How to retain Millennials in the workplace

November 03, 2017

Do you know what is common between Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Airbnb and Instagram? Besides being famous and catering to millennials as their global target audience, all of these companies were founded by millennials.

A different generation harboring varied views born between 1980 to 2001, millennials nurture the thought of their career as one of their choice, not one chosen out of desperation. It will align who they are with what they do.

Millennials are considered more talented, tech-savvy, and flexible in the workplace, risk takers and their desire to do meaningful work. Employers presently understand the benefit of effective engagement of millennials in the workplace.

It is seen millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers who are on the verge of retiring. Millennials now constitute half of the workforce around the globe and will be occupying 75% of the workforce within the next ten years.

One of Millennials characteristics is their close association with the digital world. As a result they are more technologically aware and are better updated than their senior workers.

In 2015 a survey was done on Chief Human Resources officers of 100 large companies by HR Policy Foundation which resulted in employers considering their millennial workers a great asset to their organizations. The result of the survey also shows more than two-third of employer’s report 67% of millennials as being above average and exceptional.

Employers reported that millennials are making great contributions to the workplace including technological skills; questioning the status quo; market knowledge; entrepreneurial spirit; and a drive to make a difference. As a result, 85% of companies have changed policies to appeal to millennials.

Employers aren't completely experienced in managing millennials in the workplace. It is often seen that millennials are more likely to frequently change employers according to their need as they are soaking in the experiences one moment at a time. Employers have also mentioned they have unrealistic expectations about career progression and lack work ethic, communication skills and self-direction.

However, employers can work on employee retention strategies as given below:

Give purpose to work

Millennials are not looking for just any other job which can fulfill their basic needs of food and shelter. They love a job which provides them instant gratification and gives them a sense of feeling worthwhile. A purpose-driven company will be able to attract motivated individuals who seek clarity in their job (like millennials).

64% of this demographic say that “making the world a better place” is their mission. When any employee has a goal and have clarity of their company’s mission, they tend to work with more enthusiasm and feel a sense of accountability to their work.

Look for a learner, not just their experience

Fresher’s are hardly given preference while on a job interview as they considered unqualified candidates by the recruiter. This attitude must be revised and employer must consider the eagerness and skill of the candidate as a hiring criterion too.

A chance is all what millennials need to prove they benefit the company despite lack in experience. However, candidates who show no eagerness to work on their skill must be avoided.

Most Millennials enjoy the concept of learning through experience, teaching themselves how to to everything, mastering skills and do not fear taking risks.

Interactive and approachable environment

Most of the time, there is a strict hierarchal structure within the company where there is limited communication with the senior boss. The entire communication will be limited to emails and this way it restricts the growth of the employee. Senior leads must be approachable to employees especially millennials which harbor self-doubt and lack of proper response may make them doubt their work is not valued.

They want to gain experience not only through their project but through lateral communication as well.

Provide areas for growth opportunity

Though competitive wages are appealing to millennials or any other employee, money is not the only factor which drives them to do better.

Millennials are always on the lookout for opportunity to grow on the job, one which adds more to their experience and brings satisfaction at the end of the project. Not just professional growth but growth in personal insight as well

Be a mentor, not a master

The New York Times once said: “No one truly understands millennials. Not even millennials.” Millennials tend to do better at work if they have an effective and approachable mentor who is mostly a senior or a team leader.

They are looking for a coach who will guide and supervise them through phases in their career. Employers struggle to find a skilled graduate as most colleges do not offer practical training during their course. Millennials too lack proper training and skill and it is the duty of the company to provide training programs.

Feedback is crucial

Millennials find the concept of feedback very important in their career. This is a way to introspect themselves as well as understand the direction of their career.

Employers can help millennials find a balance between their work and personal life. Companies in India are adopting the concept of monthly feast, where birthdays of employees are celebrated collectively each month. Companies also encourage social gathering events like halloween etc.

Deborah Henretta, Group President, Asia & Global Specialty Channel, Procter & Gamble is hopeful towards changes in the policy directed towards millennials in the workplace. She mentions “The workplace and workforce are going to change pretty dramatically as we look forward. The entire concept of work is going to become more flexible. The skills needed in the work force are going to be less about IQ and a little bit more about EQ, because if you think about it, a lot of IQ knowledge is going to be available at our fingertips through hand-held devices and the computer and technologies that we have at our disposal.”

Above all, the most important thing you can do to attract people to connect with your company and factor behind managing millennials is to be real. If you’re looking for millennials, know that your core values have to align with theirs.