How to Keep Millennial Employees? Give Them What They Want Already
June 18, 2019 Venkat Biroje
Born between the early 1980’s and mid 90’s, millennials are expected to make up nearly 75% of the global workforce by 2025. Whether they have been in the workplace for a number of years, or just beginning to embark on their career path, millennials of all stripes can bring fresh perspective to your organization. This massive demographic shift, however, places immense pressure on organizations to find new ways to motivate and attract members of a new cohort. This pressure is worsened by criticisms leveled by older generations: That millennials are entitled, self-involved or unreliable. But the truth of the matter is that most stereotypes arise out of legitimate critiques of the workplace and dominant corporate culture that organizations can (and should!) remedy if they want to attract young talent.
Compensation is obviously a huge driver when it comes to weighing offers from multiple employers, but it’s unlikely to vary wildly across organizations. So how then do you differentiate yourself as a company looking to attract millennials? Get creative with non-essential benefits. Being a generation that has less financial security than their parents, offering 401k retirement plans can be a strong persuader for millennials in the job market. Millennials, for a myriad of factors, are labelled as job hoppers, so investing in their future sends a strong signal that you truly value their contributions to your organizations. Student loan assistance is emerging as a popular program as well. Among the class of 2018, 69% of students took out loans, graduating with an average debt of around 29,000. As we all know, debt is a major stressor, so emphasizing assistance to loan laden graduates could be strong selling point. Organizations could also perhaps shift away from more traditional forms of employee benefits to ones that better aid recent college grads.
Millennials are big on flexibility too, enjoying the opportunity to work remotely or from home if possible. Older generations may be more hard lined on the standard 9 to 5 working day, but recent technological innovations have begun to uproot this long standing practice. Millennials place a great deal of importance on work-life balance, and there’s emerging body of evidence that suggests remote work can even boost productivity. Organizations should seriously consider adopting a work-from-home option, as it comes at virtually no cost to them to offer this benefit.
Create Opportunities for Growth
While it is true that millennials value flexibility, they also value a career path and ability to shape their own professional future. If employers want to retain their young talent, they need to offer opportunities for growth. This includes training sessions, mentorship, and long-term employee investment. This notion may seem counter intuitive, as millennials have a reputation for being serial job hoppers. A hiring manger might think: “Why would I invest long-term if they’re just going to quit?” This is somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Failing to invest in a young workers’ future all but guarantees they’ll leave in search of better opportunity. Millennials don’t want to be just another appendage of big business; they want to feel valued by their employers, and investing in professional development opportunities is an effective way to build that relationship. Routine tasks and stagnant job responsibilities will bore them and lead to rapid turnover. This dynamic is accelerated when it comes highly skilled tech workers, as they have no shortage of lucrative opportunities in 2019.
The Importance of Corporate Social Responsibility
Millennials place a high level of importance on corporate social responsibility, especially compared to older generations. This primarily plays out in millennials consumer choices, opting to support organizations with more ethical practices, but it also plays a role in where they choose to work, too. In fact, 3 out of 4 Millennials said they would likely take a pay cut to work for a more socially responsible company.
This doesn’t mean employers have to go out and save the world; you can attract millennials to your workforce by simply instituting a few small scale initiatives. Something as common-place as recycling demonstrates your organization’s commitment to ethical practices. Partnering with charitable organizations, too, can signal to young workers that you care about more than the profit motive. There’s really no limit to what you can do to foster a sense of CSR so, get creative! Just remember to not make a big show of your commitment to such causes: Millennials are skeptical, questioning bunch that usually resist when they feel they are being oversold to.
There’s no getting around it: Businesses today will have to adapt to attract younger workers to their organization. But the good news is that you won’t have to overhaul your entire business model to do so. By implementing some of ideas above, you can start laying the groundwork for building a millennial workforce into the future.
Venkat Biroje is a 247 Headhunting HR Associate based out of Hyderabad, India.