A recent study by Bentley University has highlighted the fact that by 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be made up of millennials. Millennials are often stereotyped as having a ‘poor work ethic” being ‘entitled’ and even being ‘job hoppers’ raising questions on retaining talent. High-potential candidates who have a high market value, unique skills and endless career options will be retained successfully by organisations who employ talent management initiatives to mitigate losses and retain their biggest asset – in this discussion – millennial talent.
Why do organisations fail to retain Millennials?
Some organisations believe they need to impress Millennials by introducing popular and trending leadership development portals; They think they can connect with them through social media or apps that “speak the language of the millennials.” Some companies invested in pool tables, Gymnasiums, yoga rooms, Green rooms and so on, in the hope of representing a modern culture for millennials. While some of this is appreciated, the study by Bentley University highlights the following insights from millennials themselves through the Survey they conducted:
1. Flexible work hours
In the BU study, 77% of millennials said flexible work hours would allow them to be more productive. Interestingly 31% of them indicated that they feel concerned that their need for flexible work schedules tainted them as having a poor work ethic. The fact that Millenials are always online via screens means that even after work hours they are checking in on work emails to keep ahead. A surprising 89% admitted that they check their work emails regularly after work hours bringing into question the unfair labelling of having a poor work ethic. Organisations who allow for flexible work hours while simultaneously having clear expectations of output and agreed timelines and work goals will ensure business goals are met with satisfied employees.
2. Provide regular feedback
Millennials appreciate constructive feedback and constant guidance from their leaders. This generation of employees prefers face-to-face interaction with their managers. Organisations should arrange for frequent performance appraisals, job profile discussions and career advice. Consider using assessment tools to highlight an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. Results can be used as a foundation to create and agree to goals for the individual and foster the relationship with the organisation which will be perceived as supportive and allow the individual to feel validated and supported.
Other popular methods of encouraging Millennials include salary increments, monetary benefits, work hour flexibility, relevant training opportunities, workplace & location options, improved work space and infrastructure and perhaps some travel opportunities.
3. Leadership development through learning
Millennials expect to find job prospects they can learn from and improve themselves. They will be prepared to address their shortcomings or lack of skill only if they receive constant feedback along with significant opportunities to upgrade their skill set and to learn something new.
Offer coaching to Millennials to develop them as leaders and contributors to the organisation. As millennials are known to enjoy one on one interactions, a coach can act as a mentor to help develop individuals and in doing so retain talent that could seek opportunities outside the organisation.
4. Offer a variety of challenging assignments
Millennials derive a sense of purpose and gratification from new experiences, hoping to apply their skills and talents in more than just one way. This attitude makes them more seasoned and accomplished employees. Expose these employees to a wide variety of projects, as well as different teams, so they can continually learn new techniques and interact with new people. Create opportunities for them to team up on assignments with more experienced staff members, which will build amity and team spirit, with the different generations in every department.
Take advantage of their energy and enthusiasm by offering exciting and prestigious projects that match their aptitudes and leverage their fortes. Inspire fresh ideas by letting them bring new concepts and designs to the table and ensure they feel valued by the management for all their efforts.
While millennials like to work differently compared to previous generations, they represent a generation that has shifted culture, and, in time they will make up the majority of employees in organisations. Careful planning, talent development and change management will set organisations up for great success as millennials begin to lead organisations forward. LHH Gulf works with organisations to manage changes such as this, to develop leadership and talent. Contact us to find out how we can partner with you.