In my last blog about Millennials, I asked the question, “Why are Millennials So Interesting?” My response was that we are only as interesting as the social environment in which our generation was raised. In short, growing up in a diverse, capitalistic, and technologically-driven society enabled us to be the “entitled” and “indecisive” generation that we’re known to be. So now, given that the Millennial generation is here to stay, how do organizations retain Millennials and move forward in a way that builds on our strengths?
Millennials are notorious for jumping from job to job, which means that organizations are constantly having to find and onboard new employees. Ultimately, this is time, effort, and money lost for everyone involved—the recruiter, the team, and the new employee. To progress forward, organizations need to be able to retain their Millennial workforce. How? Let’s start by simply listening to our Millennials. Here are some of the things our generation will tell you:
- “Give us some flexibility.” Millennials see the 9 to 5 workday as a guideline rather than a mandate. With so much technology enabling us to work from remote locations, it’s no longer necessary to be in the office for 8 hours a day. As long as we set the right expectations with our team members and do our jobs as stated, a flexible work schedule could improve both productivity and morale.
- “Replace performance reviews with performance conversations.” Real-time feedback provides opportunities for us to improve as we go, rather than once or twice a year during a formal review. It’s important for us to know how we’re doing so that we can leverage continuous opportunities to learn. In the end, continuous conversations build the trust and engagement required for effective team collaboration.
- “Throw out the traditional hierarchy and invite us into your community.” We’re not asking for a completely flat organization, we’re just asking for inclusion and visibility. Instead of “earning” our seat at the table after multiple years climbing the ladder of meritocracy, let us sit in to observe your meetings or take a charge on a deliverable you need help with. Help us become better employees by being transparent about the goals and direction of your organization.
- “Trust us to do the work you’ve given us.” Provide us some direction and let us run with our ideas. A sense of purpose and leadership (even in the smallest areas) gives us positive reinforcement to exceed your expectations and continue asking for more.
- “Diversify the work and the workforce.” Both are important for keeping us engaged. In times where we have access to so much information, it’s hard not to keep our career options open. Keep the work challenging and provide options for us to move within the company when it makes sense to do so. Acquire talent with various backgrounds that can provide unique perspectives and push your organization to take calculated risks.
After reading this, many people may ask, “Well, why do I have to adapt to Millennials? Why can’t they adapt to us?” Simply answered, “Because this is what the world looks like today”.
Today, we see a strong focus on large-scale data analytics, digitalization, and agile methodologies. As organizations continue to adjust their strategies to adapt to the changing world, they also need to adjust the way their organizations collaborate internally to keep up with the times. Millennials are at the forefront of this movement, not because we’re highly advanced, but simply because it’s in our nature.
By listening to Millennials and breaking out from traditional work ethics, you can help enable your organizations become more resilient to the constant (and often unexpected) changes we currently face today. But let’s not stop with our Millennials, because Generation Z is growing up fast. Our generation is only a reminder that in order to stay relevant, you must stay present.