Yes, yet another article written about Millennials. But why is millennial retention still an issue and how is it relevant to your entire workforce?
Meet Mark. He’s a Millennial. He’s just joined the sales team at your company. He was one of the 38% of people that didn’t get to engage with your company on social media [Inc.]. But he went ahead and applied because, by 2018, Mark and his millennial friends will have the most spending power of any generation [Bazaar]. And he needs to use his uni degree for something.
So, Mark’s starting with a salary of £27,600. With training, admin, setting up work-based accounts, and allowing time for him to get to his peak performance, you’ve already assigned £53,241 to get him through the first year.
After all of the e-learning has been completed, you’re confident that he’s good to go. He’s been through the same training as everyone else — it’s e-learning and millennials like technology, right?
6 months later, your management are pushing Mark to hit his KPIs, and 12-months in, during his annual review, it’s noted that Mark is performing just below the threshold that the company has determined he needs to operate at
By 2020, Mark suggests changes that he feels could improve the way he and the rest of his colleagues work, but that’s not the way it’s done at your company. 35% of the global workforce is made up of Millennials and you’re still operating like it’s 2002.
In 2025, as predicted, 3 out of every 4 people in your team are Millennials [Time]. But Mark’s already left to join a different company and that’s no surprise given that the average tenure for millennials is around 2 years [Pay Scale / Millennial Branding]. This is good considering that a 44% of millennials will leave their role before their 2-year work anniversary. [Deloitte]
You would hope that this is a very extreme example. Sadly, I’ve seen similar traits in global companies and it comes as a shock to them when their young, talented workforce are leaving.
Here are 5 ways that you can avoid having to open up another req to replace the ‘Marks’ in your business.
1. Consider Regularly Revisiting your Existing Policies
89% of Millennials would prefer to choose when and where they work rather than being placed in a 9-to-5 position. [Odesk]
Are you in a position where some of your workers can work remotely? As long as there are clear objectives set, and mutual trust, it could be that you can get more out of your millennial workers by letting them look after their working hours. If you’re a smaller company, this could also help your expansion without having the larger overheads that come with additional office space.
2. Care About your Employees
Millennial employees value sincere relationships and connection. Work/life balance is extremely important, and if a millennial feels like their work is taking away from their personal interests and commitments, they are far more likely to look elsewhere. As leaders, be sure to develop real relationships with your millennial workers to not only understand them better (which in turn will give you specific motivational tools for each individual), but to also forge a greater relationship from the millennial’s perspective. This is essential for them to feel more connected to your company and you as a manager.
3. Development Plans and Their Training
Having a development plan is something that a millennial will love to work with you on. But this isn’t a one-size-fits-all model. If anything, you need to be thinking the opposite. Take the time to devise truly engaging learning curriculum — just because its e-learning or on an iPad, doesn’t mean that it is automatically engaging, most of the time, its the opposite — and utilise that in ways that will empower and inspire the individual. Create a mentorship/reverse mentorship culture, and encourage healthy, daily, real feedback and coaching over 360 feedback happening once or twice a year. Most importantly, listen to what they need and what their aims are, and work with them to make it happen.
Millennials are more globally connected than any previous generation. As a result, they will be more open to international career opportunities, and in some cases, will not wait patiently for those opportunities to be ‘earned’.
4. Recognition and Appreciation
Similar to the above point about daily coaching and mentoring interactions, acknowledge a millennial’s accomplishments in-the-moment instead of during an annual review. The yearly conversation about how well your millennial is doing and how one day they may join the C-suite is not going to work because millennials just aren’t driven that way. Countless conversations, opportunities, and career experiences working toward the goal of an executive-level position over the course of their time in your company is going to be far more appealing.
5. Values and Community
First of all, the millennial workforce look for the company values and their own to be very closely aligned. Before they are even offered a position, this will be something that they have thought about. How are you tackling the environment, what’s the general public’s opinion of your company on social media, what steps are you taking to address gender equality and increase BAME employment, does your leadership amplify and embody the words that the company says or are they empty words with no actions to back them up? All of this is important to a millennial, and it should be to you — after all, millennials are also your customers.
A millennial that is pushed to hit KPIs irrespective of the obstacles that they are faced with, the training they are given, the direct leadership they receive (or more than likely don’t receive), and the ideas that they have to improve, will be more likely to look elsewhere for a role where they feel truly connected to the results of their work. A focus on KPIs is important, but are you focussing on the the important KPIs?
But, there is much more to this part. Millennials want to know that the team they are working with, the managers that are leading them, and the company as a whole have strong and clear values that fit morally with them. Do you give your millennials a voice? If you do, do you actually listen? What are they saying and how can that impact the decisions you’re making?
Millennials aren’t going anywhere. They will be a prevalent workforce in the years to come and will be the dominant consumer in 2018.
In essence, the more that you understand the ways that millennials work, the more you’re likely to have an engaged team that will not only produce some truly amazing work and speak to your future customers, but also inspire your future teams… Generation Z.
“The people who work for you aren’t building a company for you, they are building it for themselves — they are the centre of their own universe. Just because you are the CEO, doesn’t mean they are coming to work every day to make you happy. They want to be happy and it’s your job to keep them that way.”– Ben Lerer, Thrillist
Read more about our Managing Millennials training course.