How to manage and keep Millennials in your business

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They’re the youngest generation in today’s workforce. And just as soon as you’ve trained them up they’re likely to leave. They are the “Millennials”, the generation born between 1980 and 2000.

By 2025, Millennials are expected to make up 75% of the workforce but a recent global survey by Deloitte found the majority of businesses were unprepared for this changing workforce.

Millennials need to be managed in a different way because they are so different from the generations that have come before them.

Millennials are confident, demanding and open to change. They grew up immersed in technology and instant communication.

Their expectations for work are sky-high, which is why it can be so difficult to recruit Millennials and then manage them so they stay in your business.

Millennials don’t see any job as being forever, but here are some tips on getting them to stay in your job for more than a year.

The turnover problem

Social researcher Mark McCrindle told SmartCompany high turnover of Millennial (also known as Generation Y) staff members is a key problem for businesses.

“While in the past the goal would be five to ten years in a job, with this generation it is close to two years,” he says.

McCrindle says Millennials are staying a shorter period of time in roles which causes problems.

“While some transition in workforce allows new ideas, with high turnover comes a lack of corporate knowledge and instability.”

McCrindle estimates Millennials will have 17 separate employers in their life time.

“There is more career mobility as this is a multi-career generation,” he says.

What drives them?

In order to get Millennial employees to stay for longer you need to find out what is driving them.

Abiramie Sathiamoorthy, E&I People Solutions co-director, says financial rewards matter but so do non-monetary rewards.

“Money isn’t always necessarily the biggest motivator for this demographic, who tend to be more socially and environmentally conscious,” she says.

“Belonging to startups and brands that are perceived to be doing things out of the box, innovative and on the ‘rising star’ list are often appealing factors for Millennials.”

Sathiamoorthy recommends letting Millennials in on the bigger picture, including where the business is headed and the exciting things in store as a “really effective motivator “and method of retention.

“Knowing that they can contribute and be a part of the future success of a business is a good reason to stick around.”

Right in the middle of the Millennial generation, 23-year-old Gen George has built her recruitment business, One Shift, on catering to Millennials.

George says people’s mindsets about work are changing and young people in particular have different desires than previous generations.

“It’s not what the Australian dream was years ago. People’s stories have changed, as they’re taking gap years, changing degrees, going overseas, moving cities and changing jobs – there are not set paths to success anymore,” she says.

Set goals

Millennials grew up with instant gratification in the form of fast food, text messaging and the internet.

In the workplace this means Millennials can get bored quickly if the next goal or achievement seems too far away.

Organisational creativity expert Ken Hudson says it’s best to set goals for Millennials which allow them to use their creativity.  So you set a goal, explain the importance of the goal to build greater transparency and trust and agree the ‘what’ (the goals and objectives) but leave the ‘how’ to the Millennials.

“This builds more engagement and allows some freedom of action,” he says.

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Cara Waters is the former editor of SmartCompany. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter at the Financial Times website FT Adviser in London and she also worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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  • wormseye

    Not actually so. They will settle in, as have all previous imaginary ‘new wave’ work force candidates, once they come to appreciate that their ‘chop and change’ CVs eventually render them further unemployable.