Retaining Employees in the Millennial Age

Why Do Companies Need to Learn to Retain Millennial Employees?

Retiention: What Millennial Employees WantAt this point, the number of Millennial workers has surpassed the number of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. This younger generation has also become notable for their willingness to seek new opportunities if they don’t feel satisfied with the experience that their current employer offers. However, the productivity and profitability of many companies hinges upon keeping turnover as low as possible.

Retaining the Millennials has become a priority, and this means that companies need to learn what the younger folks want out of their jobs. Managers and human resource departments may need to dispel some myths about Millennial employees in order to keep turnover low.

Just What Do Millennials Want Out of Work?

Some stereotypes of younger workers don’t actually do a very good job or describing a generation who faced high college costs, a tight job market, and a number of other struggles that their older siblings and parents did not face to the same degree.  For instance, it’s wrong to assume that they only desire frivolous extras. In fact, a Harvard Business Review survey found that only a small percentage of Millennial employees prioritized a fun, creative, or informal environment at work.

What most younger workers reasonably said that they wanted included:

  • A chance to grow, learn, and advance
  • Good managers and an interesting job
  • Decent compensation

Businesses can’t promise that every employee will eventually end up in an executive suite; however, they can try to develop people to achieve their own personal best. In fact, another Harvard study found that only a minority of workers expressed an interest in a management promotion. Even fewer had their eye on the C-suite.

While companies should offer people a path to advance; that path might be along another track than the few selected to groom for management positions. Those employees could be very productive in their own career journey. At the same time, they will be most likely to stick around if they know that their company did a good job of selecting and training the managers that they will report to.

Retaining Millennial Employees May Not be Rocket Science

Of course, the exact makeup of employee populations may differ by company.It’s true that Millennials have a reputation as restless workers; however, they also have a good reputation for productivity and innovation. An investment in keeping them around is likely to pay off.

To learn more about retaining today’s employees and tomorrow’s managers, it’s probably best to ask them. Millennials also seem to enjoy offering feedback, so employee surveys and forums can serve employers and engage employees as well. Companies that know what groups of workers and individual workers want are most likely to keep people around. Yes, it’s impossible to cater to every wish, but good intentions matter.

Businesses shouldn’t assume that they can’t hold onto their younger employees but just need to work to find out what these young and ambitious workers want out of their jobs and their careers. If the research is correct, they just just want an engaging job, a chance to advance in their career, a decent boss, and a reasonable income. In that way, Millennials are not so different from members of other generations.


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