Retaining Millennials, Can You Even?

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Posted by Ashley Slade - 27 November, 2017

Gone are the days when employees had to physically punch a time card as they arrived for the workday and again when it was time to go home. 

The traditional nine to five workdays are also becoming a thing of the past, as workers are receiving more autonomy when it comes to setting their own weekly schedules. With many companies offering the flexibility millennials crave, employers need to stay ahead of the curve in order to retain talent.

Flex schedules and telecommuting are on the rise as more companies are offering these perks in the hopes of attracting those new to the workforce. Appealing to and retaining millennials is something companies are focusing on more and more, and as baby boomers begin to enter retirement, the time and money invested in these approaches continues to increase.

Below are some simple ways to promote employee engagement and offer rewards that will promote satisfaction.

 

Engage

Most millennials cannot fathom the idea of life prior to DVR or streaming services at their fingertips. Watching commercials (other than during the Super Bowl) turns them off and causes them to quickly lose interest. The same can be said for companies who put in the effort to sell the wonderful work environment they have to offer but stop after the candidate begins employment. Companies like this think “They’ve been hooked, no need to invest any more time or effort in selling the corporate Kool-Aid.”

Attracting millennials to your company is only half the battle these days. Once you hire the fresh talent, you need to retain their interest and keep them engaged. Millennials love to learn and are constantly seeking personal growth. One way to keep them satisfied is with regular feedback and constructive criticism. Older generations assume that millennials need to be coddled fearing they will take offense when someone disagrees with them. Rather than tip-toeing around the employee, use the opportunity to provide feedback as a teachable moment. They gain the opportunity to learn new things and broaden their skill set, while you gain the satisfaction of increasing productivity and watching employees grow into their roles. An easy win-win!

Another way to engage millennials and increase their efforts is by involving them in the decision-making process. When morale and motivation are heightened, workers feel they belong to the team. If things go wrong, they evaluate the problem and determine how they can handle a situation differently rather than questioning the decisions of others and pointing their finger at management. Involving them provides a fresh set of eyes for any ongoing projects, as well as potential solutions that might have gone unfounded. After a sense of trust has been established, opportunities for advancement appear attainable to millennials.

 

Reward

Today, the idea everyone should receive a participation trophy has become somewhat of an ongoing joke, as well as a heated debate. The Washington Post previously published a study that analyzed opinions on the topic by age group, asking if trophies should go only to winners or to all kids who participate. Not surprisingly, millennials favored the latter in comparison to the older generations surveyed. The debate sparks an important question: does providing trophies to all set millennials up for disappointment in the future? Unfortunately, many employers do not offer awards for showing up to work, but there are different ways to reward those who deserve recognition.

When it comes to rewarding employees, many companies have different methods for keeping their workers satisfied. Regular salary increases and bonus incentives work for many, however those tactics have come to be expected by some and are just not enough for others. Millennials seek instant gratification and thrive on personal growth, which is why providing feedback and opportunities for advancement is a definite way to appeal to them. Rather than making employees wait until they have years of experience under their belt, providing more frequent promotions in smaller doses might be the key. According to CNN, “It used to be that an employee might progress from Job A to Job B. Now instead of one big jump after a few years, it's broken into smaller jumps more quickly: From Job A to A1 then A2 before hitting B. And the accompanying pay raise is similarly made more incremental.” Promotions are a good way to instill a sense of loyalty within employees and increase overall motivation. For those new to the company, seeing that the opportunities are attainable will likely push them to work harder and stick around longer.

Some employees are simply satisfied with hearing how much their work is valued – so tell them early and tell them often. It could be just the ticket to ensuring they’re in it with you for the long-haul.

 

In a competitive job market, it is important that employers consider these factors to ensure they are making their company a place millennials want to work. What trends have you adopted to make your company’s work environment more appealing? If you were an outsider what would you value most in an employer and is your company truly a place you would want to work?

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Topics: leadership, teamwork, millennials


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