The workplace is changing, and it’s changing fast. Millennials now make up a significant portion of the workforce, and they’re driving the workplace revolution. As an employer, this changes the game when it comes to attracting and retaining highly talented employees.
Research from McCrindle revealed the average Australian millennial will have 17 jobs across 5 careers in their lifetime based on current trends. This is because Gen Y employees don’t seek stability from their employers: they’re seeking opportunity, not a “job”, and are willing to switch companies and even careers to find new pathways or to pursue their passion.
With the workforce no longer tied to having one career, job stability, and linear progression, employers need to adapt their talent retention program in order to keep up – or risk losing their best team members to other companies.
Here’s how you can retain the best in your team in this rapidly changing multi-career world.
Be clear on your company’s values and mission
9 out of 10 millennials would consider a pay cut if they felt they were working at a company whose missions and values align with their own, compared to less than 1 in 10 baby boomers. Millennials believe that if they’re spending almost half of their lives at work, they should pour their time and energy into a cause that fits their own beliefs.
Walking the talk – or championing your company’s values and mission – can have a big impact when it comes to talent management and retention. Share your company values as early as possible in the recruitment process. And importantly, hero these values through your organisational structure, training and development programs, compensation packages, product development, and corporate sustainability programs.
Hire for growth mindset and cultural fit, not just skills
In a world where employees are constantly switching companies and careers, employers will need to undergo a paradigm shift when it comes to recruitment strategies to attract and retain talent. Without this, you’ll risk losing out on the best talent out there, purely because they didn’t tick the “skills and experience” box.
You can train for skills but it’s a lot harder to train or change mindset. Rather than thinking “Does this employee have the skills I need?” think “Will this employee fit into our team? Do they have a great attitude, and are they willing and able to learn and progress with us?”
One of the best ways to hire for a growth mindset is to focus on things like:
- Critical and analytical thinking
- Creative thinking and problem solving
- Communication skills
- Resourcefulness and adaptability to different scenarios
- Dedication to self-development
- Time management and organisation
Provide a varied role and career pathway
Fighting rather than adapting to the multi-career trend will hurt your chances of retaining millennial talent. Which is why as an employer, it might be worth updating your internal career progression plans to cater to these growing workplace shifts.
Rather than having a rigid linear progression plan, advertise opportunities across all departments and encourage team members and managers to adopt an open mindset to cross-departmental recruitment. For those employees who express interest in other career pathways, try to build bridges to encourage them to apply, and work with the respective department head or stakeholders to see how you can create a training and development program to help them make the switch.
Another way to give talented employees a sense of variety is by giving them the time and opportunity to work on side projects like Google or Accor’s Gen Y Shadow Comex Committee. These projects offer an opportunity for employees to get exposed to different parts of the business, and help provide them with a sense of achievement outside their current scope.
Focus on workplace environment and culture
There’s a reason why, over the past decade, there has been an increase in workplace ping-pong tables, office coffee machines, team outings, and meetings over coffee rather than in boardrooms. Today’s employees care about the work culture of a company as much as they care about the brand they are working for. And talented people are looking for an environment where they feel they can be productive but also encouraged to enjoy a bit of down time.
While you don’t have to run out and spend thousands on video game consoles and nap pods, there are a few things you can do to tweak your office environment to create a positive workplace atmosphere:
- Launch programs dedicated to cultivating employee wellness
- Offer time off for employees to focus on charity events
- Encourage a collaborative atmosphere with sharing sessions or weekly stand-ups
- Train managers to be coaches rather than top-down managers
- Have open spaces for relaxation or breaks
Think beyond salary
While wages play a big part in attracting and retaining talented employees, it’s not the be all and end all. In order to provide talented millennials with the right compensation and benefits package, it’s all about offering work-life balance and opportunity beyond just a promotion. 51% of professionals in today’s workforce are proud to work for a company offering flexibility and balance, and these are key to engage and retain your employees.
Working hours, flexible or remote working arrangements, travel and transfer opportunities, gym memberships, and equity schemes all play a part in providing your team with a comprehensive package that will meet their financial and personal needs.
If you’re not sure where to start, send out an anonymous survey on the additional benefits your employees would most value – you might be surprised at the results. And implementing little changes can make a significant impact