5 ways to increase retention in a millennial workforce

Millennials are the … Read...
Millennial business team meeting in boardroom, talking on video conference call

Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today. It’s also a workforce that has developed quite the notoriety – being far more conscious about the nature of their job than your typical Gen-X or Baby Boomer. High turnover rates are common among millennial employees, with few sticking with the same job for more than a couple of years. In fact, most of them are prone to job hop until they finally land a position that fulfils their long checklist of desires, and these lists can be ‘really’ long and detailed.

Essentially, raises, promotions and other traditional reward schemes alone are simply not enough to retain millennials. Therefore, it’s important to understand and employ effective retention strategies in order to avoid unnecessary disruptions and financial loss. Here are five key points to stick to when doing so.

Hire for your culture

Increasing your employee retention starts at the hiring process. Whether or not a potential candidate will suit or be able to acclimate to your company culture is an important factor to consider here. You might interview a millennial whose skills perfectly fit the job description, they might even show the right attitude, however, if their values and personality clash with that of the workplace, they will almost certainly be gone within a year.

Think of an introverted individual being placed in a sales-oriented role. They are obviously going to feel uncomfortable. Now you might be inclined to believe that there is no harm in trying, or that they’ll get used to the role eventually, but this simply isn’t likely – especially with millennials. In fact, even additional perks and pay raises are unlikely to retain individuals who just don’t fit into the role or workplace. And even if they do, employees who are uncomfortable are guaranteed to be less productive and efficient.

You might be able to keep millennials like this in the company by accommodating and adjusting to their individual values; it might even be warranted if their skills are too valuable to pass up. It’s a lot simpler, however, to simply pick the people that you know will fit in without much effort. As such, it’s also a good idea to scout for potential candidates from your employees’ network and remember to assess if a candidate is a good fit through a clear set of questions and clarifications.

Get them involved

Millennials are not just concerned with the ‘how’ of the job, the ‘why’ is also very important to them. Focusing on the bottom line alone isn’t going to be enough – businesses need to keep them motivated and involved, making them feel as if they’re working towards something important. 

Involving millennials in decision-making and handing them a sense of ownership is an ideal way to achieve this. As they get more and more involved in these scenarios, businesses should ideally ‘raise the stakes’ with each new development. This creates the sense that they are working their way up the ladder, always progressing. As soon as they feel as if they are plateauing – constantly completing the same tasks and responsibilities – that’s when they start dusting off their resume.

Increasing employee engagement

Millennials look for a challenge; the generation is imbued with a sense of competitiveness. Think of ways you can bring teams together with some friendly-competition in amongst themselves. Gamifying workloads by using leaderboards or a score-system can be a naturally engaging way of boosting your employees’ productivity.

Maintaining convenient communication channels is vital for this process. You need to be in-the-know about what your employees want, based on which you can craft opportunities and scenarios for them. What’s more, implementing easily accessible channels will allow for better networking between and within teams, leading to a stronger, interconnected workforce.

Millennials look for flexibility

Millennials crave flexibility and freedom in their workplace. Their focus is more on the experience, rather than monetary assets, meaning if they find a workplace too rigid – too tightly structured – they aren’t inclined to stick around.

This is not to say that businesses need to be overly lenient instead of focusing on how they can make employees comfortable in order to maximise productivity. People work better under different environments, hours and workplaces, some might even get more work done from home. Focus on the work that gets done, not the how of it or the time spent.

Using the right tech

Younger workers want a good work-life balance and they are always keen to get networking – building up their professional contact list. With the right tech, it’s not difficult for businesses to accommodate either of these. Technology is something that millennials have grown up with, and they expect the latest tools to be present at their workplace. In fact, millennials even seek out employers that experiment and innovate with new technological processes and platforms. Time-tracking apps to record daily hours, video-conferencing for quick on-the-go meetings, and remember how we talked about setting up effective communication channels? This can be easily achieved with any instant messaging software. All of these are features businesses should incorporate, not just for millennial retention, but for overall productivity.

As mentioned, interconnectivity also plays a vital role in both productivity and retention rates. Think about it  – a workforce that is tight-knit, and is close to each other will obviously want to keep working together. And there’s a tech tool to both foster and track the level of interconnectivity within your organisation. The right customer mapping software, like a platform such as Stringboard, can provide environments for your employees to routinely interact and network in. This allows you to visually monitor and understand the relationship dynamics of your workforce, being a great source of information to base your engagement and involvement scenarios.

And there you have it; five steps you can follow to increase retention in millennials. It’s all about understanding what they want through the right conversations. Once that’s done it’s down to implementing the right practices and employing the right tools, ensuring job satisfaction and organisational productivity. The result is a thriving workforce that acts as ambassadors for your business, invariably reducing your retention levels.  

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