It seems each new generation that enters the workforce brings its own challenges, shaped by the unique circumstances of their upbringing.
“Millennials,” loosely defined as the generation born between the late 1980’s and early 2000’s, are no exception. The prevailing wisdom says that there are a number of challenges that this generation brings to the workforce. Primary among them: These budding young workers aren’t sticking around very long at most jobs.
In fact, only a miniscule 16 percent of millennials see themselves with their current employers a decade from now, reports Ted Rollins, of TGX Capital. To give these elusive workers a reason to be loyal, use these simple, millennial-friendly ideas.
Give Regular Feedback
Contrary to what you may have heard about millennials, they’re not all stubborn kids with their fingers in their ears refusing to take even a hint of criticism. In fact, most millennials ask for more feedback, especially in the workplace. According to a June 2016 Gallup poll and analysis, only 19 percent of millennial employees report receiving regular feedback on their job performance—and clearly that’s not enough.
Millennials like to get feedback from their superiors and knowing where they stand as an employee. Criticisms and suggestions should be direct and highly specific, so that there’s no guessing or assuming involved. Don’t forget positive feedback, too; regardless of generation, every employee could benefit from some recognition about what they’re doing well.
To help keep your millennial employees happy, consider revamping your existing performance management practices. While an annual performance review was once more than enough, it’s become all but obsolete to hard-working millennials. The same Gallup poll found that employee engagement was highest for those who met with their manager at least once per week.
Provide Opportunities to Grow
With costs of living on the rise, home buying on the horizon, and incomprehensible piles of debt on their shoulders, it’s no surprise that millennials are looking for financial security. Why, then, do they seem so quick to leave secure jobs to seek different opportunities?
Most employers and employees agree that when it comes to long-term careers, millennials are searching for companies who will offer them opportunities for advancement, growth, and development; this is why you need to invest in these employees early on, says Rollins.
There are a number of ways to invest in millennial employees to keep them around longer. A 2013 survey by CareerBuilder revealed that 35% of workers agree that increasing on-the-job training and development opportunities would entice them to stay with a company.
There are many ways your company can address this important need. Sit down with your human resources department to discuss the value and importance of prioritizing internal hires. Invest in a learning management system (LMS) and great learning content so your employees can take ownership of their growth. By creating opportunities for millennials to grow within the company, you give them more incentive to stick around.
Make Work Engaging
“Engaging” may not be the first word that springs to mind when you think of a day at the office, but it’s exactly what millennials crave. The days of clocking in and clocking out are gone—millennials want to be engaged with their work and passionate about what they’re doing.
This starts during the hiring process: Be picky about whom you bring on, choosing only people that are truly passionate about what your company does. This helps you avoid a three-month employee who just needed quick work while they look for something else.
Then make employees’ work more engaging with contests, work-related trips and professional development. For example, incentives and friendly competitions are almost always effective in boosting engagement. And no, the old “employee of the month” system isn’t going to cut it anymore. Try out a point system that rewards those who take initiative and work hard, offering rewards like a free lunch, permission to enjoy a personal happy hour, or even paid time off.
Keep your millennial talent
All of these ideas not only make the workplace more exciting for your millennial employees, but they help you build loyalty with and attract more of these workers. With engagement, professional development, and ongoing performance management tactics in the forefront, your company offers more than a job — it offers support, opportunity and a fun and engaging place to spend your time. That’s what millennial employees want, and that’s how you can help keep them around and grow your organization’s future.