8 Ways to Keep Millennials Invested in Your Company for the Long-Term

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men-and-women-in-a-meetingBy 2025, millennials are positioned to make up 75 percent of the U.S. workforce, and 70 percent of millennials tend to leave their companies within two years, according to a report by Forbes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics underscores this finding: millennials seem to have an average employment with one company for just over two years, which is about half the time that other, older generations typically spend with a company. When an employee leaves a company, the company then has to pay for recruiting, interviewing, hiring and on-boarding – a process that can cost thousands of dollars.

Paul White, co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, says, “In many settings that are known for short-term employees, 18 months would be a win. In professional settings, where there is more training involved, it seems three years of solid employment is a realistic goal.”

John Sullivan, an HR expert, professor of management at San Francisco State University, and author of 1000 Ways to Recruit Top Talent, says that employers have become more accepting of brief periods of employment. As many as 32% of employers expect job-jumping. “It’s become part of life,” says Sullivan.

If you want to minimize the tendency of job hopping within your organization, here are eight ways to keep your millennial employees engaged and focused on the long-term. Don’t expect millennials to totally shift their thinking and stay with the company for 20 years, but you will save on hiring expenses and gain a more meaningful hire if you can squeeze a few more years out their career.

1. Tell your company’s story

Millennials appreciate the ‘why’ behind organizations, movements, and projects. If they can see the “5,000 foot view” for the company, they feel more tied to the company’s success.

2. Create plenty of promotional steps

Even if you don’t create more management or leadership roles at your company, simply creating title adjustment (like moving from an assistant to a coordinator to a specialist, for example) and carving out more opportunities to learn in a structured growth trajectory will go a long way for millennials.

3. Enable service and community networking

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, millennials place a high value on helping others and making time for service – more millennials prioritize helping those in needs than having a high-paying career (21 percent versus 15 percent).

4. Be vocal and supportive

Millennials, for the most part, grew up in homes where they were commonly affirmed and told that they could do anything they set their mind to. This is a cultural shift from previous generations and must be accounted for in the workplace. Speak up to let millennials know when they’ve done a great job (in the moment especially) and they will feel valued.

5. Consider the results-only work environment

Workplaces are changing and part of this involves a move away from the traditional 9-5 schedule. Millennials expect and appreciate a greater level of flexibility in their jobs and by creating metrics-driven expectations, you can ensure that their work is getting done – it just might be at varying times in the day. In the past, many people viewed work as a “place.” Millennials, however, view work as a “thing” that they can do from any place, any time.

6. Focus on transparency

Millennials have a tendency to distrust authority and leadership at higher levels. They want to feel that they are contributing on every level in a company. While this isn’t always possible, it is feasible to create an environment with enough transparency to make each employee feel “in the loop” on important decisions and the growth of the company overall.

7. Allow time for side projects

Google implements a 10 percent rule that many other companies have since adopted; the idea is to give employees 10 percent of their time to work on something that isn’t in their typical job description (as long as other responsibilities are handled). This spare time gives millennials the space they need to exercise their creativity. Odds are high that a millennial employee has ideas for side projects – affirm this need and create space and they are more likely to grow roots at the company and even come up with new ideas for the business.

8. Provide development and educational opportunities

One sure way to encourage millennials to invest in the long-term with a company is to offer educational resources and professional development opportunities. Millennials move quickly and by offering new ways for them to learn and grow professionally, you’ll keep them interested and invested for a longer period of time.

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Author: Claire Topalian

Claire Topalian is a writer, non-profit Communications professional, and advocate for diversity in business. She currently leads Communications and the Startup Women initiative at UP Global, an international non-profit that builds startup communities through educational programs and events. You can follow her on Twitter @clairetopalian.