Five Ways to Attract, Retain, and Manage Millennial Employees
The majority of workers today are millennials. By 2025, they will occupy 75% of the labor force. Known for job-hopping, it’s predicted they will change jobs 20 times in their career. The average cost of turnover to an employer is US$15,000 per lost employee. There are also indirect costs, such as time spent hiring and training new employees.
Finding ways of retaining young workers is crucial to staffing your business, as well as maintaining the bottom line. To keep young talent loyal, consider the following tips.
Millennials prioritize work-life balance more than any other generation. They aren’t as willing to work long hours in exchange for a future reward — they want to enjoy life now. Some strategies for creating a more balanced and appealing workplace are:
- Flexi-time: If it is too disruptive to have employees write their own schedules, offer flexible break times. For example, some employees would prefer to leave work early versus taking a lunch break.
- Remote work: Laptops and gadgets make it possible to work from anywhere. Rethink making them sit in an office from 9 AM to 5 PM. Time tracking software, such as WebWork, keeps employees accountable for the hours spent away from their desks.
- Vacation allowance: This is beneficial to both boss and employee. Research shows that people who take vacations are more efficient at work.
- Provide social activities: Establish a social committee to celebrate holidays, company milestones, and personal achievements.
- Perks at work: Offer lifestyle perks such as onsite childcare, maternity/paternity leave or a pet-friendly workplace.
- Take a personalized approach: Ask employees directly what they need to balance life and work.
Millennials are looking for a sense of purpose in their careers. Seventy-five percent report that “making a difference” is essential to their job satisfaction. Nearly half would trade a pay raise for more meaningful work. Creating a meaning-rich work environment not only helps retain employees — it also keeps them more engaged and productive on the job. Some strategies for making time at the office feel worthwhile are:
- Create a powerful mission for your company: Some tasks are necessary but boring. Knowing they’re in service to a greater good can lessen the tedium. Virtually any business can benefit from a compelling narrative. For example, IKEA, a DIY furniture company, states its mission is to “make everyday life better for everyone.”
- Teamwork: Millennials are a social generation, and the majority prefer to work together in teams. Collaboration is seen as more fun and fulfilling versus working in isolation. When a team succeeds together on a project, they feel more connected to each other AND the company.
- Employee recognition and rewards: A Globoforce survey found that 93% of employees who had received recognition within the last six months found their work to be meaningful. Consider featuring them on the company’s social media platform or during team meetings. Assigning more responsibility at work can also provide validation. For example, making them the lead on an important project or giving them a major account.
- Employee volunteering programs: It feels good to give back. It also allows workers to showcase abilities and talents that may go unnoticed at the office. Volunteering can relieve the monotony of the workday, plus it’s also a great team-building initiative.
Attract Millennials with New Technology
Millennials rely upon technology in nearly every aspect of their lives. The workplace is no different and they expect it to be integrated into their job. According to 93% of young jobseekers, a modernized office is a key factor when choosing their employer.
- Update your technology: Traditional, low-tech offices will have trouble attracting and retaining employees. Transitioning to modern systems such as cloud storage, collaboration software, and select apps will appeal to workers and keep them connected and efficient. Adding an engaging website and social media presence will also help attract young job candidates (and clients).
- BYOD (bring your own device) policies: Young workers expect to use their own devices for work, as a matter of convenience. For small businesses and startups, BYOD policies can modernize the office at little cost. Enterprise content systems (ECS) can ensure the employers’ security and privacy are protected. They offer a variety of features such as automatic logout, disabled document sharing, and other access controls.
Provide Opportunities for Growth
For millennials, a job is more than a paycheck — it is an opportunity to learn and grow. According to Gallup, 87% consider professional development a top priority. However, only 39% of young workers feel they learned something new at work in the last month. Addressing their desire for knowledge and new skills will set your company apart.
- Provide tuition reimbursement: Educated employees are valuable employees. You can determine which course(s) of study you’re willing to fund and address skill shortages in your workforce.
- Mentorship programs: Not every company has the budget for tuition, and that’s okay. Your older workers are a natural (and free) resource of knowledge and experience. According to a Gallup survey, the majority of Gen Xers and Boomers would like to mentor younger workers. In return, millennials can offer technology training to their elders.
- Business trips: Travel is a top priority for millennials. Business trips offer the opportunity for both individual and professional growth. The hotel and airline points they earn can facilitate personal trips as well.
- Nurture talent: Employees can also derive meaning from developing their strengths and abilities. There are a variety of assessment tools, such as the VIA Survey of Character Strengths or the Buckingham Strengthsfinder. If you discover an underused skill, assign a task that will sharpen that ability.
Millennials prefer strong, personal relationships with their boss along with continuous feedback. Poor communication and lack of support from managers is one of the main reasons they resign. Millennials also expect a democratic work environment versus a traditional hierarchy.
- Offer real-time progress reports: Don’t wait for the annual review to give them feedback.
- Have an open-door policy: Millennials value fast access to information. An open door encourages an ongoing exchange of feedback and ideas between management and staff. It also provides them with the close relationships and professional guidance they crave.
- Go beyond email: Collaboration software allows you to stay informed of employees’ output without leaving your desk.
- Pitch in: Work an occasional shift, or participate in a group project. It will provide insight into their day and the challenges that workers face. It’s also a good way to monitor morale and productivity.
Millennials Work Differently
The workplace must change to accommodate the new generation of workers. However, only 30% of businesses are prepared. Offering meaningful work that fits around their life, engaged managers, opportunities to grow, and the latest technology will give your company the competitive edge.
RELATED: An Employer’s Guide to Managing Millennials, Generation X, and the Baby Boomers