A major problem companies face today is retaining the fast-growing millennial workforce. Currently, one in three workers are millennials and they have surpassed Generation X as the largest labor force in the US. Given that 60 percent of these millennials leave their company in less than three years and have a price tag between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace, it makes for a very expensive revolving door.
Many companies also have intellectual property they need to protect, and employees stealing these valuable ideas is a real and serious threat. Luckily, asking a simple question can help stop these issues before they start: what do millennials demand in a career?
Must-Have Career Factors
Nolan Kier, a Project Manager and Business Development Associate at Messapps, says he and much of his team are a growing group of successful millennials. He has found that one central aspect of “millennial culture” is their ability to have “sporadic creativity.”
Millennials are a creative bunch of big thinkers. They have been surrounded by the internet from a young age which has become an impetus for their creative thinking. The world is literally at their fingertips making their career perspectives broader, even more global, than generations before. It is beneficial for companies to offer a space for these ideas to be shared and expanded upon.
“Millennials have a lot of ideas and creativity that can be harnessed,” Kristen Steele, a millennial and youngest member of the executive team at Bookmasters, tells MiLLENNiAL. “While not every idea will work out, those companies who won’t take the time to listen in the first place are doing themselves a disservice.”
Today’s companies can foster real solutions if they set up a space for teamwork and brainstorming. Millennials who are appreciated for their creativity and given the chance to work in a company where their individuality can shine is fundamental to retaining them, which is key when millennials offer companies a direct tap into market trends they would be smart to utilize.
Steele believes that more than anything, companies need to be open-minded and willing to collaborate, even to their younger talent. Millennials crave an environment where their ideas can flourish. If a company requires employees to check their individuality at the door, they also will likely see millennials checking out entirely.
Matt Cosgriff, the intrapreneur behind Lifewise Advisors, has first-hand experience working with millennials. He says one way that this generation has changed the workplace stems from their demand for autonomy.
“Giving millennials autonomy is critical,” Cosgriff says, “[this knowledge] has been transformative in my push to help our company become more forward thinking and innovative when it comes to serving millennials.”
Although it might not seem like a good idea to allow a new employee the power to self-govern, Cosgriff argues that putting this responsibility on millennials is a way to keep them feeling motivated and passionate in their position.
One way that companies have been giving millennials and their employees more freedom is by offering flexible workspaces and schedules. A survey released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that Americans are working remotely now more than ever before, with 23 percent completing all or some of their work from home.
“Millennials don’t subscribe to the idea that they have to be in the office to work,” Cosgriff adds, “and they especially don’t subscribe to the notion that the proverbial 9 to 5 is still effective.”
Hannah Quesnell, a millennial working for Mungo Creative Group, sees her generation as highly mobile individuals who no longer consider their time equal to money, but instead as a limited resource they must spend wisely and manage actively. Organizations that recognize this need for career flexibility are better placed to attract millennials by creating environments where people and business can thrive.
A report by Millennial Branding found 45 percent of millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay. Many companies have made this option by allowing their employees to work remotely a certain percentage of time or even entirely. New software like HipChat and Slack give companies the ability to communicate with all their employees and mobilize people away from their offices and the confinement of regular working hours.
“Millennials want to have an impact, and they want to help make change both at their companies and in the world,” Cosgriff says. “It’s so important companies allow millennials to dig into their work from day one. This generation wants to have an impact and isn’t willing to wait a decade to start making one.”
Cosgriff emphasizes how important it is to give millennials enough opportunities to take part in projects they are passionate about. Statistics paint a similar picture and show a substantial shift toward an impact-centered economy in the last decade. Social entrepreneurship has greatly increased; once an unknown concept, it is now a popular program offered at more than 30 business schools.
It’s not only millennials who are socially conscious as well; consumers are also becoming increasingly more aware and concerned with how their lifestyles affect the environment. As a corollary of this growing awareness, businesses should begin using techniques that find solutions to social problems their employees and customers care about. Today’s social entrepreneurs no longer measure performance merely on profit and return especially when their central goal is taking into account their positive return to society.
“Prospective millennial’s will examine how an employer’s brand image and values reflect their own,”says Quesnell, “and with the ever-growing concern about protecting the environment for future generations, a company’s approach to sustainability will play a key recruitment role.”
Today, young people want to be passionate about their work and believe they are making a compelling impact on the world. Companies can deliver on this by clearly defining a purpose their employees can easily identify. Making millennials an integral part of the company’s mission will keep them feeling empowered, and by improving these areas and appealing to the millennial generation, businesses can continue to gain customers and still attract top talent.