July 18, 2018
Estimated Read Time: 7 Minutes
Retaining millennials in the workplace has been a primary concern in the year 2018. As the job market improves and opportunities for career advancement increase, it is somewhat difficult to know exactly what they are looking for. It is hard to keep millennials around long enough for them to possibly move up or advance within the company. Many millennials are looking for something specific when they first start a job such as a leadership role, raise, engagement within the culture, the people, and so on.
Being a millennial myself and having just graduated college on May 11th, 2017 so about a year ago from today, the number one priority I had when looking for a job was that I wanted the culture to fit with who I was. I wanted to enjoy coming into work every day and like the people I work with. I didn’t necessarily have to enjoy every minute of what I do, because in all honesty who really loves what they do all the time? I just wanted a culture of people that I got along with and that were engaging and a good boss. Lucky for me, I did get all of those things because Validity does such a good job of providing the best company culture all around from the people to the management to even the lunches. Every month, we get an additional two-hour lunch break, isn’t that awesome? I thought so.
Retaining millennials is something almost every company has been trying to figure out because they want that younger growing team they can mold into something great. As a millennial, I’ve found three important pieces of a company that can really help keep young people around longer, and here they are:
Company culture is huge in the workplace. Keeping employees happy is essential in maintaining a good culture and a happy lifestyle. Haven’t you heard of happy wife, happy life? Well maybe that doesn’t necessarily apply here, but you get the point. Company culture is especially important when hiring someone new, such as a millennial.
Having happy employees who want to work for you because you keep them happy is huge in the company. They not only will want to stay around because they are happy, but they will want to do whatever they can to move up in the company because they’re created an identity and loyalty with the peers that they enjoy working with.
Along the lines of wanting to move up, having those opportunities and challenges for your employees a big key to retaining those millennials. They want to move up and they do remember those words that you said to them in the interview, “Yes there are plenty of opportunities for advancement here,” trust me, I know. Even if you can’t give them a director position right off the bat, give them something big that you know they can handle and see where they take it. It not only establishes trust, but it allows them to prove to you that they can be a strong contributor and they are worthy of something more than their initial role. This gives them loads of self-confidence and prove to themselves that they are moving up in the company and growing even if it is not a physical position.
Like I mentioned above, giving them a project or something big that you know they can handle can not only challenge them, but give them confidence and prove to you that they are worthy of a higher position or a pay raise. Millennials do not like to be micro-managed, I don’t think anyone does for that matter, but by allowing them to do their work on their own and show you that they can handle it is something we all wish to do with our employees. We want to give them the power to handle the work and get things done so that they are actually taking the job seriously and can grow.
Another thing that Validity does especially well, is the management system. We can always go in their office and talk to them about something that we may need help with, or need ideas, or even just to talk. Having that open and transparent communication among directors and employees is really beneficial in maintaining that healthy company culture but also growing and learning as a team. My boss in particular is always asking us for ideas and always wanting to know what we think about something. I think it’s such an awesome characteristic in a boss because they are including other people’s opinions on ideas, and they trust us enough to show them what we think would work.
While many companies still have that 9-5 work balance, there are still a lot of companies that have pushed towards flexible work schedules and having the employee decide on the hours of when they work. Having flexible work hours has actually been proven to make the employee happier and give them their own sense of control on their work and when they get it done. A Deloitte Global study surveyed over 10,000 millennials from November of last year, 2017, to January of 2018, this year. The study showed that the lack of work flexibility is the majority reason as to why a millennial would quit their job.
While it can be risky to have such flexibility within the office, it actually builds trust and responsibility. Millennials love flexible work schedules as they don’t like to be tied down on the clock. It allows them the freedom to choose when to work and when to take a break. It also shapes them to have good time management skills and figure out ways to work on their own time.
Marcus Yeager has been with Validity since February of 2016. He has transferred departments four times and has held various titles including Service Alert Processor, Client Relations Specialist, Quality Assurance Specialist, and finally an Order Management Specialist. He loves Validity and thinks he is exactly where he is supposed to be in his career right now. He has had so many opportunities to grow already.
Marcus says, “The people here are like my second family.” He has made so many great relationships while working here and really enjoys coming into work every day. He is just happy, which is why he has stayed here so long.
Marcus also really likes the perks and culture that Validity offers such as Lake Day, Beer Fridays, and the infamous potlucks. Incorporating some fun social activities into your work day can also boost morale and overall affect people in a positive way.
Marcus has a lot of goals but one of his main goals, as far as staying with Validity, is to be the next Chris Feld, our Director of Strategic Initiatives. “Chris is so knowledgeable and helpful and just himself!”
If perhaps Marcus cannot be Chris Feld, then he wishes to be some higher role that will take Validity into the new age of technology and culture. Marcus is a prime example of growing and learning within a company that he actually really enjoys.
“You aren’t going to like about 70% of what you do, but at the ground level, which is where everyone start, you have to prove your worth and potential to whatever company you are with. In order to excel and move up in the company you have to start there,” he says.
When asking Marcus why he was here, he responded with, “I love what I do. I love learning what affects my duties and how cultural changes change the background screening landscape.”
Something that Marcus wanted to leave us with in terms of how to keep those millennials around is, “Companies should start taking more of a chance on millennials and teach instead of require them to have 15 + years of experience to move up.”
He is absolutely right when it comes to taking a chance on them, we need to start giving more responsibility to millennials and let them prove themselves. Once you have that trust and once you know they can handle whatever you throw at them, then that is where the growth and the opportunities happen.
Millennials are a tough crowd to keep but having a good culture and opportunities for advancement can really go a long way with them. A good source of content for expanding your millennial force within the workplace is to check out Robert Sander’s blog on What is The Employee Experience. He goes in depth on what the employee experience is from the time they walk in the door to the day they take their last step out of the office. Robert also has good podcast to reference when trying to move up in a company on How to Gain Respect as a Young Professional. In this day and age, you have to almost pull out all the strings when it comes to impressing your boss. Moving up in a company is hard, but once you earn that respect from your peers and from your superior it does get a lot easier to move up and become more of a leader.
In conclusion, yes it is hard to retain millennials with so many of them staying at a job for less than a year, but figuring out what is working and what isn’t is the first step to understand and learn how to keep them around longer. We all want a growing and knowledgeable company but in order to get there we need to figure out what it is that millennials want, what is it that they are looking for, and then that is when you become the most successful.
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