What Is Scaring Millennial Superstars Away From Your Company?

If you're having trouble attracting the best of the best to your company, the results of a recent survey might tell you why.

According to research from Lee Hecht Harrison, millennials are twice as likely as older employees to share their thoughts and feelings about their employers. This is great news if your millennial employees love your organization, but not if your company has failed to prioritize employee engagement and employee experience.

According to the Lee Hecht Harrison survey, 33 percent of millennials say negative reviews from employees would deter them from applying to an organization. What's more, this inquisitive demographic is more inclined to actively seek out the opinions of current and former employees, with 75 percent of millennials in the survey reporting they do exactly that before applying.

The proliferation of social media has made employers more transparent, with sites like Glassdoor and LinkedIn providing windows into the average workday and the lives of employees at organizations across industries. This has turned the tables in recruiting. Now, companies must do all they can to ensure employees are engaged, content, and motivated while at work.

If you have noticed a decline in quality candidates applying to your company and your reputation is suffering as a result, you may want to turn your attention to your existing performance management system and company processes. If your employees – both current and prospective – are dissatisfied, one or more of the following factors may be the culprit:

1. You Have Old-Fashioned Attitudes Toward Flexible Work

Times are changing, and the 9-5 workday is dying. Companies that are unable or unwilling to adopt flexible work practices will likely fail in this new climate. A survey from CV-Library found flexible work to be the top workplace perk, with 47.2 percent of respondents citing it as a desirable perk. The survey also found that 62.1 percent of candidates strongly considered workplace perks when looking for new jobs, which means the perks an employer offers can seriously make a difference in the talent it attracts.

Thanks to modern technology, physical presence in an office is not always necessary. Communication tools like Slack keep teams connected, while performance management software allows managers to keep an eye on company progress. To afford your employees a better workplace experience, consider providing flexible work hours or telecommuting options. This will demonstrate that you're respectful of work/life balance, which in turn will impact overall morale.

2. You're Not Giving Employees the Feedback They Need

When was the last time you revamped your performance appraisals? Performance management and employee motivation are rapidly evolving fields. Simply selecting a process and steadfastly sticking to it is not the ideal approach. For years, we believed the traditional annual performance appraisal was the way to go. Recently, however, companies large and small have been shifting toward continuous performance management and regular performance discussions instead.

As a result, employees are finally being given the feedback they crave. They're able to develop working relationships with their managers, which can seriously impact engagement levels. Without feedback, employees are working blind. With added coaching and frequent check-ins, your managers can empower, reassure, and guide your workforce toward excellence.

3. Recognition for Hard Work Isn't a Priority

The value of regular recognition cannot be overlooked. We know by now that in order for an employee to feel truly engaged, they need to receive more than a paycheck. They need to feel appreciated and valued as part of a team.

Recognizing employees isn't hard. It can begin with a simple "Thank you" every once in a while.

As it turns out, millennials want recognition and positive reinforcement even more than they want financial perks or other bonuses. When employees toil away for months on end without a word of appreciation, their engagement is likely to take a nosedive -- and they'll certainly share this information with prospective candidates.

4. You're Not Being Transparent With Your Employees

We spend the majority of our lives at work, and we all want to feel like important parts of our companies. We want to keep up to date with all pressing concerns and the overall direction of the organization. We don't want to feel like we're being denied important information that pertains to us and our roles. Keep these facts in mind when it comes to transparency in your company.

Treat your organization as an organism: No one part is more important than another. Be honest and open with your employees, who will appreciate your forthright policy. Employees will be better able to align their personal objectives with the company's when they have a more thorough understanding of the company as a whole and its organizational aims.

5. You're Not Working With Your Employees to Create Clear SMART Objectives

How can employees be truly engaged and motivated when they're uncertain of their objectives? According to Gallup, only half of employees actually know exactly what is expected of them at work. When this is the case, employees are being set up for failure.

Work alongside your employees to carefully construct reasonable SMART objectives. Put your employees in charge and allow them to determine their own goals. When employees have more autonomy, they are also more driven and determined to succeed in the long run. They'll also be happier, more engaged, and more likely to speak highly of their workplace.


The lesson organizations should learn is that greater transparency is good news. It keeps our companies accountable, prompts us to correct negative employee experiences, and pushes us to constantly improve existing processes. In order for our businesses to be the best they can be -- and to attract top talent -- we should all look to implement systems that allow for the quick exchange of opinion, insight, and feedback.

Stuart Hearn is CEO of Clear Review.