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Keys to retaining Millennials

April 20, 2018

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

Millennials are known for not spending too long at one company.  In fact, according to Gallup, 60% of Millennials are open to a new job opportunity right now.  By the time they reach age 32, most will have had four different jobs.  What can organizations do to encourage them to stay longer?

At a cost estimated at $15,000 to $25,000 to replace a Millennial, it’s important to have a retention strategy in place.  Below are key aspects that your Millennial retention strategy should address.

Hire Based on Your Culture
Hiring the right person, who not only has the skills you are looking for, but that fits into your unique culture is key.  If their personality and values clash with the work environment and culture, they likely won’t last more than six months to a year.  Some ways to ensure cultural fit include:

  • Outline your company culture in the job description.
  • Don’t focus only on hard skills; look at soft skills too.
  • Consider pre-employment testing.  Many tests can look for cultural/behavioral fit.  Be sure to use a test that has been verified.

Be Charitable
Social causes are extremely important to Millennials, and they are attracted to socially responsible organizations.  They seek to make a social impact both inside and outside of work.  Simple ways to include employees in an organization’s charitable causes include organizing an in-kind drive for a non-profit organization, providing paid volunteer time to employees, recycling at work, etc.

Be Thankful – And Show It
A NextGen study by PwC showed that Millennials, more than any other generation, want to feel appreciated at work.  Something as simple as a “thank-you” can make a big difference.  Be sure to let your Millennial employees know that their work contributions are appreciated and meaningful to the higher goals of the organization.  Show them how their work fits into the bigger picture.  Listening to their feedback also shows them that you appreciate and value their input.

Promote Teamwork
88% of Millennials would rather work in a collaborative culture than a competitive one.  They value teamwork and collaboration more than older generations.  Today’s technology makes it easy to collaborate among teams with programs such as Google Docs, Slack, Trello, Toggl, Asana, etc.  Encourage collaboration within your teams by offering team building events throughout the year.  Assemble teams to tackle large projects.

Utilize and Value Technology
According to a study done by Dell and Intel, 82% of Millennials said that they consider the workplace’s technology when deciding whether or not to accept a position.  The same study found that 45% of Millennials are likely to quit a job with sub-par technology.  Only 25% of baby boomers said the same thing.  Millennials have grown up with technology and are used to being able to communicate from anywhere 24/7.  They expect this.  They seek out employers that are using technology to create efficiencies in the workplace and value the ability to be able to work remotely.

Offer Mentoring
A survey by Intelligence Group revealed that 79% of Millennials prefer a boss that acts as a mentor or a coach.  Millennials tend to have aggressive career goals and want to grow quickly in their career.  They are more likely to stay longer at a company that is providing them the mentoring they need to grow.

Offer Flexibility and Work-Life Balance
84% of Millennials stated that work-life balance was their number one factor when considering a job, according to a survey by FlexJobs.  With technology making remote work possible, organizations will benefit from utilizing that technology and accommodating flexible schedules as needed.  A study from Harvard Business Review found that organizations that accommodate remote work have happier and more productive employees that are less likely to quit.

Focus on Personal Development
Research done by PwC shows that Millennials actually prefer personal learning and development over financial rewards.  As mentioned earlier, they tend to have aggressive career goals and want to feel appreciated.  Providing professional development opportunities encourages both of these.

With Millennials representing over 35% of the American workforce, they are now the largest generation in the U.S. workforce.  In order for organizations to remain competitive and attract and retain Millennial talent, they must create attraction and retention strategies that focus on this generation.

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