Attracting and Retaining Millennials Through Cultural Change
“Many millennials want to make the world a better place, and the future of work lies in inspiring them.”
– Fast Company
In today’s tight labor market, it’s more important than ever for companies to build a strong work culture and employer brand to help attract and retain talent. Organizations would benefit to take time to revisit their work culture given that the make-up of the overall workforce is becoming heavily weighted towards millennials, who have unique needs and expectations from employers. More than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials (adults ages 21 to 37 in 2018). They surpassed Generation X in 2015 to become the largest share of the American workforce, according to new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Millennials will make up one-half of the workforce in the next five years, and a whopping 75% in the next decade!
To help better understand their desired work environment, The Intelligence Group conducted a survey in 2016 and found that millennials have some common priorities:
64% – want to make the world a better place
72% – prefer to be their own boss
74% – desire flexible work schedules
79% – want a boss to serve more as a coach or mentor
88% – seek collaborative, not competitive, work culture
88% – enjoy “work-life integration”
While some of these interests are common among employees of all age groups (e.g. flexible work schedules and making the world a better place), some of the other items are quite different than the expectations of prior generations.
1. Guiding vs. Directing
Millennials want a manager who builds connectivity between their role with the purpose of the organization – to feel part of something bigger than themselves and that they are making a difference. They also want to receive leadership and coaching from someone willing to connect with them personally, who has enough knowledge and experience to coach them effectively, and who will provide work direction and allow some freedom for them to explore different ways of meeting objectives.
2. Collaboration vs. Competing.
Rather than competing individually to reach targets, millennials want to work collaboratively in teams of peers who have the capability and drive to inspire them to deliver their best work.
3. Work-Life Integration vs. Work-Life Balance
Millennials have grown up in an age of constant connectivity, thus they don’t have the same need for or appreciation of work-life separation like prior generations. Rather, millennials want to mix work expectations and requirements with their personal interests and goals into a single, cohesive identity.
These changes in work expectations require that organizations redesign and reframe their people strategies and outreach efforts to build a strong “head-heart” connection with millennials.
Organizations also need to alter our leadership development training and coaching program to instill a different set of managerial behaviors and communication channels critical to engaging millennials in their work:
• Express a genuine interest in the lives of millennial team members
• Have conversations, rather than ”tell”
• Schedule regular, planned activities for socialization
• Provide opportunities to express personal freedom and values through work
• “Guide” rather than “control” the work experience
• Explain how the role connects to the purpose
• Be transparent about work expectations
• Identify KPIs that will indicate achievement
• Broaden roles where possible
• Be open to innovation/flexibility in getting work done
Unfortunately, failing to capitalize on millennial talent is an unstainable business proposition:
• By 2025, millennials will account for 75% of the workforce
• 50% are willing to take a 15% pay cut to work at a company that matches their ideals
• 54% of respondents said they’re losing millennials more quickly than older workers
• $15,000 and $25,000 in recruiting and training costs to replace each millennial
– 2014/2015 SHRM Study on Millennials
If you need help making changes for your organization to remain relevant in the talent marketplace, MPI Consulting, based in Blue Ash, Ohio, has the competency, capability, and experience to shape work cultures to help attract needed talent, to assess and address satisfaction and engagement gaps, as well as to align with overall strategic priorities and objectives. We offer research-based, proven methodologies that have been implemented and tested with organizations of all sizes and industries. Each of our services is led by seasoned thought leaders and industry veterans that empower our clients to implement programs that move their organization forward.
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For more information, call MPI Consulting at 513.721.6611, or email Maureen Donnellan at firstname.lastname@example.org.