With unemployment rates hitting an all-time low since 2000, it seems like the perfect time to be looking for a job.
That’s great news for an economy suffering from whiplash. However, it may not be as good of news for companies seeking to keep their young talent from quitting.
Millennials are already over half of the workforce population. As someone who has studied Millennial motivation for over 11 years, I can tell you there is an important shift coming in 2018.
Lower unemployment means more Millennials will be looking for better jobs. Companies who do not know how to effectively engage their Millennial talent will experience higher levels of turnover than they have in years.
Deloitte recently published a report stating an important but overlooked fact: paying Millennials more won’t make them stay.
In fact, the study found that 43% of Millennials plan on moving on within two years. The top reasons Millennials state they will quit include: their personal values don’t match their employers, they don’t think the company has adequate diversity or inclusion in leadership, and they want more flexibility at work.
I have seen this happen all too often with brands who work with us.
A highly qualified Millennial comes to work for them. The company invests an average of $60,000-$100,00 in training them, and after two years and without any warning, the Millennial leaves.
The employer is aghast — offended even, that this young person would use them and then leave.
However, when you ask the Millennial why they left, they will say one of two things: “I didn’t see how I could advance my career here” or, “The company had values that didn’t align with my own.”
I have conducted hundreds of workshops on the topic of Millennial retention across America. When I ask employers why they think Millennials quit, they believe Millennials get bored, want more money, or didn’t like their manager.
When we ask Millennials the same question, they respond by saying, they wanted a clearer career path, more training opportunities, or more flexibility to get their work done.
It’s no wonder there is an internal war between Millennial employees and those who hire them. Millennials are a generation seeking clarity and training in their career, and their employers think they’re just bored and greedy.
Here are the four strategies employers must embrace to attract and keep their Millennial talent — particularly in a season where jobs are everywhere.
1. Keep Communication Open
If your Millennial employees aren’t happy, they will tell you. But you have to ask them. This next generation is big on open communication and will tell you if they feel unengaged or underutilized. However, if they don’t think you care or don’t believe you can do anything to make them feel more engaged, they may keep it to themselves. Then the only time you find out they were unhappy is when they’re submitting their resignation.
2. Provide Clearer Career Pathways
Millennials will stick with a job that may not be great today if they know there is a clear future tomorrow. Most companies we work with have produced amazing and fulfilling careers for their employees of all ages. However, many in the younger generation have been raised where the next step was always in front of them. Whereas one generation grew up “figuring it out on their own”, the Millennial generation has been taught to the test and given a syllabus for nearly every part of their lives.
If companies do not provide clear career pathways that empower young employees with skills to design and utilize their own career, they will find another employer who does.
3. Be Honest About The Opportunities
Recruiting has changed. Unhappy employees used to have to go out of their way to make themselves available to other offers. Now with headhunters, LinkedIn, and online job applications, your employees can be sitting at the desk you paid for applying to work for somebody else!
Show your new and young employees what a fulfilling career can look like at your company. Connect them through a mentoring program to more established people at the company. Train them during their onboarding experience to ask questions, take risks and assume ownership of their career from their first day on the job.
However, you must be honest about the timeline and expectations necessary to achieve these goals. Millennials who feel that their expectations are violated are more likely to quickly switch jobs for a company who is more honest about their future at the company.
4. Show How You Align With Their Values
Millennials are a mission-minded generation. They work at companies, support causes and buy from brands who share their values. Unfortunately, most companies’ idea of philanthropy is giving to a single charity at the end of the year that most of their employees have no idea about.
Millennials will break ties with a company who they do not believe respects their employees, conducts business ethically or takes care of the planet. If your company does not regularly involve all employees in your mission of giving back, you can expect your youngest talent to move on.
Despite what many people think, Millennials are not professional job hoppers. They do not switch jobs every two years because they really enjoy updating their resume and LinkedIn profile. Millennials are willing to move because they aren’t being fulfilled at their current employer.
This generation can and will be engaged when those who employ them take an intentional, purpose driven approach to keeping them.
Gabrielle Bosché is a best-selling Millennial author of multiple books on her generation, TEDx Speaker and President of The Millennial Solution, the fastest growing Millennial strategy firm in America.
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