Retaining Millennials — Here's What You Need To Know

Retaining Millennials — Here's What You Need To Know
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Krishna Kumar

Last updated June 8, 2017


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Young and vibrant, with heads firmly on their shoulders, the millennials have a fresh outlook on everything they do and are set to reshape the corporate world. With their underlying desire to grow professionally, their ability to multi-task, grasp technology, and willingness to work in teams, they are truly a powerhouse in themselves. A survey by PWC suggests that millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) will form 50 percent of the global workforce by 2020. What this means is that retaining and engaging this generation has become very critical for any business.

As millennials flood into offices, retaining, engaging, and motivating them become one of the major priorities for businesses. A survey by Deloitte says that around two-thirds of millennials in India will consider a job change by 2020. While a better compensation always attracts these young minds, salary alone doesn’t satisfy their professional aspirations. They also look opportunities that help them with career progression and how it enables them to connect the dots and achieve their long-term career goals. Companies must focus on creating career paths that are definitive and concise.

These digital experts also believe in social responsibility and are civically engaged. Doing good for the society automatically attracts them, and this should be in the organization’s engagement calendar—nurturing the social world. 

As growth and career progression remain the most sought-after attributes that millennials look for in an organization, employers should focus on investing in their upskilling. The Deloitte survey further adds that 35 percent of the millennials surveyed preferred employers who offered excellent training and development programs. And, due to the ever-growing up-skilling thirst of the younger generation and the need for skilling owing to the digital transformation, companies too are pro-actively taking initiatives to provide their employees with corporate training programs. The global job market is heading towards objective learning and goal-oriented training. Both employees and employers are on the lookout for learning programs that help an individual cultivate new-age skills.

The millennials enjoy working when their performance is noted and admired. They are the feedback-oriented generation, and the traditional semi and annual appraisal system are not enough for them. And here they want mentors and coaches and not bosses. This generation hates to work in an authoritative culture and seeks more accessibility to the leadership team and constructive criticism. They prefer to be mentored than be directed. Research shows that the primary reason why millennials quit their current company is the behavior of their manager. A survey by TriNet, an HR Solutions Company, says that 69 percent of the millennials consider that their organization’s review process is full of flaws and not at all up to the mark. Hence, to increase productivity and to build valuable relationships, it is mandatory to provide a supportive environment where millennials can have more interaction with the leadership team, ensuring transparency. Having said that, the employer-employee relationship must extend beyond the general annual review process. Time to time recognition and rewards, providing them with a checklist, engaging in frequent interactions, offering them help whenever needed, involving them in a frequent feedback process, and building a team-oriented culture are some important engagement drivers for millennial employees.

While their inherent ability to work in teams is the key differentiator that sets the millennials apart from their predecessors, flexibility is another workplace approach that millennials search in their employers. There is no doubt that this generation has an inborn affinity to the digital world. Their predecessors can’t compete with their sound knowledge of technology. But, this generation is particular about work-life balance. Most millennials are now on the verge of starting a family or has one already. Per the Deloitte survey, 28 percent of the millennials said that the work-life balance in their organization was worse than what they had thought at the time of joining. Another 50 percent said that while companies talked about diversity, they did not feel that opportunities were equal for all employees. Providing them with the option of work from home, avoiding strict timings, and the freedom to work from anywhere can be of great help in enhancing their productivity at work.

With the high costs of employee turnover, engaging and retaining them has become more important than ever. But the question is how to do that? It is extremely important to understand the engagement drivers within the organization. Appropriate targets and goals for the engagement strategy should be carefully designed. Setting up regular monitoring process, conducting engagement studies, keeping the monitoring process clear and transparent, and involving employees in almost everything can help an organization win the trust of this generation of technocrats. As they believe in continuous learning and self-development, offer opportunities to reskill and upskill themselves, whenever possible and required. They love to connect, collaborate, and innovate. Give them a conducive work environment and see how productive they can become with the right guidance and support.

NOTE: This article was first published on People Matters.

About the Author

Krishna Kumar founded Simplilearn.com in 2010. In the following years, he has built the company into one of the largest players in delivering certification training for working professionals. A thought leader in the edu-tech sector, Krishna believes in balancing technology with human interaction to deliver a world-class learning experience.


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