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How companies are retaining flight-risk Millennials

There’s a shift underway in which employees are now the power players in a tight labour market. With Millennials officially designated as the largest generation in the workforce, nearly every employer finds themselves faced with many challenges. Chiefly among them, retaining flight-risk Millennials.
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The average Gen Y-er bounces around four different jobs in their first decade in the workforce – nearly twice that of their predecessors. With such frequent turnover, employers are paying out of pocket to hire and rehire – spending an average of 20 per cent of a mid-range employee’s salary on hiring, on-boarding, lost productivity, lost engagement, customer service errors and training costs. So, how do we go about retaining flight-risk Millennials?

Monetary compensation may not be the solution. We recently conducted a study with Millennials across industries, and only 16 per cent of those surveyed said money is a key motivator in engagement. This new generation of employees has essentially shifted the standards expected of employers. Millennials have a heightened need for connectivity and workplace friendships, real-time feedback, meaningful work, a sense of purpose, and frequent recognition. If these expectations are not met, they are inclined to move on – quickly.

Intangible rewards rank high as a millennial motivator. In the same survey, 67 per cent of respondents ranked connections to their coworkers among the strongest factors fostering a deeper sense of engagement with the workplace. Other important incentives for millennials are greater flexibility, meaningful work, career advancement opportunities and professional development.

If you’re in the business of retaining flight-risk staff, then give them what matters

Employers who recognise the needs of this age demographic and shift gears to develop programs that fit with these needs are seeing the greatest return on employee investment, including increased employee engagement and reduced turnover.

Understanding that real-time feedback is invaluable to millennial employees, digital marketing company Rockfish tossed out traditional performance review in favour of real-time peer-to-peer recognition. As a result, the company saw a 29 per cent drop in employee turnover, saving an estimated $130,000 in one year.

As the generation of customised slurpee drinks and Nike shoes, Millennial employees appreciate companies that offer options they can take and customise to comfortably fit their lifestyles. Rockfish employees can choose to redeem points they earn from peer recognition to suit their own customised interests – gift cards, an hour leniency to sleep in, even a wine cooler is on the menu, if they so choose. It’s actually a good way of retaining flight-risk staff in general.

Serving Millennial employees’ needs does not need to be in the form of physical rewards, either. National mortgage lender and servicer, The Money Source, recognises that employees of this generation still value service to the community, but service-oriented practices of the past didn’t fit its busy schedules. Instead, it offered to let employees use recognition points earned through YouEarnedIt to help victims of a flood in the US. When employees redeemed points through YouEarnedIt, the company matched the donation, and ended up sending a total of $12,883 to Volunteer Louisiana.

Employees recognise when their employers work to create recognition and incentive programs that jive with their needs. Recognition and appreciation of this nature are not lost on this generation. And just the simple act of tailoring a program to fit their varying motivators can bring noticeable return to employers looking for a stable, productive workforce.

Personalise the solution to fit the generation

The solution to retaining flight-risk Millennials is a simple one: craft programs that meet the needs of their generation. Research shows it increases the value these employees place in your company. “Looking after your employees makes for a better business; happy staff reflect positivity to your business, which draws people to want to continue or begin a working relationship,” said Dan Byrne, a Millennial logistics coordinator at Sony Australia.

When employees of any generation are met by employers who strive to recognise and meet their core needs, they succeed in building up a team that shares a passion for their work and is invested in the long run.

Tim Ryan is VP of marketing at YouEarnedIt, an employee recognition and engagement platform.

Image: Shutterstock

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