As more and more millennials enter their careers, they bring with them a new set of values, skills, and perceptions of what makes an ideal work environment. According to research from IO Sustainability and Babson College, millennials will comprise 50 percent of the workforce by 2020. For employers, attracting these young minds is one thing, but retaining them is another, more difficult thing.
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The millennial generation is used to constant change, communication at their fingertips, and endless opportunities. According to the Deloitte 2015 Global Mobile Consumer Survey, 97 percent of 18-24-year-olds look at their phones within three hours of waking up. Technology use sets millennials apart from other generations; they grew up in a world where almost every aspect of their lives was bound in some way to a handheld device.
But just because this generation uses technology extensively, that doesn't mean that it is a generation of robots. Instead, millennials prioritize family life, personal relationships, and helping others far above money and job success.
The millennial concern with personal relationships and philanthropy will soon shape the workforce. In light of this, we have to ask: How can employers attract millennials and keep them from job hopping? According to the Pew Research Center, nearly six in ten millennials say they have already switched careers at least once. If employers want to retain millennials, they need to evolve to accommodate this generation. Here are three fresh approaches to bringing millennials to the workplace and keeping them there:
1. Give Them Mentors
Millennials are confident and empowered because they have failed many times and have worked hard to learn from those failures. If there is a problem, millennials want to be a part of the solution.
Millennials value employer-employee relationships built on constant feedback and honesty. In the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 76 percent of millennials reported high levels of satisfaction with creative, inclusive work cultures, rather than more authoritarian, rules-based environments. Millennial employees don't want to work for the boss; they want to work with the boss.
Mentorship programs can facilitate the sorts of inclusive and collaborative environments that millennials crave. They don't need gold stars or constant praise; what they need is advice and reinforcement. They want to know how their work affects the company directly – both good and bad. The right mentor will be willing to learn about millennials' values and build honest and supportive relationships that increase their job satisfaction and feelings of loyalty.
Related: Workers Start Looking for New Opportunities Within their First Three Months on the Job
2. Step Up Your Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts
Millennials need more from their jobs than just paychecks. In fact, the IO Sustainability/Babson College research cited above states that 45 percent of millennials would take a pay cut in exchange for a job that makes a social or environmental impact. Compared to previous generations, fewer millennials see financial success as the most important factor when looking for a new opportunity. They want to work for companies that have strong values that align with their own, and they want to know that they are making positive impacts in their communities.
In addition to attracting and retaining millennials, effective corporate social responsibility management can also increase revenues by up to 20 percent and enhance an organization's brand and reputational value by 11 percent, according to IO Sustainability and Babson College. Not only will employees find more engagement and satisfaction in their work, but customers will also notice and value the company's philanthropic efforts.
3. Offer Flexibility and Developmental Opportunities
Millennials are constantly looking for change and opportunity, so why not provide them with more of those things within your company? That way, they won't have to go looking elsewhere (i.e., at your competitors).
In the workplace, millennials value work/life balance, the option to work remotely, and the chance to contribute to valuable projects. It is important to figure out what your young employees' long-term goals are and ensure that they are given work that helps them achieve those goals.
Goals and opportunities look different at every company. For some, this could mean having the opportunity to travel and learn a different side of the business. Others may be interested in perks, incentives, or even a free day to explore the company. Allow employees to start new committees to increase employee engagement and encourage departments to collaborate with other departments, giving employees the opportunity to constantly learn and develop new skills.
The millennial generation is no longer the future of work – it is the present. The workforce is changing and will continue to change as more millennials graduate college and begin their careers. The competition to hire these highly-educated individuals is strong. Stand out by embracing the values that are important to millennials and advocate for them every step of the way. Invest in the millennial mindset, and the millennials will invest in you.
Alaina Anderson is an intern at Combined Insurance.