There’s no avoiding them: Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce today, and that means you need them to keep your company fully staffed and operating at capacity.
While this generation has dealt with its fair share of negative stereotypes, the truth is millennials are just as driven to work — and to work well — as any generation before them. They have a reputation for job hopping, but that’s not because they’re lazy or indifferent. No, millennials are simply looking for the roles and companies that suit them, their values, and their lifestyles.
So what does it take to retain millennials in today’s super competitive talent market? We asked some experts about the methods they use to keep their millennial employees driven and engaged. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Give Your Millennials Purpose
According to a recent study by People Insight, company purpose is the No. 1 reason employees stay with their employers for the long haul.
Millennials don’t just want a job to pay the bills. They want to work for companies they believe in. They want to share their employers’ values, ethics, and missions. Most importantly, they need to understand how their roles further the company’s purpose.
“Millennials want to feel like they are part of something and understand where their role fits into the bigger picture of the organization,” says Ger Whitehead, Spector Information Security‘s technical director. “At Spector, we provide a clear vision of where the company is heading and stress the importance of the team in achieving this. We do quarterly company updates on the progress of achieving the vision.”
Alec Sammon, chief technology officer at Mangahigh, agrees that purpose is key to motivating millennials: “[Millennials] want to feel both valued in what they do and that they are creating value. The ethics of the work they are doing, and how it contributes to the world, are hugely important.”
Renae Shaw, head of HR at Search Laboratory, adds: “Millennials want to be inspired and to feel like they belong. This means working for a company with a purpose and values they can connect with.”
2. Pay Competitively
While many thought leaders argue that money isn’t high on the average millennial’s list of priorities, we want to debunk this myth once and for all. Of course millennials care about money — they need it to survive. There are other aspects of work that matter to them — and perhaps matter even more in the long run — but don’t fool yourself. Millennials absolutely care about the size of their paycheck.
In fact, many millennials suffer from financial anxiety, and studies show these money worries affect their work performance. Therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised if your millennial employees jump ship for competitors offering better pay. To avoid this, you can simply make sure you pay your millennials competitively — or at the very least, fairly.
“Employers must review salaries and make sure they’re in line with, or slightly above, what competitors provide,” says Matt Weston, managing director at Robert Half UK. “Our ’2020 Salary Guide’ found many millennials are intent on planning for the future and are often tempted by employers that offer above-average pension contributions as part of their remuneration packages.”
3. Be Honest, Open, and Transparent
One way to drive millennials away is to put up walls and cut off communication. Millennials invest a lot in their workplaces, and they want their companies to reciprocate this trust and dedication. You can do that by prioritizing transparency in the workplace.
“Offer insight to your employees on what’s going on at the business,” says Michael Fontana, director at Optionbox Limited. “We have an open environment where all employees understand the goals of the business and how we’re all going to work together to achieve our ambitions. This encourages employees to become more invested in the future of the business.”
Your millennial employees don’t need to be protected, and information certainly shouldn’t be disclosed on a need-to-know basis. Be honest with your employees; get them involved with what’s going on in the company. A company that keeps its employees at arm’s length can’t be surprised when those same employees grow apathetic and start searching for something more.
“We want everyone to be included in the growth and success of the business,” says Paul Sharpe, partner at Avalon Accounting. “We don’t just dictate from on high; we share the decision-making process and take the team’s input into consideration when making decisions.”
For more expert HR insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:
4. Offer Opportunities for Progression
The most talented employees — millennial or otherwise — are not content to stay still for long. Don’t let them dwell unchallenged in the same positions year after year. Provide them with opportunities to advance and develop — or they’ll look for these growth opportunities elsewhere.
“Giving employees room to grow and progress at your business is a huge motivator,” Fontana says. “If individuals can see paths for progression, they have an inherent determination to work hard and move up in a business.”
5. Provide Frequent Feedback
Today, we know annual performance reviews don’t provide enough opportunity for meaningful feedback. Millennials want to build a real rapport with their managers. They want to know what they are doing right and how they can improve, and they want this feedback delivered in a regular and timely manner.
To give millennials the frequent feedback they desire, Plume Managing Director Kaine Shutler explains the company holds weekly individual meetings, or “WIMs,” where each employee sets out all the tasks they need to accomplish in the coming week.
“WIMs give my employees an opportunity to let me know what they’ll need from me,” Shutler says. “It’s great because I can anticipate any additional support they need and what that might look like. It breaks down any barriers there might be around asking for help. It has really opened our lines of communication because my employees and I are free to ask for assistance without any reservations — and that works both ways.”
While these are fantastic tips for motivating and engaging millennials, it’s important to remember that millennials are not too different from any other generation. Most people will remain at a company that shows them the respect and support they deserve.
With every decision you make, question how it will affect your employees. Creating an employee-centric workplace is the single most effective way to keep your hardworking employees on staff for a long time to come.
Stuart Hearn is CEO and founder of Clear Review.