The Five Secrets to Retaining Millennial Talent

The job market is definitely heating up. Millennials, now the largest demographic in the American workforce, are moving into leadership positions. Wired from birth, Millennials have different expectations than their older colleagues, and those expectations are shaping how successful companies manage HR functions.

Gaps in what the Millennial generation wants versus what an employer is offering can make or break an organization’s advancement. What exactly are the most important Millennial needs that should be addressed?

We looked at SilkRoad’s “Millennial Secrets Survey 2015” to try and understand the difficulties inherent in balancing Millennial expectations, as well as the secrets to retaining this valuable and growing workforce. We also explored how to close the big gaps that currently exist between what Millennials want and what employers are apt to dole out.

The fact is, despite the continued complaining by some members of older generations, Millennials will dominate the workplace for quite some time. Organizations should recognize their needs and embrace the challenges that come with blending different generations into one efficient, satisfied workforce.

Mentoring is key, but it doesn’t look like it used to. Mentoring has been around for generations. However, to create an effective relationship with a Millennial means erasing perceptions of a wise, older advisor who is automatically given respect by a younger colleague. Instead, think of it as a two-way street, with both parties learning from each other, and discussing matters on equal terms.

To successfully mentor a Millennial, it’s important to connect their own role in your organization to company goals and highlight the mutual benefits. You’ll need to manage their expectations of rapid advancement with a more realistic scope. You’ll also want to embrace new ideas, not just new technology, which can be a huge benefit to both of you.

Connect training to their own career goals. Since professional development is something that Millennials crave, you need to connect the training you provide them to their own career advancement. Make sure to set realistic expectations, and again, embrace technology in your training programs. They need to feel that they can offer up their ideas, and that you both share an understanding of company values.

Technology, Technology, Technology. Millennials’ lives are deeply woven with everything tech; it is as much a part of their life as eating and breathing. They expect it to be used throughout all areas of your organization. Even more importantly, it can’t be clunky and hard to navigate. They expect consumer-grade tech, especially for inter-office communications.

In an effort keep Millennials feeling comfortable with your technology, ask their opinion often and be sure to make mobile a priority.

Keep them engaged. The days of the performance review are long gone. Millennials want continual feedback and recognition to feel connected to your organization. This involves connecting daily, and the real need to create a culture to which they feel they belong. Multi-generational teams are a great way to build an engaged work culture, and not only with Millennials. You will have a better chance of retaining Millennial talent if you create a real sense of connection with their co-workers.

Understand your competition. The average Millennial worker is age 25 – 34 and remains with a job for an average of three years. Couple that with the desire for professional development and career advancement, and you can bet that your Millennial employees have their ears to the ground for other opportunities. That doesn’t mean that the job-hopping Millennial stereotype is completely accurate, but it does mean that you need to offer things they really desire, like flexibility, mentorship, current technology, as well as an entrepreneurial culture of innovation.

Millennials make up the majority in the American job force and are transforming the business world right alongside the technology they love so much. To balance their expectations and retain top talent, you can’t simply give lip service to the stereotypes around Millennial expectations. You have to embrace and implement real solutions and foster an environment that is appealing to them as part of your work culture.

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