So far I’ve discussed Millennial’s work needs, how companies can attract and develop their Millennial workers. Now we will focus on retention, which is important because the average time spent in a job by under-35s is less than 3 years, which suggests that something isn’t working out. But it’s not as gloomy as it seems.
The good news is that 80% of Millennial are less likely to leave their jobs if fulfilment increases by as little as 10%. If the only thing the business did was to ensure “the three conversations” (in the development blog) were held regularly, it would dramatically increase the chances of them staying.
However, people are not always leaving for the competition, instead they are exiting for adventure, society and entrepreneurialism. They are seeking productive experiences, which might be made up of moving discipline, moving within the network or working abroad. It requires flexibility and openness on both sides to work. In the last 4 years only one person has left 7 Stars Media to go to a competitor, the rest have left to do something completely different, such as setting up their own company.
And if employers are proactive, they can recognise this and stop the flow of talent from their organisation. At Mindvalley they recognise this, and if employees have an idea they may invest in them. In fact, 20% of revenues now come from employee owned businesses. Consider what your “returns policy” is and how you can actively keep the door open for talent. Keeping the door open involves having an approach to keeping in touch. This needs to be a company approach and not an individual approach because of the turnover at every level – relying on Linkedin is not enough.
People also leave when they feel like they are “burning out”. Burn out happens to machines, not people, when we start treating ourselves as machines, then something is wrong and Milliennials recognise this. If they see themselves struggling then they will seek out alternative and better experiences for them. And how senior leaders manage their own stress is important as it sets the tone for the organisation. Resilience is a learned skill, and creating programmes and coaching to build resilience is important. Conversations with a coach or manager can help deal with the inevitable rocky road which we all encounter at times.
The challenge to redefine how we work together from Millennials is a fair one. Industry can be innovative, collaborative, opportunity fuelled place; a place where Generation Y can thrive. Many of the initiatives which agencies do already, such as creating strong cultures, community work, need to be articulated and shared with would be employees.
It also requires an increased commitment to focus on developing talent. We need to recognise that there is no chicken and egg situation where people and great work is concerned. We need great people first who can then make brilliant work. Investing the time and thinking into creating more purposeful, flexible, and productive work places has to be success for the work and all the generations creating it.