Written by Diana Trasolini, Senior Director, People & Culture, PalAmerican Security
I am a proud Millennial and today marks my 8th anniversary with my current company. I don’t think I’m much different than the stereotypical Millennial, so why I haven’t jumped ship yet?
Here is a list of the top six things from my first-hand experience that my employer has done to engage and retain Millennial's like me:
Millennial's want to be heard and want to feel like they are making a difference. They value purpose over stability. Tie their work into larger goals rather than process-oriented positions and you’ll keep their attention longer because they are focusing on the big picture and end results, rather than the monotony of daily tasks. I can guarantee you, if a Millennial feels like they are working a standard ‘9-5 job,’ they will turnover quickly. Give your Millennial's purpose – if they don’t understand the meaning behind what they are doing, they will disengage.
Work-life Balance & Flexibility:
Millennial's will work just as hard as the previous generations, as long as you allow them to work at a pace that works for them. Millennial's value their days off and value their vacation time more than their predecessors; in fact, they value flexibility more than pay in most cases. Employers need to understand this and encourage work-life balance among Millennial's. This will create more hard working, productive, and HAPPIER employees.
By valuing continued education and growth, employers keep their Millennial employees engaged and focused. By supporting and sponsoring Millennial's through the completion of further education and training programs, not only will employees stay longer, but they will bring innovation to the workplace. Whether it is financial support, flexibility to allow for schoolwork, and/or the ability to use the workplace for educational case-studies, educational support is key to Millennial engagement.
Millennial's have big dreams and even bigger expectations. By communicating realistic steps and timelines on how to achieve their goals, Millennial's are more likely to stick around to see the goals through to fruition. Don’t just show them the big picture, show them how to get there.
Ditch the old nepotism and tenure-based pay systems. Millennial's expect to be fairly compensated for the work that they do. Link specific performance goals to pay and be transparent about how the performance management system works. In order to engage and motivate Millennial's, compensation needs to be individualized and based on specific objectives for the role. And don’t forget to spot check and give feedback between performance and compensation reviews!
Social and emotional intelligence is becoming more and more important in the workplace and is also more of a priority to younger workers. Give Millennial's time to socialize at work – have corporate culture building events, set up a mentorship program, create social committees – allow time for, and encourage, human interaction in the workplace.
Often times, employers get caught in the trap of sticking with what has worked in the past and blaming/stereotyping the new generations for not fitting in (i.e. Millennial's are lazy, entitled, jump jobs a lot). Millennial's are not the issue. Employers have just lagged in adjusting their culture/benefits/ programs to align with the needs/wants/motivators for Millennial’s. Instead of blaming Millennial's for their differences and upbringing, if employers want to engage and retain their next generation of employees, they need to listen to them and adjust to meet their needs.