What You Need to Know About Retaining Millennial Employees
With the job scarcity of 2008 now in our rearview, the pendulum is swinging back the other way and the need for finding and keeping good talent is now a key business priority. If we are not skilled in attracting and keeping strong and capable workers, we face one of the greatest risk factors for business success.
Deloitte (2015) found that what leads businesses to long-term success is employee satisfaction, loyalty, and fair treatment, highlighting the strong correlation between talent management and bottom line business results.
Millennials in the Workplace:
Although older generations tend to see them as newcomers to the workplace, more than a third of American workers today are millennials (Pew Research). If Millennials are the greatest percentage of workers today, then reducing their turnover in our companies is critical to our business strategy. Helping Millennials see a career path is part of the strategy. Helping them develop as leaders can contribute to your talent management success.
Millennials are ambitious and ready to take on leadership positions to bring big changes to the workplace. They believe in tech and its ability to transform work, want to invest in innovation, and place greater value on mentoring and leadership development. And while millennials are still seen as the newcomers in the workplace, many are already taking the reins, implementing changes, and leading older generations.
Millennials tend to adopt a more inclusive and empathetic leadership style. With this more employee-centric leadership comes a greater desire to change traditional practices across the company. They understand the importance and need for development opportunities at every level of the organization, not just those who are already on top. Millennials want fair opportunities for all employees, understanding that more development benefits the organization with better leaders. In addition, while older generations are more comfortable with the way things have always been done, Millennial leaders are much more likely to question these traditions. In the SuccessFactors survey, Millennial executives were less confident in their organization’s ability to develop talent for the digital workplace and plan for succession than their peers of older generations.
Where Millennials Need Development:
While Millennials leaders are pushing for change within their organizations, many feel they don’t have the skills to do so. Overall, 63% of Millennials said their leadership skills aren’t being fully developed (Deloitte). And while many lead older employees every day, over one-third of Millennials surveyed said doing so is difficult (Beyond.com). While Millennials place less value on the traditional workplace hierarchy, it still exists, complicating their ability to lead effectively. Millennials aren’t the only ones who feel they don’t have the right skills for leadership positions — older generations feel the same way. Forty-five percent of Baby Boomer and Gen X respondents said that Millennials’ lack of managerial experience could have a negative impact on a company’s culture (Beyond.com).
Mentoring is a powerful tool for talent management of the Millennial workers and easing current pain points.
- Pain point #1: We have a tough time recruiting the RIGHT young people.
- The mentoring fix: By offering internships and mentoring to top college performers, you then have your pick of those people when the time comes to hire. Over three-fourths of Millennials want to be mentored. They appreciate the immediate, robust feedback that mentoring can provide. When people know you have an active mentoring initiative, your organization becomes more attractive to young talent.
- Pain point #2: Our turnover rate is killing us. How do we retain the good ones?
- The mentoring fix: Mentoring helps reduce turnover. Losing employees costs 100-300% of the replaced employee’s salary (SHRM). The good news is people are 77% more likely to stay their job when in a mentoring relationship, and 35% look for another job within 12 months if mentoring is not provided (Spherion). Retention rates are higher for mentees (72%) and for mentors (69%) than non-mentoring participants (49%) (Sun Microsystems). Mentoring helps keep valuable employees: Over 40% of internal job moves involving high potential employees end in failure(HBR), but mentoring reduces this possibility through regular accountability and encouragement to take on new skills and develop leadership abilities.
- Pain point #3: We don’t know how to engage Millennials and help them succeed.
- The mentoring fix: Seventy-five percent of Millennials would like to have a mentor, looking to baby boomers for the learning and advice. (HireVue) Eighty-three percent of professionals would like to be involved in a mentoring program, yet only 29% are in workplaces that offer them (Robert Walters recruiting). When we encourage mentoring and other learning relationships, people become more engaged with their work and feel their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
Mentoring is just the beginning. Expanding learning and leadership development opportunities can help transform inventive millennials into effective and dynamic trailblazers. Helping your workers feel a sense of belonging and that they are important to the mission of your organization will help your people not only stay but actively contribute to the success of your company. If you can encourage your workers to embrace their influence and potential leadership, take one more step toward making an impact in their job and with those around them, your organization will begin to see real bottom-line results.
By Dr. Liz Selzer