How To Attract And Retain Millennials

How to Attract and Retain Millennials in Employment

Five practices that may help you.

Anecdotal views are supported by surveys and research evidence that shows the generation known as ‘Millennials’ (born between 1983 and 2001), ‘Gen Y’, ‘Gen Next’, etc, often have a high labour turnover, indeed, even to direct competitors.

Millennials may even be viewed as impatient, tech-obsessed, self-absorbed and disloyal (Brousell, 2015). We can see this loss of staff as due to Millennials’ different characteristics, views (Brack, 2012) and expectations about work, organisations and life.


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For example, Millennials are seen as well educated, technologically savvy, entrepreneurial and creative, self-confident, multi-taskers, energetic, preferring to work in teams, seeking challenges, socially-minded and wanting to ‘do good’ and ‘give back’. Yet, at the same time work-life balance is important. To then somehow ‘square’ that circle is a challenge for managers and organisations. For organisations wanting to better attract and retain Millennials, here are five practices that may help them.

1. Corporate Image and Reputation

This is critical for many Millennials. They want organisations to somehow represent and reflect ‘their values’. For example, to be seen as ethical and ‘doing good’, etc., along with being more environmentally-friendly – as long as it’s not seem as ‘green wash’ or marketing flannel! The use of appropriate corporate social responsibility policies, and practices, clearly have a role to play here.

2. Flexible Work and Benefits

Many Millennials want flexible work arrangements (Fondas, 2015). Examples include the following.

Best Buy began a “Results-Only Work Environment” programme allowing employees to work from anywhere at any time as long as they complete work in a timely manner. Netflix introduced flexibility for expenses and holidays where staff can go on vacation “…any time they desire for as long as they want – provided that their managers know where they are and that their work is covered”.

Famously, some parts of the Virgin empire permit “…all salaried staff to take off whenever they want for as long as they want” and to take time off work without prior warning, but they are expected to manage this so they stay up to date with all their work.

Millennials tend not to just want to be a ‘cog in the machine,’ but want to know what direction the firm is going and how they can help get it there.

Likewise, a system of so-called ‘cafeteria benefits’ or flexible benefit plans – a list of costed benefits from which to select in an individualised package – can be offered. For example, GE in the US created a personalised suite of benefits offering more choice to better meet needs (Brack, 2012).

3. Inclusive and Transparent Environment

Nurture Millennials’ common preferences for a close-knit working environment by creating more connected work structures.

For example, online retailer Zappos has an open office plan with portable furniture, encouraging employees to be mobile and collaborative; with managers even advised to spend up to 20 percent of their time on team building and socialising.

Sage North America (accountants) was moving everyone out of their offices into an open workspace.

Buffer allows employees to see salaries and how pay is calculated.

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Accelerate Aug 2015 IssueAs featured in the August 2015 issue of Accelerate Magazine. This article is locked for further viewing. Please consider subscribing to Accelerate to view this and many more great articles. You can choose to purchase an annual subscription or just a single issue

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