Let me tell you about Millennial so-called ‘disloyalty’.
You know what I’m talking about… the job-hopping tendencies of this generation, (also known as Gen Y, born roughly between 1981-95) whose CVs and resumes often read like fusion cuisine menus.
What looks like a problem with retention is to misjudge or simply misunderstand this generation’s values. In other words… this is not so much a problem with Millennials’ ‘disloyalty’ as a problem of Millennials’ ‘disengagement’.
This is a generation that values impact, experiences and profound self-development. And they are a generation in a hurry. Why wouldn’t they be? A whole world of information and potential experiences has opened up to them, thanks to the technology they so confidently use. Meanwhile, the online landscape where all of the opportunities exist, is at their finger tips.
Remember also, this generation is nomadic and tribal. They love travelling and experiencing new cultures, and are constantly swapping information with each other, sharing good and bad experiences, letting peers know which new skills, self-development strategies and chances to grow – professionally and personally – are around the corner.
Of course, for established, legacy companies, led by older generations for whom a reasonable pay cheque, stability and predictability of environment, were enough to expect from a job… these tendencies, and the urge to move on to new pastures after only a short stint with a company, represents a considerable loss in terms of training and investing in Gen Y.
But the fact remains… Millennials were not brought up to be satisfied with mere job stability, predictability and a pay cheque. Their parents and teachers, growing up, taught them to expect great things of themselves, and to be constantly on the alert for the next chance to manifest something significant.
And until the Great Recession of 2008, when the first Millennials were about to enter the workforce, these bold visions of having great impact in their lives, remained unchallenged.
Flash forward to today, and many Millennials have experienced the disillusionment and burnout from that period: the debt, the lack of jobs, the inflexibility of the working world, the financial inability to move up the social ladder…
But this doesn’t mean Gen Y’s values have changed. They still yearn for peak experiences, a chance to unleash their expectation to impact the world through their work and to grow and lead as soon as possible.
And catering for these values should matter to companies, because most statistical predictions place Millennials as the largest generational cohort in today’s job market, worldwide.
So, the first piece of advice I offer companies that want to retain Gen Y hires is… give them a clear picture of their career prospects within the organisation.
In other words, traditional, vertically-organised, top-down, command and control companies need to let new Millennial hires know how and when they will rise through the ranks of the organisation (remember also that Millennials prefer horizontal organisational structures).
Given that the Baby Boomer generation (born over 1946-64) still lead several legacy companies, and Boomers’ own values include basing self-worth on long work hours, titles and accomplishment… it can seem to Millennial hires that their own chances to be promoted, exercise influence and impact are likely to be delayed indefinitely.
But there are ways to accommodate the experience of Boomers, (and Gen Xers – born roughly 1965-80!) while satisfying the desire for impact of Millennials.
One solution is to give Gen Y recruits a clear roadmap of their career journey within an organisation, including criteria and timelines for rising in leadership roles.
Tell them at the hiring interview and during the on-boarding process and remind them at feedback sessions thereafter, where they fit in the structure of the company and how their ability to serve and impact clients will evolve and grow as they continue with the organisation.
Too many organisations leave recruits in the dark as to how the organisation will advance their career beyond an income. A progress roadmap signals to Millennials that, just like in their childhood, their workplace is invested in opening new professional doors for them the longer they remain.
I will explore the next factor to help retain Millennials – giving them ownership and encouraging their input – in my next post.
To learn more about my corporate training services and to book a free consultation, please visit: www.leonidasalexandrou.com/services/evolution/