“A generation of job hoppers” is how Millennial branding expert Dan Schawbel described Generation Y workers in a recent Human Resource Executive article.
“While older generations are looking for salary and benefits, Millennials are looking for meaningful and flexible work,” Schawbel said in the article. “What they want from their jobs is different, and that’s why they leave in a couple years.”
And indeed, Millennials typically are switching jobs at a swifter rate than previous generations. A recent study found 60% of Millennials leaving their companies in less than three years, with the average cost to replace that employee between $15,000 and $25,000.
For managers and companies focused on retention, these figures can prove daunting. Yet steps can be taken to help boost your odds of keeping your best millennial workers longer.
Company Qualities that Attract Long-Term Millennial Workers
The 9-5 routine in the cubicle cut it for many workers for decades. Not so much for Millennials. Millennial Branding report found 45% of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay. Millennials believe that how a job gets done is much more important than where and when it gets done. Managers who encourage flexible hours and working arrangements can help keep Millennials engaged longer.
Millennials typically want steady feedback on how they are performing. Research has shown they prefer the feedback be specific, and don’t mind if it is negative as long as the critique is accompanied with suggestions on how to improve. Managers would be well-served to establish regular meetings, encourage collaboration and mentoring, and leverage impromptu opportunities to check in with Millennial workers.
Smart phones and social media are ingrained into everyday life for many Millennials. While Millennials view smart phones and social media as essential tools to navigate work-life balance, some companies continue to sharply limit or ban their use in the workplace. As a manager, consider the potential benefits these tools offer and become an advocate for more reasonable policies.
For many Millennials, working just to make money just doesn’t add up. Surveys have found Millennials to be increasingly socially conscious. When possible, managers should look for ways to connect work with a larger purpose as well as being supportive of employees’ involvement in community service and causes that are important to them.
This is a trait certainly shared by every generation – getting the opportunity to excel and advance. Many Millennials have concluded – often accurately – the most effective path to achieve that is through job hopping. Yet, developing clearly defined career paths within your organization – and providing coaching opportunities – can help keep Millennials engaged and committed to your company.