When you compare the crisis in US business leadership and the wave of millennials now anchored in the workplace, it is no coincidence that retention is an issue. And, there’s no denying it: millennials are now in the workplace in full force. Individuals born between 1980 and 1996, millennials have the reputation of regularly switching jobs. According to Gallop and other management polling companies, six out of 10 millennials are open to other job opportunities, and 21 percent have reported changing jobs in the past year, which is three times higher than non-millennials. Millennials are also less willing to stay in their current positions when leadership is poor, with only 50 percent reporting that they strongly agree that they plan to work at their company in a year. Constant job changes are more than just a nuisance for employers. They are extremely costly, costing the U.S. economy an estimated $30.5 billion annually. It comes from the cost to replace employees and usually comes at a cost of four times the base pay.
With so much on the line, what can leaders do to keep their millennial employees engaged and invested in their company? Some teambuilding tips and motivational leadership tactics include:
Know what millennials look for.
The first step to keeping millennials is to first hire them. When posting positions, it’s helpful to know what qualities millennials are searching for out of their organizations. The top five factors millennials look for are:
- Interest in the type of work,
- The quality of their direct manager’s leadership and communication styles:
- The quality of the management team’s leadership capabilities;
- Opportunities to develop and grow; and,
- Opportunities for advancement.
Sidelining millennials and fail to provide a clear career path and you have set the stage for changes. Millennials typically view their starting positions as stepping stones for something better. And, this is basic common sense for any individual who wants to succeed. They also look for opportunities that will advance their careers in the long term. Once they are in their position, great managers and a great management team focused on employee development will encourage millennials to stay and grow within their current organizations.
Invest in employee development.
Eighty-seven percent of millennials view development as an important aspect of their positions. Millennials report that they are looking for regular paychecks and full-time work, but they also want to be engaged in their positions. According to Gallup research, milliennials have the highest rates of under employment and unemployment in the U.S., and only 29 percent are engaged in their work, which is lower than the average, which currently hovers around 32 percent. The employees who do feel engaged with their companies and plan to stay do so because they know what their organization stands for and how they stand apart from competitors. These employees feel invested with their companies, and they care about their personal development within the organization.
Millennials require more feedback than previous generations. They want to know how they are doing and what they can do to improve. For the most part, many millennials have been raised with constant access to feedback from their parents, teachers and coaches, and they expect the same from their managers and leaders. According to Gallup research, only 19 percent of millennials report receiving regular feedback, and only 17 percent report that the feedback is meaningful. This underscores the significance of the leadership crisis in the United States, how leaders are promoted, trained and advanced. Millennials want to do well in their positions, and when managers understand this and provide feedback to their employees, employees do better in their positions and feel more valued. When they feel valued, they are more engaged in their positions and more likely to stay.
Their paycheck is important, but feeling a sense of purpose in their position is more important to millennials than just the money. Gallup research finds that 48 percent of millennials view their overall compensation as an extremely important factor, and 50 percent report a willingness to change jobs for a 20 percent or less increase in pay.
However, if these employees feel a sense of purpose with their positions, they are 26 percent less likely to switch jobs for the 20 percent or less pay raise. To keep millennials with their organizations, leaders need to understand what motivates them and give them opportunities to pursue their passions so they feel invested with the company.
Provide clear guidelines – and flexibility.
With the line between work life and personal life almost completely erased, many millennials are searching for organizations that allow more flexibility, including the opportunity to work from home or utilize flex time to attend family events during business hours. In order for this flexibility to work, though, leaders need to set clear guidelines and clear expectations for their team members. Employees need to earn the right to flexibility by meeting deadlines, reaching goals and exceeding expectations. Once they do, leaders should trust their team members and reward them with flexibility.
With so many millennials in the workplace, it’s no wonder that it’s a concern for employers that they have a reputation of constantly switching jobs. It’s estimated that constant job-hopping costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion each year, so employers should take this reputation seriously and implement good leadership skills, teambuilding tips and motivation tactics to improve engagement and reduce turnover rates. To keep millennials with their organizations, leaders should know what millennials are looking for, invest in employee development programs, give constant and regular feedback, provide purpose and provide clear guidelines, as well as some flexibility, for their workers. By focusing on these areas, leaders can encourage their team members to look for growth opportunities within their current organizations, rather than elsewhere.
We selected the following resources to add to the conversation:
- Millennial Job-Hoppers: What They Seek
- Managers: Millennials Want Feedback, but Won’t Ask for It
- Paycheck or Purpose: What Drives Millennials?
- Making the Most of Managing Millennials
Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton
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