5 Things You Must Do to Retain Millennial Workers

When it comes to working at a tech company, perks and the money can be hard to ignore. But for the youngest members of the rank and file, a few things rank higher on the list. 

Here are the top five things you need to do to retain millennial talent:

1. Emphasize meaning. 

Generalizing here for a minute, Millennials tend to care about intangibles. Your company's mission, for example, can be more important than the swag you hand out to workers. The ability to work on something that will affect real people is important, too. Everyone grows up wanting to change the world, and with technology making the world a smaller place, this generation sees it as actually feasible. "The people who seem to be happiest and most successful in our culture understand that they are part of something bigger than themselves," says Jerry Tolk, a partner and general manager at the Atlanta office of public relations firm FleishmanHillard. There, he's in charge of hiring, and like many PR firms, Fleishman hires a lot of Millennials. "They believe in our mission, and see the work they do as advancing those priorities. They also see opportunity to change gears, and evolve as a professional."

2. Keep them mentally engaged.

To those who have grown up in a fast-moving technology world, there are few fates worse than boredom. Those entering the workplace today fear leveling out--reaching a point where they're no longer broaching a new challenge or learning something new. Millennials are known for job-hopping, but they don't have to be. "We're starting to hear from a lot of people who've had two jobs in three years and want to stay somewhere," Nancy Altobello, vice chair of talent at Ernst & Young, told Forbes back in May. "But the work has to be interesting, they don't want to keep doing the same thing." Tolk agrees. "As long as they're willing to put in the hard work required to self-actualize and develop new skills that are valuable and relevant, the market will always be full of places that want them," he says.

3. Make it social.

Social media's presence in the workplace has long been inevitable, and those who have grown up with it are used to constant engagement and feedback. This renders the convention of annual goal-setting sessions and performance surveys obsolete. "If you're on an annual cadence, you spend the first two months of the year planning your goals for the year. And then two months after that, those goals are already out of date," says Kris Duggan, founder and CEO of BetterWorks, a year-old company that recently raised $15.5 million to revolutionize the way business goals are set and tracked. The product's dynamic Fitbit-inspired dashboard allows everyone to see everyone else's goals, from the CEO down to the entry-level staffers. And if you need further motivation than realizing that you're being out-achieved by your employees, you can always collect "cheers" or "nudges" on any goal you have.

4. Level the hierarchy.

Part of the BetterWorks allure is the transparency it brings. The head of the company is held to the same standard as the fresh-faced recent college graduate. And just as nothing will drive Millennials away faster than making them feel invisible, little will motivate them more than knowing their input is received and valued. Duggan compares the "old world" view of entry-level workers as commodities with a "new world" approach where each individual is precious and could leave if not treated right. "In the old world, there's a dictatorial approach of assigning people stuff," Duggan says. "And the new approach is bottom-up. You have to have some structure--you have to prioritize some of the key initiatives--but letting the people determine the how and fill in the details is really critical now."

5. Embrace the change.

It's not like an entire generation can be a passing fad; Millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025. So you'd better prepare for them. If that means moving toward a more flexible workplace, do it. If it means revamping your entire company culture, do that too. Duggan recalls speaking to a CEO who, in an effort to prove her commitment to making the workplace more positive, dumped a cheap but unpleasant vendor in favor of a more expensive one with better customer service. It worked. Tolk sees this happening at his company too. "I don't think there is much compromise here," he says. "Making accommodations for high performers is something companies have been doing for years. This is no different; it's just happening faster and more often and being shared more in our increasingly social and transparent world.

Original Source: Inc.com
"5 Things You Must Do to Retain Millennial Workers"
Posted: Jan. 8, 2015