You can search the internet and easily find dozens of articles calling the Millennial generation “entitled,” “lazy,” or “job hoppers.” But, much like declaring Baby Boomers technologically ignorant, it’s decidedly unwise to paint a single generation with such a broad brush. The Millennial generation is a diverse one, and they have varied expectations when it comes to employment expectations.
The median tenure for Millennials ages 18 to 34 is 1.7 years, which is slightly higher than tenure was for GenXers in 2004 (1.66 years), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So, the challenge now is how to retain this rising group that makes up the largest generation in the workforce. They want to stay with your company, so, as with any workforce management endeavor, it’s crucial to tap into your particular team and talk with them about what they think makes your company and their jobs a good fit for them. Or what you can do to improve their experiences.
Millennials Want to Be Supported
Generally speaking, while Baby Boomers and GenXers are more concerned with stability and salary, respectively, Millennials are typically focused on meaningful work. They want to feel that what they’re doing aligns with the big picture and contributes to the company achieving its goals. But, at the same time, many of them have the belief that they will quickly move up the corporate ladder. It’s important to encourage this ambition, and your Millennials will expect you to help them out by offering training and mentorship opportunities. In a recent Gallup poll, 87 percent rated “professional or career growth and development opportunities” as an important factor in their jobs. A structured career path is helpful, as is offering certification and skillset learning opportunities. As each skill or certification is achieved it can be directly tied to a salary increase or promotion.
Mentorships are key with this group of employees. In fact, according to a recent Qualtrics-Accel survey of almost 1,500 millennials, a whopping 67 percent said they would be willing to take a pay cut to work at a company that offers good mentorship opportunities. With Boomers leaving the workforce as they retire, you have a tremendous opportunity for knowledge transfer from these long-time team members. The institutional knowledge Boomers can share with their younger counterparts can be a boon to the company. And, conversely, your Millennials, who grew up during the digital revolution, can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the existing team.
Finally, a flexible work environment is an important factor when most Millennials are considering a company they want to work with. This generation values a healthy work/life balance. Offering flex schedules (as is appropriate) and the ability to work from home as needed are great perks. For example, allow employees to get to work and leave at varying hours, but ensure they’re available for core office hours and either meet weekly goals or hit 40 hours for the week.
Contrary to what you might be hearing, most Millennials are looking for more than happy hours, ping pong tables and cool co-working spaces. They want to take on responsibility and be a major force for change at your company. And they want to stick around. All they need are the right tools, skills and direction to make it happen.
Employee Assistance Network has been helping companies and government organizations across Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee for more than 30 years. We are a recognized leading provider of Employee Assistance Programs, managed behavioral healthcare services and work-related training and education programs. For more information or to download our overview brochure please visit www.eannc.com.