The youngest generation in today’s workforce, Millennials or Generation Y, has brought new challenges to companies. These 20 and 30-somethings are the largest generation in human history and will comprise 40 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are driven, task-oriented, social and technologically savvy. They are also impatient, entitled and quick to change employers if they don’t feel they are advancing their careers sufficiently.
Seventy percent of Millennials leave a new job before the first two years, a turnover rate twice as high as other generations, according to Experience.com. If businesses want to attract and retain this enormous pool of talent, they have to start tailoring their workplace to meet their needs and capture their loyalty.
Here are four keys to understanding and attracting Millennials:
- Create and espouse a corporate mission, vision or set of values. Many Millennials want to work for businesses or a cause they believe in. Many grew up in broken homes, and they witnessed corporate and political corruption and abuse of power, as well as significant tragedies like 9/11 and the Columbine shooting. Whether you sell food, services or healthcare, branding is important; frame your business with an upbeat, positive mission.
- Provide flexible benefits. Millennials greatly value personalization. They grew up being able to fit technology around their needs, and expect the same in other parts of life. Allow them to have input into the packages you offer. Whole Foods earns points with employees by allowing them to vote every three years on the benefits packages it offers.
- Present a clear career path and offer continued education. Millennials are notoriously impatient and individualistic when it comes to their careers. Don’t expect them to stay in the same job for very long, without offering ways for them to advance their careers. Convenience stations historically have very high turnover rates. However, Quick Trip reversed that trend around by offering (among other things) a career path for all new employees, while only hiring managers from within.
- Be flexible about Millennials’ schedules and honor a work/life balance. Modern technology has made it possible for people to do their jobs in countless different ways/times/places. It has also allowed work to infringe more on people’s off-hours. Recognize that. Allow workers to be involved in creating a schedule that meets their needs. Be respectful of off hours and family responsibilities. These steps will inspire a more loyal and happy work force.