Millennials: like it or not, they now make up the largest part of the workforce. But why should anyone not like Millennials? Get the benefit of our experience as a PEO on retaining your millennial talent.
What’s with the “millennials are difficult” opinion? Well, traditional organizations are struggling to retain their millennial talent. Are millennials flighty job-hoppers, or are companies to blame for not recognizing the needs of this generation? And if so, what do they want out of a job? Higher salaries? Instant advancement?
It turns out that most millennials don’t have overly unrealistic expectations. Leading analysts have pinned down what they really want – and what many companies just aren’t giving them.
Millennials Wants Meaning
This may be the biggest difference between the millennial workforce and its predecessor. Back in the day, most people were just thankful to get a job. It didn’t matter whether that job made the world a better place in any way, although it was a bonus if it did. You waited for your paycheck, and that was it.
Millennials, on the other hand, want to know that the companies they work for have a worthwhile mission that gives them a sense of purpose, and if they can’t share your vision (or you haven’t told them what it is) they might just head off into the sunset.
What millennials want #1: They want to share your vision. If they can’t buy into it, you’ve just lost an employee.
Millennials Want to Be Interested in Their Work
That doesn’t necessarily mean the job itself has to be all that challenging. A couple of decades ago, young employees kept their heads down and their mouths shut. Today, they want input and interaction. They want to know that their employers have at least considered their suggestions and ideas, and they’re thrilled when their input results in a constructive change.
Your employees want a forum where their ideas can be heard, and they want feedback regarding your thoughts on these suggestions. Sure, not all their suggestions will be worth implementing, but if they aren’t, they want to know why. Listening to your millennial employees can be an enormous advantage for your business. Remember, they’re representative of both your employee base and your most powerful market.
What millennials want #2: They want to be heard, and they want feedback that shows you respect their input whether you implement their ideas or not.
PEO on Retaining Millennial Talent: Career Prospects Do Matter
Contrary to popular belief, millennials don’t expect instant advancement. What they do want, though, is career prospects. That brings a whole new task-area into your HR department or your PEOs advice services. To retain millennials, you have to provide them with a few pieces of highly individualized information. Here’s what they want to know:
- How am I doing, and how do you measure that?
- What’s in it for me if I excel?
- What do I have to do to move to the next level?
This is performance management with a new twist: career planning becomes part of your regular performance appraisal feedback. For small businesses, this can be a problem. After all, they’re relatively flat organizations with few tiers through which an aspiring Millennial can move.
However, there are ways to get around that, particularly when you factor in opportunities for personal growth. Training plans, for example, can motivate your millennials, and their newfound knowledge could benefit your business significantly.
What millennials want #3: Millennials want career growth. Dead-end them, and the search for greener pastures is on!
Learning and Growing are Even More Important Than Advancement
A Gallup study found that Millennials rated personal growth as the most important thing a job can offer. They even ranked it as being more important than overall compensation. And in case you were wondering, opportunities for creativity and a “fun place to work,” though they featured, didn’t get nearly as many votes.
Again, your training plan falls in with your efforts to keep your staff engaged and motivated. Recognizing and developing existing skills also features. Less than half of baby boomers thought this factor was important, but well over half of millennials see personal growth as the most important thing a job can offer.
The only problem with this is that your ideas about what constitutes personal growth may differ from your employees’ and each one will have his or own personal growth targets. Getting to know your employees as individuals has never been more important!
What millennials want #4: Opportunities for personal growth build loyalty.
Great Managers and Management Earn Respect
The days when you got respect just for being the boss are gone. You must earn that respect. And no, they aren’t expecting you to bow to their every whim. On the contrary, what millennials want to see is strong, fair and transparent leadership. They want you to make them proud!
That means using and growing your management skills and leadership skills. It also means you have to be very careful about the managers and supervisors you recruit or appoint. Again, your PEO has your back. We’re here to help.
What millennials want #5: Millennials want you to be a great manager they can respect.
So, How Big is the Challenge You Face? How Do You Retain Millennial Talent?
The challenge of retaining millennial talent isn’t as insurmountable as some seem to believe. It’s a personnel management issue that’s also discussed under the term “employee engagement,” and since studies show that businesses with engaged employees literally see the benefits in productivity and an enhanced bottom line, it’s well worth tackling. Business thought leaders are saying that engagement is one of the biggest challenges modern businesses face.