How to Retain Your Millennial Asset — Part 4

You’ve recruited top-notch Millennials and are actively managing them in your organization. Now you must retain and develop your Millennial talent. In the final post in this series, we list four tips for retaining your Millennial talent, some of which demystify the Millennial mystique.

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1. Millennials have a solid work ethic.

Because Millennials are more peer-oriented and seek instant gratification, their work ethic can be self-centered. They ask, “what is my job?” and figure out the most efficient way to accomplish it. The result is that Millennials respond well to organizations that offer paid time off, as opposed to a year-end bonus, in their reward structure. This also plays into the Millennials’ need for work-life balance. The more your organization can offer mechanisms to achieve a balance between work and personal life, the more likely Millennials will be to stay with you.

2. Have a plan for Millennial advancement.

Although Millennials tend to think shorter-term than their Baby Boomer or Gen X counterparts, that’s not to say that they don’t need a plan. They just need a shorter plan. Millennials will not stay with an organization that has long advancement tracks, and Millennials loose interest in organizations that promise quick advancement opportunities and fail to follow through on such promises. Consider offering small rewards along the way, stringing the accomplishments together, and laying the groundwork for a Millennial to develop seniority.

3. Millennials don’t value “face time.”

Recently Millennials have garnered a poor reputation because they don’t put in the face time like their predecessors, which may not be a bad thing. Employees are indeed more satisfied if they feel valued, which for employers can mean acknowledging that your employees have a life outside of work. A difference between Millennials and their predecessors is that they want to accomplish a task as efficiently as possible (which usually means implementing their significant ability to multi-task) and build their reputation on substantive accomplishments rather than long work hours. For employers, this means that your reward structure needs to match the Millennials’ expectation that if they perform well, they will advance, regardless of how long it took them to finish a project.

4. Provide challenges and opportunities quickly.

Now that you’ve painted your organization as a challenging, satisfying place to work, you need to make sure your Millennial talent does not loose interest quickly. Instead, find ways for your Millennial talent to have a meaningful role in their projects and with their team and encourage Millennials to contribute new ideas. The notion that Millennials are valued for their contributions fits well with their perspective that each Millennial is special and unique. Foster an environment that allows new hires to take on increasing responsibilities as their performance improves.

Retention that works.

The key to retaining Millennial talent is to understand how Millennials view the world and their role in your organization. If you’ve done your homework recruiting Millennials, then you should have a good understanding of what Millennials want from their employers. Millennials often leave their jobs because it is not challenging, rewarding, or both. Millennials will, however, stay with organizations that value their professional growth and provide personal satisfaction.

Prior Posts in this Series, What HR Needs to Know About Your Company’s Millennial Assets; include Recruiting Gen Y; and Managing Gen Y.

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