By the year 2020, almost half of the workforce will consist of millennials. These individuals are talented, dynamic and have a very different outlook on work than the previous generation. They do not seek ‘jobs for life’ roles but instead seek opportunities which allow them to not only work flexibly, but also obtain multiple roles within different industries.
A report by Price Waterhouse Coopers shows that, during the economic downturn, many millennials said that they’d made compromises to get into work given the state of the job market. The risk for employers is that as economic conditions improve, the compromises that millennials originally had to make will no longer seem acceptable. As opportunities arise elsewhere, and many will move on as soon as they can, employers face challenges trying to persuade them to stay.
So what can you do to incentivise millennials to remain put?
Money is unlikely to be the main reason millennials stay as research suggests that to encourage them to stay with your organisation you need to consider the following:
Millennials are attracted by the opportunity for progression. They like being valued, noticed and having their achievements recognised. They also seek promotion to positions of management or leadership and thrive on being perceived as important. They will often go where they see opportunities for personal growth. Employers should look at providing millennials with regular encouragement and feedback on how they are performing. Highlight positive contributions or improvements on key competencies. Sometimes praise or a thank you is all that is needed.
For others, sometimes flexibility and time off for a work/life balance is attractive, and according to a study by Deloitte, the number one priority for millennials is a good work/life balance. Companies that offer flexible schedules have a better chance at procuring and keeping millennial talent. Could you allow home working and allow time off for training experience? Or offer time to do something positive in the community? Employers could look at rewarding millennials on results and productivity rather than based on the number of hours they work.
Millennials want to further their career, so promotion prospects are crucial. Some companies have several layers and have created new titles in between major roles. Small regular promotions may keep them interested and show that the company is keen to invest in them and their career.
Training and development
Encourage learning, as training opportunities are also high on the list. Millennials want the chance to develop and to experience as much training as possible. Where a business focuses more on developing more senior staff it may run the risk of losing future talent. Look at mentoring programmes alongside other learning and education. Allow them to choose a course they are interested in as it may help with morale and the desire to progress. Consider projects which fall outside their normal responsibilities to help them feel as though they are part of the team and an integral part of the business.
Establishing their place
Help them connect to the business. Explaining the company mission statement, its vision and how they fit into that will give them the opportunity to establish ways they can advance that vision and make a difference.
If a company takes some of these steps, they may boost productivity and help retain staff.
In light of the above, it is important to consider that although millennials appear to focus on non-financial benefits over financial ones, they only focus on job benefits once they are sure that their basic requirements on pay and working conditions have been satisfied. So although salary may not seem as high on the agenda, it does not mean that millennials don’t care about it.
Apple and Google are good examples of companies who have been successful in attracting talented millennials. Companies such as these are innovative employers who are not restrained by the confines of how things used to be done. Although such companies do not specifically target millennials, their vision and management style appeals to the younger workforce and because of that they are able to take their pick of the talent, cultivate and retain them.
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