millennials will get the career development they desire.

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