How to motivate and retain Millennial employees

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Most researchers consider millennials to be those born between 1981 and 1995. Going well into their 30s, they’re no longer the future of the workforce (that’s Generation Z) but they are very much the present – now making up a dominant 35% of the UK workforce.  

Why is the Millennial generation so important for your business? 

Not only are Millennials the biggest group in today’s workforce, but over the next decade they’re only going to become more dominant – they’re expected to account for a whopping 58% by 2029. And as 57% of Millennials aren’t planning to retire before the age of 65, and 12% not planning to retire at all, they’ll be working for at least the next 30 to 40 years.

Making up the majority of today’s pool of talent, it makes sense that employers should be looking at ways to attract the best Millennial talent, and create a workplace that they not only want to work in, but one they want to stay in.

Millennials: the job-hopping generation  

But it’s easier said than done. Millennials are often considered the ‘job-hopping generation’, with 43% of them expecting to leave their current job within two years, and only 28% expecting to stay beyond five. And it’s no surprise as modern digital advances mean employees have instant access to a vast range of employment opportunities, and they simply don’t need to stick around if they know there’s a better offer around the corner.

Employers who don’t take action to retain their Millennial employees are risking a continual cycle of turnover costs, lost productivity and a lack of long-standing employees who truly know the company inside and out.

Understanding Millennials

There are a number of characteristics unique to Millennials, both bringing value to your company and presenting challenges too.

Statistics show that some of their typical traits are:

  • Impatience: They’re used to having instant access to news, information and feedback – particularly thanks to social media. So it’s no surprise that 91% of Millennials want to receive formal feedback at least every six months, and 60% of these would prefer it to be every one to three months
  • Individualism: More so than previous generations, they’re most concerned with the impact they’ve personally made at work than the overall company performance
  • Stress: Research shows that millennials are more stressed at work than older generations. And around a third of Millennials said they felt stress made them less productive, compared to a fifth of their older peers  
  • Career-driven: 91% of Millennials’ workplace priority is rapid career progression – and 21%  will leave their employer if they don’t feel they’re being challenged enough
  • Well-educated: They’re the most educated generation with 63% of them either having, or planning for, a formal education
  • Familiar with technology: And what they use is important to them – 53% of Millennials said they are more likely to take up a job with an employer who uses the same technology as they do
  • They want to have fun: 75% of them consider an engaging and fun workplace as an important aspect of the job, and they place importance on socialising with colleagues outside of work. 90% of Millennial employees will research a potential employer’s company culture in advance
  • Socially, financially and ethically conscious: Millennials want to work in a business that improves society, and research suggests that one reason they’re leaving employers is due to their lack of faith in their company’s ethics. Health conscious. Concerned with both physical and mental wellbeing, one of the most desired work benefits for this generation is preventative health initiatives

How to retain Millennials within your company  

So, how do you persuade this generation of employees not to leave you? Well, the more your company can support their career, personal and wellbeing needs, the more likely they’ll be to stick around. Not only will they feel valued, cared for and appreciated – but they’ll be less likely to find a better offer elsewhere!

Here are some steps you can take to motivate and retain them:

Establish a clear development plan
As Millennials are eager for rapid carer progression, provide them with personalised development plans. Discuss achievable yearly or monthly objectives and establish actions and training opportunities to help them get there. Creating more steps in the career ladder can also help them feel they’re progressing quickly.

Challenge them
As Millennials are career-driven, well-educated and individualistic, they’re going to want to be challenged and stimulated at work. Review their development plan and current workload monthly, and offer new opportunities where possible – like presenting in senior meetings or managing larger projects over time. Discuss what skills they’re keen to work on and what they’d be interested in trying. 

Mental health support
Consider offering a 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme or mental health helpline, providing round-the-clock access to professional help and support fora range of issues including stress and anxiety.

Create a fun and social company culture
Organise and encourage social company events and consider creating social spaces in the office, such as break-out areas and a communal canteen for team lunches. Ask for feedback on what type of socials your employees would like to see.

Work-life balance
Millennials also want to have fun outside of work – so make sure they can maintain a good work-life balance and have an appropriate amount of time off for breaks. 64% of millennials would quit their job if they found it too difficult to take time off (including holidays and sick days).

Be flexible 
Their familiarity with technology means they’re comfortable working remotely – 74% of them do so already. Offering flexible working policies can help them feel trusted and valued, as well as helping them to maintain a better work-life balance.

Millennials may be the biggest generation in the workforce today, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s all about them (though they might disagree!). Every business needs a diverse mix of skills and experience to truly thrive. Find out how to manage a multigenerational workforce and their wellbeing needs by downloading our free employer’s guide today. 

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