3 Reasons Millennial Employees Leave—and How to Retain Them

December 18, 2017

Adapt your organisation to better engage Millennial talent

Millennials are the least engaged generation in the workforce, according to a 2016 Gallup Study, ‘How Millennials Want to Work and Live’. A stunning 71% of Millennials were ‘checked out’ and disengaged at work. And 60% were open to finding another job.

Clearly organisations are missing the mark when it comes to engaging and retaining this large generation of employees. The future success of every business will depend on being able to get and keep top Millennial talent, so organisations will need to adapt talent management strategies to better engage these young workers.

Millennials desire a purpose, not just a paycheck

Disengaged Millennials may show up to collect a paycheck, but top talent won’t stay with your organisation for a paycheck alone. They want a purpose for working hard. They value organisations with a real sense of mission that give back to the community and the world.

Millennials want to do big things at work, and purpose has replaced pay as the primary motivation for their careers. You’ll still need to design a good compensation strategy that works for every generation in your workforce, but focus on better communicating your organisation’s purpose to Millennial employees as well as how their jobs fit into that mission.

They want a coach, not a boss

Organisations need to begin training their managers in coaching skills if they want to recruit and retain top Millennial talent. They aren’t looking for a boss to report to—they’re seeking a professional coach who will help them grow and acquire new skillsets.

These employees value what each job can do for their overall development. Because they seek a sense of higher purpose in their work, they want the trajectory of their career to move them into more meaningful areas of work.

Millennials value professional development over perks. They don’t want a company juice bar; they want training options. They expect to learn a lot from every job or they will look for other opportunities.

Millennials desire a coaching type of relationship with managers. They perform best when they receive regular praise and encouragement from their managers. The more frequent the coaching and feedback, the more engaged the employee will become.

They seek ongoing feedback, not an annual review

Millennials do not like the annual performance review process for several reasons. You have to wait an entire year for additional feedback. The goals set in the review often shift throughout the following year. Finally, many performance review processes are designed to point out shortcomings rather than successes.

According to Gallup, consistent feedback, delivered through regular meetings with a manager, will increase an employee’s engagement and performance. However, most organisations are really falling short in this area. Only 21% of Millennials meet weekly with their bosses; 56% meet less than monthly.

There are many employees in the Baby Boom or X generations that would probably find a quarterly or monthly frequency of feedback perfectly adequate. The employees tend to be self-starters who like to feel independent and autonomous. Millennials do not value autonomy in the same way. They prefer to collaborate and work in teams.

Remember that Millennials do not like to focus on improving weaknesses but rather building on their strengths. A study by Gallup revealed that 67% of employees who say their manager focuses on their positive strengths are also engaged in their work.

Develop Millennial friendly talent management processes

Once you know Millennials want coaching, constant feedback, a sense of purpose, inspiration and career development, it’s time to examine how you might accommodate these needs within your talent management processes. Asure’s Human Capital Management consultants  can help—they have expertise in designing performance and talent management strategies for multi-generational workforces. Consultants can analyse your current processes and help you strike the right balance to engage Millennials without turning off Baby Boomers and Generation Xers.