Author of "Your Journey from Fired to Hired"
Career Advice

8 Ways to Keep a Millennial on YOUR Team!

How many jobs will you have before you retire?  It's common knowledge that millennials will have twice as many as their boomer counterparts.  Oh but wait, based on a recent study published by the White House in the fall of 2014, that’s completely false.

According to this study, the reputation millennials have for little loyalty and career churn, is falsely placed.  The findings share, “millennials are less likely to have been with their employer for less than a year than Generation X workers were at the same age, and they are more likely to have been with their employer for a fairly long period like 3 to 6 years.”

I must admit, upon finding this information I was a bit taken aback.  You see, like most professionals, I was under the assumption that millennials change jobs too frequently. But given that by 2025 (hello that’s only 10 years), millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce, even if they aren’t the job hopper we all thought they were, it’s still important to understand what you can do to keep them on your team!

Below are just a few of the reasons millennials list for dusting off that CSV (or resume if you’re a boomer and reading this!)

1.  Where’s the Coach?  This group grew up with parents that would go to any lengths to help them achieve success.  Private schools, tutors, travel sports team and private coaches were frequent during their youth.  Consequently, they’ve been raised with the concept that they should continually stretch themselves and also that others should help them do just that.  If you don’t actively engage in proactive coaching, it will likely be tough to retain a millennial for long.

2.  Shrinking Benefits.  Shrinking benefit packages make career changes an easier decision for millennials.  As businesses work to reduce overhead, one of the obvious cost saving measures involves benefit reduction.  And probably the biggest recent change involves retirement plans.  As defined benefit retirement plans become increasingly obsolete, so too does the tie to remain with one employer “for life.”  Sure your company may offer a 401K with a match, but that’s easily transferable between employers.  Consequently, including some unique (and obviously attractive) fringe benefits in your package can certainly help keep a millennial (or boomer!) on your team.

3.  Exploration.  Whether they are traveling abroad or checking out new foods and cultures at home, this group loves to explore. Consequently, their career path may be littered with horizontal moves that provide new experiences and opportunities for growth.  In fact, Emily He, CMO of talent management solution Saba shares, “"For millennials, it is more a matter of career exploration than climbing the traditional ladder." These horizontal moves allow millennials to build their experiences (and resumes) on multiple levels.  But they also allow them the much desired opportunity to explore.  So if you have a millennial you want to retain but don’t have a promotional opportunity for them just yet, don’t despair.  They will typically embrace the chance to explore in any direction..including sideways!

4.  Looking for more.  Personal fulfillment is critically important to this group.  They simply don’t go to work solely for financial reasons. Consequently, they will often pass up higher paying positions to work for companies that support causes that interest them.  If you are a “for profit” business, never fear, you still have options.   It’s quite possible you may be able to keep your millennial workers engaged by becoming actively engaged in the community or perhaps through taking an active role in philanthropic efforts.  Younger employees often jump at the chance to help plan events and fund-raising activities.  Sure, you will give up a little of their focus to core “work” efforts, but you may just gain a more engaged employee and some positive PR to boot!

5.  Make a Difference.   Gone are the days of following the orders that were given without engaging the brain.  Rather, the millennial generation wants to be able to see and understand how their contributions matter in the overall picture.  Tom Turner, co-founder and president of DSi, explains, “millennial employees want to feel like they are part of something bigger than just their job.  They want an understanding of how their position plays into the company’s success.”  So while mission and vision statements may have been mere words to boomers, millennials want to see how their efforts move everyone closer to achieving the company goals and vision.  If you really want to retain this group, sharing why their efforts are important is a no-cost but admitted transitional change that can pay big dividends!

6.  Get Bored.  Let’s face it, this generation refined the act of multi-tasking.  They can simultaneously communicate in 3-4 ways through texting, snap chat; email and god forbid face to face!  They have definitely made us all trend a bit more towards the concept of “instant gratification.”  But that speed comes at a price.  "Millennials get bored often," said Dan Schawbel, founder of a Boston consulting firm, Millennial Branding, and author of "Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success."  So if you want to keep a millennial on your team, it’s important that you give them frequent opportunities for growth.

7. Yeah, I live at home.  While it would have once been an embarrassment for a boomer to live at home in their mid to late 20’s, that stigma is long gone.  Millennials are a money saavy group and their boomer parents are often willing to do anything to help them get ahead.  Consequently, many live at home so they can save money to purchase a home (sometimes by paying with cash) when they are a few years older.  This arrangement can work out great for everyone but the employer.  Without the financial “need” for income, it can be admittedly more difficult to retain this group.  Bottom line:  Don’t assume that a millennial will stay in a job that’s either not fulfilling or not secure simply for the paycheck.  If you want this group to stay, be proactive in resolving problems and discussing long-term opportunities.

8.  It’s a Big Ole World.  While boomers started to stretch their wings a bit and move away from their families and home towns, millennials have taken this to new limits.  Between the ease (and relative affordability) of travel and the freedom to connect with family and friends digitally, this group simply isn’t tied to anything. Add to that, the trusty ole internet has made global job searching and networking a breeze and it is simply too easy to find new opportunities that appear challenging and exciting. So if you want to keep a millennial “at home” so to speak, it’s important you share the company vision for growth.  And if you can foresee the possibility of global opportunities, your chances are even better!

Ok, managers…what have you done to keep millennials on your team?


Article written by:

Kathi Miller-Miller is a sought after career specialist and author of “Your Journey from Fired to Hired.” Kathi draws on her 25+ years of success (and failures!) to offer her readers advice on topics ranging from dealing with a boss that drives you crazy to managing millennials...all in a light-hearted and easy to read style.

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