The Millennials (Part III)

Retaining Generation Next

Kudos to all those resellers, systems integrators, manufacturers, and distributors who have followed this series about the Millennial Generation and are currently implementing new hiring initiatives to meet the fierce competition for Millennial talent. No doubt, having the right bait on the hook may get the Millennials on board, but how do you keep them from jumping ship? This challenge brings us to my final article offering solid strategies that I believe will be key in retaining them.

I have been asked by hiring managers if Millennials can be retained at all since they tend to be high maintenance, impatient and expect frequent career changes. My answer is that Millennials are also ambitious, hard-working and our future leaders. You don’t have the luxury of refusing to address their unique needs. Trust me, gone are the days when a paycheck, benefits, and occasional awards were enough to keep workers, especially Baby Boomers, satisfied. This new generation has redefined what will hold their interest and it’s time to listen.

From my vantage point, this is where the real work starts. It’s time to develop and implement retention strategies that will make Millennials want to stick around. There are two solid strategies that your organization can put into practice immediately: Career-Pathing and a “We Value You” company culture.


Millennials expect upward mobility in a short period of time. It’s that simple. In fact, many arrive on their first day with their goals written on a piece of paper with a desire to achieve them within one to two years. In turn, they expect their new employer to present a clear and concise career-pathing plan to help them reach their goals. Consider the following as part of your career-pathing program:

? Training. If you want a job well done, employers need to tell Millennials how to do it. However, don’t just give orders. Millennials want to know the reasoning behind them and the training offered to be successful.
? Mentoring. Partner your new Millennial with one of your veterans. The veteran can show the newcomer the ropes and conversely the newcomer can offer fresh ideas.
? Integration. Involve Millennials in a variety of projects, assignments, and career opportunities. Mixing it up keeps their interest.
? Team Collaboration. Millennials are comfortable in team settings. They like to collaborate with others especially on team-based projects and environments.
? Support Future Pursuits. During their employment at your company, Millennials will face decisions regarding the next stage of their lives including marriage, buying a house, having children, etc. Developing a guidance program around these changes demonstrates how your company will be there to support them.

“We Value You” Company Culture

There’s a new mentality that companies are adopting in order to keep Millennials happy. It’s referred to as the “We Value You” Company Culture. The book, Millennials Incorporated by Lisa Orrell, urges all organizations to adopt this culture or face the alternative, a revolving door. Millennials need to know that what they’re doing matters. Therefore, they require an environment that encourages and rewards them, rather than stifles their growth. Employers who are sensitive to their needs and incorporate the following will have a distinct advantage:

? Easy On-Boarding Process. Prior to the start date, maintain contact and provide any company information that will help welcome Millennials. Let them know that you are excited and prepared for their arrival. On the very first day, be ready to provide all tools and resources necessary to be successful on the job, i.e. laptop, cell phone, PDA, etc.
? Work/Life Balance. Millennials seek flexible schedules, locations, and arrangements that include telework, working from home, and job share.
? Feedback. Giving and getting feedback needs to be a continuous process. And don’t forget the words of praise and validation. Millennials need to hear them often. In addition, show them how they are making an impact and how their work contributes to the bottom line.
? Open Communication. Millennials have no problem in voicing their opinions and letting them be expressive will help keep them around. In addition, Millennials appreciate being involved in many aspects of the business. This gives them a sense of “company community”.
? Innovative Company Policies. Incorporating fun at work and loosening strict companies policies will be attractive to not only Millennials but to workers of all ages.

Ultimately, your organization has to seal the deal with opportunities and a company culture that Millennials can’t refuse. It’s to your advantage to take the necessary steps to retain these young workers. Think about the benefits you will reap by keeping “A” level talent and the end result: Giving your business the edge in this ever increasing competitive marketplace.