Millennials are poised to drive the future of business. The 53.5 million-strong millennial workforce has risen rapidly and surpassed Generation X to represent the largest share of the American workforce. Millennials offer truly unique skills and fresh, innovative ideas. They are highly educated, adaptable, tech-savvy and quick learners. Their skills and attitude are crucial for businesses seeking to innovate, compete successfully and stay relevant in today's rapidly changing, technology-driven world.
Despite the huge number of millennials in the workforce, hiring managers quickly learn that finding and retaining millennial talent is a lot easier said than done. Attracting and retaining the right millennial talent is critical. Here are six surefire components that every business owner and manager must understand to successfully direct and retain millennials to their business.
1. Create a dynamic millennial culture.
Companies continue to struggle to retain millennials. As a result, it costs them a lot of money and productivity that they could be saving if they created a stronger and more congruent millennial culture to support them. The cost of replacing a millennial employee ranges from $15,000 – $20,000. To attract and keep millennial talent, you must position your company as an industry leader in-tune with millennial wants, needs and behavioral patterns. With the increased adoption of new technologies, globalization, automation and a roller coaster economy, the modern workplace is in a state of constant flux. Companies must create a culture conducive to the millennial mindset if they are to keep their millennial employees engaged and motivated to do their best work. Culture doesn’t just eat strategy for lunch, it devours it. When you have the right culture, you don’t have to persuade anybody to do anything. A meaningful mission isn’t optional anymore.
2. Encourage internal innovation.
Millennials want to develop, create, contribute and innovate. They want to make an impact. These very qualities will fuel your business' growth and influence. By encouraging internal innovation -- acting as an entrepreneur inside of a large corporation - these concepts will materialize organically and are essential to their overall happiness. Millennials are strongly influenced by how innovative a company is when deciding if they want to work there. Your business should be unique and different by fostering an atmosphere that allows its employees to work and think differently.
Each quarter, LinkedIn empowers employees to think outside the box to generate the next big, new idea. LinkedIn provides a streamlined and easy to follow path to get their idea approved, and even provides the employees up to three months to dedicate turning the internally generated idea into something that helps leverage and scale the company.
Not only will your business benefit by leveraging Millennials’ entrepreneurship desires, but this will help you retain them as employees.
3. Freedom and flexibility focus.
Millennials are different -- they need to be. They are not only changing industries but they are creating new ones. They have the skill sets required to be highly successful in a technology-driven world where workdays are infinite, change is the new normal, responses are required instantly and freedom and flexibility are at a premium. Millennials don't need or want parameters. They want to color outside the lines. They crave experience and opportunities more than assets.
Create systems that allow them to work remotely and travel often, if deserving. Giving them the opportunity to have unique experiences outside of the normal workplace while still working on behalf of your company, they are less likely to look outside of your company to stay engaged or to obtain similar opportunities. Millennials are more adaptable, creative, independent and solo-oriented than any generation that preceded them. To maximize their talents, they must be given as much freedom and flexibility as needed to unleash their true potential.
4. Integrity and congruence from the leaders.
Is what’s promoted in your marketing material congruent to the interview and actual opportunity? One of the biggest reasons for bad retention is expectations of the team member not being met or something being falsely promoted or exaggerated. Treat millennials like investors in your business. You must be as transparent and honest as possible throughout the entire recruiting and hiring process.
Leaders lose trust and respect quickly when they aren't doing what they promote. If you promote being on time but show up late, credibility is lost. Millennials have acute “BS meters.” Inauthenticity doesn’t set well with them.
5. Community and networking opportunities.
People will quit a job but they won’t quit a relationship. Our survey of more than 400 very qualified, young professionals from our Game Changer's Academy made it very clear they choose a company to elevate their networks and join a dynamic community. Networking is more important than it’s ever been. Companies that make networking a part of their community attract exceptional young talent. When you attract people who are driven by purpose instead of money, it creates a very strong bond within the organization.
You must offer professional development, networking and social events that are tailored towards the young professional. These opportunities and groups provide fertile ground for new ideas and innovation. Through these opportunities, millennials can better grow, contribute and feel empowered.
6. Make your business about something.
Millennials are just as driven by the why as they are by the what. There has never been a better time in the history of our economy to create businesses that matter. Millennials want to be a part of this impact. They need more than a big salary to motivate their work. Millennials want to be holistically motivated, inspired and engaged. Plans are failing left and right, while movements are thriving.
This is one way to instantly differentiate your business from the rest when trying to attract top talent. Find a charity or cause that is important to and congruent with your company's mission, then donate a portion or a percentage of all your sales to them. If you can sell your product or services and make a difference, then everyone wins. Your employees are yearning to be part of something bigger than themselves is fulfilled. Millennials know, and I can tell you from experience, that life becomes much more fulfilling when you become involved in a movement or a cause that is greater than yourself. The "making businesses matter" movement has arrived - are you going to be a spectator or a player?
Millennials are highly educated, career-driven, entrepreneurial spirited, and–despite popular belief–do indeed develop steadfast loyalty when presented with an opportunity where they can shine.