Much of Corporate America has spent the last decade loosening dress codes and adding gaming consoles to break rooms to better connect with younger employees. The result? Gallup reports that about 60 percent of Millennials are exploring new job opportunities, and turnover among Millennials is three times higher than for their older colleagues.
So what makes members of this generation commit to a company? Great Place to Work recently analyzed surveys from nearly 400,000 employees to name the Best Workplaces for Millennials. Our research found some of the best ways to retain younger talent are simpler than you might think.
Listen Closely to Your Millennial Managers.
Many Millennials are now in their mid-30s and stepping into leadership positions. But our research shows there’s a gap developing when they do: Millennial managers are at twice the flight risk as Boomer managers. Additionally, Millennials’ rating of their workplace experience stayed about the same or decreased as they climbed ranks within the organization. That’s unusual. Boomer and Gen-X employees consistently rated their workplace more positively as they were promoted.
Companies need to focus on communicating with Millennial leaders to ensure they’re getting the professional development and mentoring they need, or they’ll risk losing future executives.
Find Your “Meaning Archetype”
We’ve all heard Millennials want meaning at work – but what does that mean for a retail chain? The best companies have found creative ways to connect employees’ personal roles to inspiring business archetypes. These might include a reputation as an industry leader, work in the community, close-knit teams, a focus on serving patients or customers, an industry-disrupting vision, or other organizational strengths that help employees feel part of something significant. To be effective, companies need to build those archetypes into their larger vision, communications and employee programs.
Lead with Authenticity.
No one likes to feel like a small cog in a big machine. But Millennials especially want leaders who try to connect with them on a personal level. Our research found that Millennial front-line employees who say their managers show a sincere interest in them as people – and not just as employees – are 8 times more likely to report behaviors linked to innovation and organizational agility.
Strengthen your Employer Brand.
Millennials might be the most brand-aware generation yet and are closely attuned to the reputation of their employers. Our research found that Millennial employees who are proud to tell others where they work are 19 times more likely to plan a long-term future with their companies.
That means employers need to promote their workplaces with the same zeal they promote their brands. An employer brand is not only more important than ever for recruiting young talent, it’s also critical to keeping current employees happy to be there.
Invest in an Equitable Workplace.
Millennials expect a fair workplace and have higher expectations than other generations of what that looks like. At the companies we studied, 68 percent of Millennials say they are paid fairly for what they do. That’s a smaller share than for Gen X or Boomers and one of the biggest generational differences in employees’ experience. Millennials want to know that they and their co-workers will be treated equally, regardless of their background, gender, age or role within the company. Businesses that commit to equity and transparency will earn points with younger talent.
As the nation’s largest living generation takes on more of the job market, high Millennial turnover poses a substantial challenge to employers. The good news is that building a great, high-trust workplace makes an enormous difference: 85 percent of younger front-line employees and 89 percent of younger managers at the Best Workplaces for Millennials say they plan to stay.
Kim Peters leads Great Place to Work® Certification Program in the US which offers companies the opportunity to measure and build a high-trust workplace culture, get certified and reviewed as a great workplace, and be eligible for all of our Best Workplaces lists, including the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. Kim previously led the creation of Great Place to Work® Reviews, where she focused on helping job seekers understand companies’ workplace cultures. Kim has over 15 years’ leadership experience in the online recruitment industry.
Prior to joining Great Place to Work®, Kim launched and led a number of successful businesses in the recruitment sector including Workopolis.com, Canada’s leading job board, where she was founder and President, and Canwest Mediaworks where she served as Vice President of Online Classifieds and Eluta.ca, a Canadian job search engine combining reviews and job listings.