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How Companies Can Attract And Retain Millennial Employees Unless companies strive to understand what motivates millennials, They will not be able to manage youngsters efficiently

By Karan Gupta

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Millennials are soon poised to make up the majority of our workforce. But attracting and retaining millennial talent is one of the biggest challenges companies face today. Previously, organizations relied heavily on monetary incentives to engage their employees. Why? Because these generations had one key focus: to build and maintain their families. For them, a paycheck was enough incentive to join and stay on in a company.

Millennials, on the other hand, are digital natives. They have grown up in an always-connected world and have different priorities in life. They want to be involved in activities that engage their minds and souls. They are optimistic and opinionated. They stay ahead of emerging global trends and are unabashed in their views. Purpose and the desire to drive change in the world: that's what they derive fulfillment from. For them, a job isn't just a job. Want to retain millennials? It takes more than a paycheck.

Unless companies strive to understand what motivates millennials and what they value most in life, they will fail—plenty of times—at retaining them. The real challenge: organizations need to figure out how to change their mindsets to engage millennials.

So let's dive in and take a closer look at how companies can go the extra mile to retain millennials.

  • Positive Company Culture: Millennials want to work for companies where their own goals are in sync with the company's long-term objectives. They're more inclined to work in a company whose vision complements their perception of the world. For example, a company that focuses on sustainability and social responsibility is in a better position to employ a millennial. In fact, a positive workplace culture matters the most to Gen Y when they're starting a new job.

  • Clarity of Direction: Millennials do not have much patience with ambiguity. Knowing where they are heading and how long it will take is a key factor in choosing a career and it will be an important criteria in selecting an employee. Not surprisingly, 91% of millennials want rapid career progression, and 71% strongly believe an employer should provide clear guidelines for earning promotions and bonuses, as per the Robert Walters survey.

  • Invest in Their Development: Training is again a strong strategy to retain high-potential Gen Y employees. Give them access to webinars, cross-training opportunities, and learning platforms that will satisfy their desire for personal and professional growth. When you analyze the employee experience post this, you can build a case for greater investment. Millennials may be "always on'. But celebrate their small wins to motivate them and make them feel they are part of the process. If they feel they're vital components to help a company fulfill its mission, they are more likely to remain with the company for longer than usual. When companies fail to do this, that's when things get difficult.

  • Prepare Them for Industry 4.0: The dawn of Industry 4.0 is making most people in the workforce uneasy but millennials, the generation that most clearly understand this change, will be the generation most affected by it. AI and robots are shaping the future of work. Companies must prioritize the bottom line as well as their Gen Y talent. Equipping them with the necessary skills to tackle Industry 4.0 will foster a sense of loyalty.

Millennials want both development and diversity. They want to work for forward-thinking companies. Companies where the focus is on innovation and creativity, on emotional intelligence, on mentoring and talent development, and on ethics. Companies where business priorities align with those of their employees.

Yes, it's tough and challenging to retain millennials; and, to strike a balance among social concerns, employee success, and profit. But it's not impossible. Companies that understand the power of diversity, flexibility, development, confidence, and motivation will stay ahead of the competition when it comes to attracting and retaining millennials.

Karan Gupta

Managing Director, Zirca Digital Solutions

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