Increasing the retention rate of employees is always one of the most important human resources tasks for HR executives, business owners, and other leaders to concentrate on each year, no matter the industry the organization is in.
This area is key because when you ensure your team members are engaged, motivated, happy, and inspired, they’re much more likely to stay loyal to the company, to perform more effectively, and to stay in their jobs for longer. When you increase retention rates you also save yourself lots of time and money, because you don’t keep losing valuable business knowledge, or have to continually find and then train new employees.
If you have a workforce largely made up of younger workers though, you should note that these people may have different motivations and desires than older employees. As such, your retention strategies could need to be tweaked to match. Read on for three key ways you can keep millennial employees happy and loyal to your business over the coming months and years.
1. Ask Workers What They Want
For starters, remember that, having grown up during a period where customized, personalized experiences and product choices have been the norm, millennials are used to feeling like their particular needs are always being addressed. They expect, as a result, not to be treated like everyone else, but to be catered for in individual ways.
To keep these workers engaged then, regularly ask them what they actually want. Whether it’s through one-on-one discussions, surveys, or other methods, find out what millennials are looking for when it comes to things like recognition, perks, rewards, awards, team-building exercises, and workplace meaning.
While staff members in the past tended to be quite focused on their levels of pay and/or on receiving promotions, younger workers tend to also place value on other things. In particular, they look for meaning and purpose on the job, and want to know they’re having a positive impact in some way.
You should therefore think about regularly thanking them for their efforts and results; mentioning them publicly through awards, social media posts, newsletters, and the like; and rewarding them with gifts and bonuses. millennials also like to feel like their contributions are valued, so try to implement their suggestions and otherwise get them more involved in projects and decisions. It’s also helpful to find ways for them to give back to charity, through spending time on preferred philanthropic projects, or raising money for good causes.
Your younger team members are also probably focused on achieving work/life balance. As a result, look for ways to give them more time off when they’ve excelled in some way, or provide them with perks such as workplace childcare, meals, relaxation aids (think massages, sleep pods, and meditation or yoga classes), health insurance, and access to free or discounted gyms and parking.
2. Provide Development Opportunities
Millennials are also keen to keep improving themselves. They want to build skills and experience in new areas all the time so they avoid boredom and become more employable and promotable. To cater to this desire, then, find ways to provide Millennial workers with frequent training and other learning and development opportunities.
For example, it is wise to invest money into helping employees complete educations programs such as courses, workshops, training modules, and universities degrees. You can also bring in specialized motivational speakers to teach and inspire them.
Furthermore, look at sending workers off to key industry conferences, trade shows and other events; plus encourage networking, set up staff exchange programs, and provide junior workers with access to senior-level mentors. If you struggle to find the time to implement these kinds of programs yourself, considering hiring one or more PEO companies who specialize in these sorts of HR tasks. Having multiple HR or PEO companies handle different tasks is very common these days. Maybe your payroll services are in Phoenix but you use a health insurance rep who is in Miami. Whatever it takes to keep all of this organized is worth it because it will keep your employees happy.
3. Enable Workplace Flexibility
Lastly, don’t forget that a big priority for most millennials is having flexibility during their careers. Unlike many older workers, they’re not always simply focused on moving up the corporate ladder, but instead will be interested in making lateral career moves if they think they’ll be more satisfied and challenged by doing so.
To cater to this desire, look for ways to enable Millennial employees to choose their own hours and workspaces, and to move about the company, doing different jobs and working in different departments and locations. Give them additional responsibilities where you can too.
Remember that doing this not only boosts retention rates, but also gives you more well-rounded team members. They’ll be more likely to see opportunities and threats for the business after time spent interacting with other employees and seeing alternative markets and work practices.