SumTotal Blog

Millennials are Clocking In – Here’s How to Keep Them Around

June 24, 2014



The global workforce is about to experience a large scale changing of the guard. We have been forecasting the impact of Baby Boomers’ retirement for years, but it seems the younger generation has snuck up on us in a much bigger way than we anticipated.

If you pan through the news in Forbes, Bloomberg Business, HR Magazine and all publications in between, you’ll see Millennials littering the headlines. Reports claim that upwards of 90% of this generation will spend less than five years with one employer. Initial speculation might suggest that Millennials have short attention spans or are disloyal. Others color these “punk kids” as just being “whippersnappers.” Some employers say that these new workers just don’t have the skills that businesses need.

Regardless, Millennials are a force to be reckoned with, comprising 80 million people born between 1980 and 1995. By 2025 they will make up 75% of the workforce. It is time to take these folks seriously and invest in the future of business. 451846939 (1)

Nurture the Workforce
Historically, organizations have viewed employees as vehicles to drive growth. Millennials demand quid pro quo. They want to help grow their organization’s bottom line, but they also expect employers to help them grow their personal brand and skillset in the process.

Frequent feedback and mentorship programs provide great ways to create a foundation for younger workers, giving them a mutually beneficial connection with the organization. Ensuring that projects are staffed with employees from different generations also gives younger workers the opportunity to pick up experiential insights from the Boomers that otherwise might slip between the cracks.

Aligning employees’ activities to company goals remains critical for engagement and success. But employers can take it one step further with their younger staff members by learning about their career goals and providing learning and training opportunities to help them grow and achieve personal goals. This often means allowing for movement between departments. Millennials interests extend beyond climbing the corporate ladder to also moving sideways and developing a broader portfolio of skills.

Understand Millenial Motivation
Eighty-nine percent of employers think their employees leave for more money, but only 12% really do. No doubt, financial incentives influence the employer-employee relationship, and the younger workforce wants fair wages and stability. However, more than any other generation, Millenials seek opportunities that encourage work-life balance. Consider offering perks like flexible schedules, volunteer work days or customizable benefit packages to keep newer employees.

Location, Location, Location!
Telecommuting options have changed the face of recruiting, and Millennials are jumping at the opportunity to expand their job hunt outside a 25-mile radius. Some organizations have been hesitant to join the remote-work movement, but nearly half of the workforce will be working at home by 2022.

Cloud computing is making remote work a possibility for more organizations than ever, and Millennials are redefining the workplace through video conferencing, company social networks and coffee shop offices. Organizations would largely benefit from getting ahead of the bandwagon by creating telecommuting options and defining their policies on remote work.

All generations share the common goal of spending their days in a meaningful way and being fairly compensated in return. But just as expectations and relationships changed when Gen X-ers entered the workforce, organizations must adjust for this next generation if they want to stay competitive. Take care of your Millennials, and they’ll take care of you.

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