Does your company have a millennial retention strategy? According to recent insights uncovered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the rapidly growing millennial workforce is changing ideas of loyalty and employee retention in the workforce. Millennials are often leaving positions in less than two years while previous generations are more likely to stay far longer with their companies. The data leads to an important question: what's changing in the workplace and how should companies respond? Companies that approach employee retention in the same way that they did even five years ago may lose their most valuable young talent. Here's a closer look at what millennials want with respect to the workplace and how companies can translate those values into effective employee retention programs.
Recognizing generational differences
There's a lot of discussion about generational differences in the workplace. For example, experienced baby boomers approaching retirement may have different benefit and lifestyle priorities than a new millennial. While compensation and the quality of the work experience remain important across segments, failing to understand that different generations may have different expectations and preferences can lead to challenges at all levels of the organization.
The importance of flexibility
The continued rise of trends like telecommuting, flexible scheduling, freelancing, and job sharing has shaped millennials' expectations of the workplace. As they advance in their careers, they're more likely to be concerned about work-life balance, whether it's in response to family demands, health, or outside interests. Companies that provide some level of flexibility are often able to hire more millennial talent by taking steps such as experimenting with unlimited vacation time and implementing structured telecommuting policies. While there are a wide variety of benefits around the idea of work-life balance, it’s important to be realistic about what works for your company, workflows, and culture. However, in general, the more you're able to provide your workers with flexible benefits, the easier it may be to retain millennial employees.
Benefits and compensation matter
With the focus on flexibility, it's easy to lose sight of traditional compensation and benefits. These areas still give employers an edge in recruiting and retention. One study discussed by SHRM found that 62 percent of millennials would leave their jobs for better family benefits. The same study found that 41 percent indicated that a lack of family-friendly support had negatively impacted their work experience. As a result, it's useful for companies to evaluate the competitive landscape. Are compensation and benefits on par with industry best practices or averages? Millennials are said to more often evaluate total compensation and benefits, vis-à-vis their personal situations and needs.
The importance of collaboration and learning
As studies have shown that collaboration and feedback are critical to keeping millennials satisfied at work, businesses are faced with how to make that communication a reality. For many, an important step has been to invest in collaboration technologies that enable colleagues down the hall and around the globe to work together. Finding ongoing ways to support learning and collaboration, from formal mentorship programs to investing in training, may also help increase retention.
Today's younger workers have a strong desire to contribute, but also want work-life balance, flexibility, and collaborative environments. By recognizing what energizes millennials at work, it may be easier to create more effective employee retention programs.