What Every Leader Needs to Know About Retaining Millennials
By 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce. While it’s tough to assign broad characteristics to an entire generation, millennials are generally known to be technically savvy and focused on growth, looking for new opportunities and frequent feedback. So it’s no surprise that traditional management styles fall flat for millennials.
For employers, updating management practices isn’t just a nice thing to do — it’s absolutely necessary in order to develop and retain the next generation of leaders. Here are three important factors that employers should consider in order to retain millennial talent.
Based on a global Korn Ferry survey of over 1,000 executives, 44 percent said millennial employees require a lot more feedback than workers of other generations, with only 10 percent reporting that they need about the same feedback as others.
It’s easy to view “requires more feedback” as a negative trait. However, it’s not that millennials need more time and effort put into their feedback — they just want it delivered differently, in real time. Feedback can be as simple as a manager taking 30 seconds after a meeting to tell a millennial what they did well and what they can work on. Millennials do not see the benefit of an annual performance evaluation where they walk nervously into a supervisor’s office and receive a ton of information all at once. In fact, says Aon Hewitt Senior Consultant Kelly Johnson, the annual review model is often less efficient than ongoing, more informal feedback that employees can implement immediately.
Make Learning and Development a Priority
Millennials place a high value on learning and development because they grew up in a rapidly changing digital landscape. They understand that everyone must accelerate their learning to remain competitive. An important thing for organizations to keep in mind is that horizontal moves can be as attractive to millennials as vertical ones. “There is no reason to look at development as constant promotion,” says Johnson. “Mobility programs — being able to switch roles within the same organization — allow for the growth experiences that millennials want.”
In other words, development is no longer enough. Redevelopment is key. In Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent Trends Study, only 50 percent of employers surveyed say their organization has a redevelopment mindset. But in the tech industry, known for attracting millennials, 64 percent of employers cite a strong focus on continual redevelopment.
Build a Culture of Flexible Work
Previous generations wanted work-life balance. For millennials, it might be more accurate to call it work-life integration. Allison Griffiths, principal and leader of workforce rewards at Mercer Canada, stresses that millennials want to “make work work” by making their work fit into the rest of their lives. Still, half of millennials surveyed by Mercer feel that working part-time or remotely would negatively affect their promotion prospects.
Clearly there remains a disconnect between existing company culture and what millennials want from work. Managers can fill the gap by encouraging individual work habits that lead to the highest productivity, whether that means working inside the office or remotely.
*This post first appeared on TalentCulture.