Retaining Millennials

Vol. 15 No. 4

head eletter vol15 no4 millennial

Millennials are now the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, superseding Gen Xers and the rapidly retiring Boomers. The Internet has been trying to prepare us for this moment for years, publishing article after article about adapting the workplace for Millennials. It was hard to know what to listen to and what to shrug off. After all, this was a generation still in high school and college, how could they know what they want in a workplace—they hadn’t experienced it yet. However, the moment has arrive—now we must listen to this generation’s differing needs or we will find ourselves with extremely low employee retention.

Communication. SuccessFactors surveyed 1,400 Millennials in the workplace. They found that these employees are looking for feedback from their supervisors more than any other previous generation. They view their bosses as their number one source of development, and rely on this information to grow their professional skills and improve performance. They want to discuss both their strengths and failures, and appreciate a boss who is approachable and easy to connect with.

Purpose. Millennials look for meaning behind their work. They strive to better the cause, not necessarily the institution. Companies with a strong mission and core values will appeal most to this generation, and team building exercises and meetings where information is both openly shared and relevant to the "higher cause" will motivate and inspire them.

Mentoring. This generation wants to learn from others who have experience and shared interests. They value working in diverse environments and peer groups. They don’t like being told how to do something, however. Instead, they value working with peers who can teach them ways to accomplish tasks and let them problem-solve on their own.

Balance. This generation has no problem working longer hours to support a "higher cause", but they value work-life balance and expect a healthy compromise between long hours and family/personal time. In fact, in a report conducted by USA Today, 25–35 year-olds said they’d be willing to give up an average of $7,600 in pay for a better work situation.

Professional development. According to recent survey conducted by EdAssist, 60% of Millennials would rather take a job that offered regular professional development over one with regular pay raises. This group also prefers to work for an organization that offers a climbable ladder. They would rather receive promotions without salary increases than regular raises.

Fair paycheck. It seems that with all the above points, Millennials care less about money than they do work-life balance and working for a higher purpose. However, they do need to support their lifestyle. Resources such as Glassdoor make it easy to see who is offering more money, more professional development, and a better work environment. Millennials will remain loyal to their personal missions first and foremost, and will find positions that support their lifestyles.

Additional ISM articles of interest:
The Source for Business and Operations Vol. 6 No. 3 Attracting and Retaining Millennials: Rethinking Your School Values
The Source for School Heads Vol. 12 No. 9 Attracting Exceptional Teachers
The Source for Private School News Vol. 13 No. 1 Stereotypes of Generation Y and—ooh, Shiny!

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