Give Millennials a Reason to Stay
May 26th, 2015 by tds admin
A critical factor for your organization’s success is finding new employees to fill the gap created by retiring Baby Boomers, and, more importantly, to retain these new employees. Millennials are rapidly filling those gaps. If you have invested time and effort training and developing them, you do not want them walking out with valuable knowledge and skills – perhaps to a competitor.
Start a mentoring program
A mentoring relationship is basically where you have trust between two individuals, one of whom is more experienced in the organization than the other, and is giving him or her insight and guidance.
There are benefits to this kind of arrangement. It gives the mentees someone to bounce their ideas off of, someone to give them feedback, someone to provide impartial advice, someone who can share their real-world experience, someone who can share their network of contacts, someone to help with important career decisions, and someone to help develop the mentee into a leader.
Offer workplace flexibility
Most organizations don’t think that job flexibility influences retention; usually the main reason cited for low retention has to do with pay. But job flexibility is a huge motivator for millennials to stay on board.
One kind of job flexibility we’re familiar with is flexible hours, where the company may require that at certain core hours, say, 11-3, the employee needs to be at the office but when they come in for the rest of the 40 hours is up to them. Or, perhaps they don’t have to actually come in for the rest of the 40 hours, but may telecommute. Or they can work 4-10s, etc.
When an organization is serious about offering job flexibility, it can put the onus on the employee to make it work. Invite employees to design the flexible work arrangements they want. After all, if the employee has been in that position for some time already, they know better than anyone what hours they need to spend at the office to get their work done, and whether telecommuting will even work, so let the employee propose the flexible schedule. And my advice is to have the employee present the business case for why job flexibility is a good option for them. If it’s put on the supervisor to figure out the logistics and the business case and expected outcomes, the easiest thing is to just say, “I don’t see how that will work, so: no…”
Employees should let their supervisors know they can be trusted with job flexibility. Some bosses may fear that if the employee is telecommuting, they will be less productive. How does the boss know that the employee is getting anything done, and not taking naps during work hours? Here, the employee needs to have a way to demonstrate to their boss that they are being productive with their flexible work schedule. They should keep records of what work they are doing and when. There needs to be accountability for how they spend their time and whether they are being productive. Have the employee them try it out, and see if it works. And the employee will really show the business case for flexibility if they keep track of their productivity. If the employee can measure their productivity before and after the schedule change, then they can prove the experiment worked. And if it works, both the employer and employee will want to keep it going.
How and when you provide feedback will make an impact on Millennials. Provide frequent and positive feedback. Let them know you value the work they do. If not told their work is valued, they may assume it is not, and begin to feel unappreciated. Focus on the positive while providing constructive ways to improve the negative.
- With feedback, timing is everything. It is ironic that we frequently handle timing better with our household pets than our employees, but the same basic principle holds true: feedback should occur immediately whether the employee does something right or wrong.
- You do not need to gloss over any mistakes they make, but it is necessary to focus on the positive.
- When providing negative feedback, avoid making it personal. Focus on the work itself and not the employee who made it. For example, if a report is filled out wrong, discuss the approach or process, not the employee. “Box C was checked, but it should be Box D” communicates how to fix the problem without making it personal, while “You checked Box C, but you should have checked Box D” is more negative and makes the correction personal.
- And finally, keep feedback specific. “This project was done wrong” is not the kind of feedback that will help an employee do better next time. Make sure you are specific about what on the project went right and what went wrong.
Read more in our white paper, Retaining Millennials.
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