Forget sugarcoating or waxing poetic. Millennials are disrupting the workplace (in a good way) and they are changing how organizations manage engagement and retention. Today, if you want to retain millennials within your organization, honesty is the way to go. Today’s younger professionals have firmly rooted opinions on what they should know about their workplaces and will ask questions to discover the answers. If they feel manipulated by their managers, underestimated by senior workers, or unfulfilled with their daily tasks, they’ll simply leave in search of another job. In our recent Global Perspectives study in which we collected responses from employees across 20 countries, 29 percent of millennials feel it would be easy to find a new job right now compared to just 16 percent of baby boomers who feel the same way. This is precisely why transparency is vital to establishing trust and loyalty with millennials — and it’s key to job sustainability.
Retain Millennials by Showing How They Contribute to the Big Picture
Our research highlights a general trend among millennials: in comparison to generation X and baby boomer employees, they tend to be more positive about their organization’s leadership, innovation culture, learning and development, pay, and wellbeing policies. For example, 60 percent of millennials believe leadership in their organization is open and honest versus just 43 percent of boomers ages 51 to 60. And, 66 percent of millennials believe there is a positive relationship between management and staff in their organizations compared to 50% of boomers. However, a positive attitude doesn’t necessarily equate to job stability. We found that in general, millennials are unclear about why their roles matter — and the impact they have on their organizations as a whole. Almost 3 in 10 millennials (29%) do not understand how their work contributes to the success of their organization. Not understanding how they fit into the big picture directly correlates with whether a millennial employee chooses to stay with the employer. When it comes to millennial employees, Matt Roddan, Head of Employee Research, U.S., for ORC International, emphasizes they want:
- Clearly defined short- and long-term goals
- To understand their path to reach those goals
- The training and development necessary to be successful for the organization, as well as in their specific career path
Knowing what millennials want is the first step. The second is understanding how to give it to them. Navigating millennial retention can be a tricky business. You have to know them well to ignite engagement and get them to stay on their terms.
Factor in Feedback – and lots of it!
For millennials to be engaged, they want open, authentic discussions. They want to be given feedback, and they want to feel free to share their opinions and suggestions. Our research indicates that just 61 percent of millennials feel they are in an environment where they are encouraged to share ideas. While many organizations leverage annual performance reviews, millennials want a greater number of touch points with their managers — check-ins, progress reports, quarterly reviews, etc. And, the magic number is… 71! Yes, our research shows that the average US millennial wants to know how they are doing a staggering 71 times a year!
Retaining millennials also hinges on being transparent with organizational information and demonstrating how valuable millennial employees are within their organization. Transparency means sharing truths about the company, providing feedback on performance, and encouraging communication. Transparency is valuable, and it goes deeper than talking about the organization — it includes turning the spotlight on the employee as well.