Millennials are dominating the workforce. That’s a no-brainer. In 2015, they inched past Generation X and the Baby Boomers to become the most represented generation in the workforce, capturing 32% (the largest share) of the labor market. But keeping them around has been harder than not.
In recent years, the surge of millennial employees resulted in an overall change in attitude and expectations within the workforce, reflecting the millennial mindset: young employees aren’t as loyal as those from generations prior, they seek a sense of purpose and values beyond corporate profit, and place emphasis on corporate social responsibility.
And businesses have been taking note.
The race to winning over the next generation of leaders has long ago launched – and everyone is in the race to reel back in those employees with one foot out the door. Earlier this year, Deloitte conducted a survey on 7700 millennials from over 29 countries, representing both emerging and developed markets, and found that 25% of those surveyed desire to quit their current job and move on within a year. The statistic skyrockets to 44% when the time-line expands to two-years.
Long-term alignment of the corporate and the individual seems to be at an all-time low. And with such near-term exits in sight, millennials will likely not shape the fortune of their organizations despite their grand potential and obvious dominance in the workforce.
But could there be a loophole?
Maybe not an obvious one – but, by reading Deloittes 2016 survey (and a handful of other materials on millenials), one could draw few conclusions on how to keep up with the booming young-and-hip workforce and establish harmony in the workplace.
1. EARN THEIR LOYALTY
The biggest problem with millennial employees is a lack of loyalty. As a result, turnover is rather high. Milllennials constantly seek new opportunities and new challenges with better benefits. They’ll easily trade in the comfortable and stable position for the unknown. As an organization, you must invest resources in securing the long-term loyalty of your millennial employees by learning and understanding their core individual needs and values, and satisfying them in turn.
2. DEVELOP THEIR LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Nearly half of the millennials surveyed by Deloitte expressed dissatisfaction with the resources invested in developing their leadership skills. And little progress is being made in order to boost these efforts. 63% of surveyors said leadership development was lacking in their current position. An organization that will be able to provide such developmental opportunities for the millennial employee will likely increase employee satisfaction and, in turn, retainment.
3. MINIMIZE THE SUSTAINABILITY GAP
Unlike businesses, millennials do not put profit first. They believe business success should be built on a foundation of sustainability with an emphasis on ethics and customer-service rather than short-term profit.
A sustainability gap has been created between millennials and employers in which millenials judge businesses based on their treatment of people, customer service, and quality of products, rather than on profit.
To win over the millennial employee, you should minimize the sustainability gap by enhancing your focus on core sustainable values. Shift your focus away from profit generation and wealth creation and focus on the bright side of life…people!
4. PUT EMPLOYEE ABOVE ALL ELSE
According to millennials, businesses should be built on the foundational pillars of trust and integrity. To make your workplace more attractive for the millennial employee, make sure to put employees first. Foster an environment where transparency is key, place emphasis on customer care, promote environmentally sustainable practices, offer a good work/life balance and competitive compensation, and create a harmonious social environment within the workspace.
5. ALIGN ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR WITH MILLENIAL VALUES
When choosing a workplace, millennials often look for a firm that reflects their own personal values. 70% of surveyed individuals said that their personal values align with that of the corporation for which they currently work, and 56% ruled out working for an organization whose personal values or standard of conduct are not to their liking. 49% said they would turn down a task that contradicts personal ethics, and 55% cited personal values and morals as the driving factor behind decision-making processes at work.
So where should your focus lie?
The 5-key areas where millennials believe more emphasis should be placed by businesses are: improving skills, income, creating jobs, ensuring satisfaction (of customers & employees), and positively impacting users of goods and services.
Clearly, the millennial mantra is that of “people before profit.” Adopt that for your organization and you’ll be likely to align more closely with millennials on-the-fence.
6. PROFIT AIN’T THE ONLY ‘P’ TO FOCUS ON
Millennials don’t give a damn about making a profit. In fact, a profits-first approach often alienates one from a firm. Let’s break it down: While millennials do identify the importance of financial success to the lifecycle of a business, they believe it is insufficient on its own. As educated individuals, they appreciate business fundamentals, yet crave something beyond: they want to see a greater focus on the individual. So shift the focus of your firm away from solely ‘profit,’ to the four P’s: People (employees & society as a whole), products, purpose, and profit.
Remember: millennials are not anti-profit, they just like to emphasize the greater needs of the individual beyond short-term profits.
7. START A MENTORSHIP SYSTEM!
For years, millennials, baby-boomers, and generation X-ers have been working side by side in confined office spaces. And millennials have a lot to learn if they want to make their way up the ladder of career progression. Having a mentor is extremely rewarding in this regard – creating a mentoring system between the seasoned and the young-and-fresh will bridge the generational gap, and support the millennial’s desire for professional development.
8. CREATE THE PERFECT JOB ENVIRONMENT
The universal truth of recruitment is that, more than anything else, pay and financial benefits are the prime driving factor behind choosing a job. Yet despite the fact that compensation is the dominant factor, it is not the sole criteria for your average millennial.
In order to attract and retain millennial employees, recruiters must understand the whole picture and work to create a desired job environment. Millennials want a balanced work-life, opportunities to progress and take on leadership positions, and a supportive environment that fosters creativity and inclusiveness. They want flexibility, a sense of purpose, and the availability of training programs.
An authoritarian-style of hierarchy will likely deter the average millennial, who will opt for an environment of free-flowing communication that understands the needs of younger employees.
Create a job environment that seeks to differentiate itself through its core values and unique lifestyle, rather than by its market reputation, tech advancements, or growth record. An employer that plays by these rules is likely to secure more millennial talent than rivals.
9. OPEN YOUR MIND UP TO FLEXIBLE WORKING
The Deloitte study found that only 43% of surveyed millenials were allowed to work from home or from a location-of-choice at which they felt most productive. Yet the current level of flexibility strays far behind millennial desires: 75% wish that remote working was an acceptable practice in their workplace, and 77% seek greater accessibility to mobile working via tablets and smartphones. In turn, they say, productivity would increase by 51%.
So why not give your young employees the freedom to do so? Flexibility allows millennials to complete their work in an environment that best accommodates their lifestyle. If all deadlines are met and performance is not subpar, why deny them of that luxury? It’s a win-win for all.
10. GIVE ‘EM CONTROL OVER THEIR CAREERS
Millennials want to feel that the power lies in their hands, not yours – as if the steering wheel guiding their career path is within their control. So give it to them. Find ways to empower millennial employees and retain their loyalty, rather than hasten their desire to leave in the near future.
Foster a work environment that encourages open communication and inclusiveness. Be attentive to the ambitions and desires of millenials, and listen to their input. Giving them control will drive forward your relationship and secure a sense of loyalty.
For the full survey, click here.