Say the word millennials and immediately people start thinking young teenagers, Starbucks coffee, and whiny babies. Yet millennials are not that young anymore. The oldest millennial just turned 36, so the stereotype of what a millennial looks like is what you are seeing right now. I am a millennial, and there are more people like me. We are not some Starbucks-sucking kids (even though we do love our Starbucks coffee).
Millennials are now dominating the workforce. Yet many companies are still not catering to the wants and needs of the new generation. I have worked in many companies in my life. I have had the pleasure of being a true millennial and not stay in a company for too long. My reasons are most companies still do not understand what a millennial is and what they need to do to retain this new generation of employees.
What is a millennial? You can understand what a millennial is from this info graph made by Goldman Sachs explaining what a millennial is and how they think. You can find the link here.
Most companies - not all - I worked for were dominated by baby-boomers. Baby-boomers need to understand what a millennial is and how they think. If you are a manager of a company and still go with the notion that millennial are spoiled children who are way too self-entitled, get ready to lose your best and brightest. Millennials are known to be less loyal to companies they work for. Of course this does not apply to all millennials, but I do agree with the research done on this matter.
As the baby-boomers head into retirement, a huge gap will be left for the new millennials to fill in the workforce. Companies really need to think about this.
What can a company do to retain their millennial?
Retaining an employee is quite important. Letting go of professional employees can be very costly for a company and will run a company down into the ground with time. You can read more on the cost of turnover here.
So to answer the question above, for a company to retain its employees they really need to step up and make them happy. Gone are the days of our parents. Gone are the days of "be happy you have a job". Those days are fading away quite quickly. A company now has to work overtime to make its workforce happy. Studies have shown that a happy employee benefits a company more
1- Sit and listen to your employees.
Listening is a skill that many managers lack. Many managers love to talk but not many love to listen. Communication is gold here. Millennials love to share their thoughts on many matters. Taking the time to listen can save you a lot of heartache, and money too. Many managers lack the simple skills that can help retain employees. Working in a company is a lot like marriage, not many would stay in an emotionally neglectful marriage.
To hone your managerial skills, you can check out this article: Top 10 Mistakes Managers Make Managing People
2- Help your millennials develop professionally
Being a millennial in this age and time is not easy. Most millennials need more than one degree to make ends meet. If you build a company where your employees cannot grown and learn, they will leave for better opportunities. I love companies that give me - the employee - a chance to grow. Taking controlled risks with their employees can be quite rewarding for a company.
3- Build a work environment where millennials can develop a better work-life balance
My first career was a teacher. I loved being a teacher. Yet after 10 years of doing it I felt smothered. Most companies I worked for started increasing the workload and salaries faltered behind. Work became exhausting, prep times started taking over my life and my family time, and companies started skipping on overtime and prep-work pay. As a result I left the profession and changed careers. Now I argue with companies on ways to help the new generation of teachers balance their work and life.
Many companies still believe in the old ways of teaching. No technology is allowed in speeding up prep-work and no technology is encouraged in dealing with the stress that comes from doing the job. For a millennial I had more options out there for me and so I left.
For a company to retain its millennials, they need to prepare for the new generation of teachers; new generation of teachers Use Google Classroom and tablets in the classroom. They help teachers increase speed and productivity. If you as a manager do not know anything about technology, get ready to lose your new generation of employees. The new generation of customers need someone who understands them.
4- Be part of the community
For as a millennial I love knowing that my hard work is benefiting my community and society in the long run. Do not get wrong, profit is great but giving back is even better. Millennials are known to be givers. Millennials are a very charitable generation - check out this article by CNBC. Your company needs to be a part of society. It needs to speak the same language as millennials do. If all you think is how to get every little dime out of your client and not give any in return, you will face the harsh truth of seeing your employees fade away slowly.
5- Use technology
Millennials are known for being big lovers of technology, and no, Millennials are not anti-social. They just love to socialize differently. For you to build a happy work environment for your millennials, you need to give technology a chance. Technology attracts Millennials. Want to see how? Head to your nearest Apple store and you will understand. Millennials are born into technology and apps. If your company is still stuck in the paper-age, your team will suffer.
I remember one of things that drove me insane while teaching is finding materials. Most schools hold their entire curriculum in binders. For me to find what I am looking for I need to search for hours (I am being very frank here) to find what I need. After I spend hours sifting through the binders, I need to spend hours preparing my lesson. This is too cumbersome for a generation that relies on speed. Some readers might see Millennials as lazy because of this, but speed if everything today. A client who demands speed requires and company that understands what speed is. Speed is the result of technology done right.