How long are you going to keep your Millenniums with you? (And we are not talking about living in your house!)

June 23, 2016

So much has been written about our “20 to 30 Somethings”, i.e. Millenniums, Generation Z, and their attitudes, desires, and outlook on life and work. Research says that these employees, now the largest age group in the workforce today, are understandably different than previous generational groups in the workforce. We often think we understand this group based on employee surveys, research papers and personal interaction. However, just like not all Generation X and Baby Boomers were the same, this is certainly true of this group. Let me offer you 3 thoughts:
  • Now, not later!
You have a short time frame in which to get your Millennium employees inducted into the organization, fully productive and then really excelling. Why? Because on average, they will only be staying with you for two years. That is a very different set of challenges than Generation X employees who stayed for five years and Baby Boomers who stayed for seven years on average. Tight induction (more like total immersion) programs, lots of touch points, as well as significant support, needs to be given, to ensure they are focused on the right objectives and that they have skills and competencies in order to be successful.
  • Connect!
This group of employees is the most “connected” ever, but via a device. Saying something is confidential is virtually passé. Assume that everyone will know everything that is said or seen within minutes, both the good and the bad. They want accessibility to everyone including the CEO. Going through “the chain of command” is out. They want to belong. So keep connecting with them as well as all your other employees. As has been said before, you can’t over communicate! Depending upon the size of your organization that means through weekly meetings, daily announcements on social media or actually going around and talking to people face to face. There are lots of options on how to do this. Long gone are the days when managers can sit inside offices and people only see them come in during the morning and out in the evening. That was never a recipe for success, but now it will not be tolerated.
  • Growth!
It is not just about making them feel valued, but about actually valuing them. This requires that you know and understand them as individuals. They want coaching and personal attention and constant feedback. Annual performance reviews are not going to cut it unless they are supplemented with weekly or monthly feedback discussions. If your supervisors are not good coaches engage people who are, “Millennium Whisperers”. Do not wait for the annual employee survey to find out that this group of employees is not engaged and looking for their next opportunity outside the company. Remember these folks are highly educated and want to use their hard earned education to be working on projects and tasks that are challenging and interesting. While growth may be its own reward, do not forget cash (many have significant debt). Unless you are doing an IPO within two years, do not think that stock will be the incentive it once was. If you are already a public company, then what do your folks think the stock growth will be within a short, 24-month, horizon? Understanding what motivates each individual in the here and now, and having appropriate options that you can use for rewards will also be a key factor for even relatively short term retention.

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