Millennials: Moving Up or Moving On
As an employer, your most important asset is your workforce. And the composition of that workforce is gradually shifting. In 2016, millennials became the largest generation in the labor market. By 2020, it’s estimated that they will comprise 50% of the US workforce.
According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are people born between 1981 and 1996 (aged between 23 and 38 in 2019)1. In recent times, millennials have gained a bad reputation with some employers for being job hoppers, disengaged at work, ‘lazy’ and ‘entitled’. But is that stereotype accurate?
If we take a closer look at the expectations of millennials and understand what they look for in an employer, it is possible to implement retention strategies that align with those expectations – and your business objectives. As every organization is becoming increasingly reliant on millennial talent, understanding their motivations is essential.
Millennials have grown up in a fast moving, ‘on-demand’ culture. Their expectations are high and they are impatient for success and accelerated career advancement. Moving up in their career is at the top of their agenda and it must be on yours too as their employer if you are to prevent them from moving on.
Can you help your millennial talent to move up or will they move on?
The importance of career development
When millennials do leave their jobs, it can often be down to the simple fact that they do not believe they can fulfill their ambitions with your business.
A 2018 study revealed the following:
- 42% of millennial workers state that learning and development is the most important benefit (after salary) when deciding on their next career move.
- 67% believe there’s a gap between what they’re capable of and what their employers believe they are qualified for.
- Contrary to popular opinion, most millennials surveyed do not want to constantly change jobs but feel frustrated by the lack of opportunities to develop their skills and meet their career aspirations.
Less than half say that their current employers provide learning, training and development opportunities.
The key to retaining your millennial talent is to provide them with career development opportunities. The majority are not seeking a ‘dead end’ job but one where their employer is willing to invest in their future career. And when they find that, they are more motivated to stay.
How is that achieved? Below we have outlined some strategies which can help:
Introduce clear career development opportunities
Be transparent. Demonstrate clearly to them a potential career path and that you are invested in their future. Two-way communication is vital. Encourage your millennial talent to speak up if they are lacking motivation in their current role, it could prevent them from moving on.
Introduce mentoring, lateral moves and additional responsibilities to expand their skill sets when a vertical promotion isn’t available. For example, if your millennials express an interest in developing specific skills, help them to work more in that area, perhaps by allowing them to spend time working on projects in other departments. Provide them with opportunities to change roles within your organization.
Implement a strategy of career pathing. When millennials are provided with opportunities for advancement and clear goals, they are empowered to use and develop their skills as well as learn new ones.
In other words, provide them with a compelling reason to stay.
Career pathing can also:
- Identify individual career aspirations of your employees and help them to focus on their long-term career path. An effective career pathing program incorporates skills gap analyses to identify areas for potential learning and provides the tools to and guidance to acquire those skills.
- Support performance management: Continuous performance management is another helpful tool to engage and retain millennials. Career pathing reviews and updates can be included in your regular check-ins to ensure your employees are on track to achieve their career goals and appropriate training is being provided.
Give your millennial talent a compelling reason to stay. Support your career pathing strategy with dedicated career pathing software from TalentGuard. Empower your employees to map multiple career path scenarios and evaluate potential skills gaps to enable them to achieve their career goals.