Retaining Millennial Talent in the Workplace: 3 Key Insights You Need to Know

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

While many of the myths surrounding the Millennial generation have proved false – no, they’re not all living in their parents’ basements – there is one that rings true: Millennials’ job tenure is significantly lower than previous generations of employees.

In fact, according to our research, Millennials average stay at their first job is only two years, compared to five years for Gen X and seven years for Baby Boomers. This means employers now have to work much harder at retaining their top talent, and to do so, they must go beyond just a competitive salary and think about how to improve their workplace culture. Today’s top modern brands, such as Google and Amazon, have figured this out and, as a result, not only have a more efficient, driven and committed workforce, but also a greater ROI.

How did they do it? They recognized these three key Millennial employee insights:

Millennials don’t work for you, they work with you

Unlike previous generations, Millennials are not willing to get a job simply to “have a job.” As a highly aspirational cohort, they feel strongly about the places they work and don’t want to be viewed as just another cog in the machine. Millennials want work environments that align with their collaborative nature and propensity for voicing their opinions, and 88 percent say they prefer this type of work culture rather than a competitive one.

Additionally, Millennials have led a charge of de-formalizing the workplace. They don’t want all of their in-office communication to be work-related all of the time. Millennials value their personal lives, and the opportunity to share their experiences and interests with those around them at work is important to them. This is a major component of this generation’s push for the need to have a “mentor” rather than a “manager.”

Millennials value intrapreneurialism

Although intrapreneurship is a relatively new concept in the market, it is highly valued by Millennials. It encourages creative thinking from internal employees by giving them the autonomy and resources they need to think outside of the box, leading to disruptive innovation. After all, when a business is the first to identify a market game-changer, it has the opportunity to lead the industry rather than wait for competition to arise.

Aside from the potential for added dollars to the bottom line, intrapreneurialism also invigorates employees who are yearning to pave their own way. According to Buzz Marketing Group, nearly a fourth of Millennials say they want to quit their job to start their own projects. By encouraging such employees to be independent and use their skills in new ways in-house, companies can retain the talent they need most.

Millennials respect your feedback – and want it often

Speaking of Millennial myths, this generation does not think that it is better off doing everything on its own. In reality, these workers crave coaching. But don’t assume this means they expect their hands to be held; rather, Millennial employees want to learn from what their leaders have to say and the experiences they’ve already had.

As this generation has grown up in an era of remarkable connectedness, they are also used to instantaneous feedback in all facets of their lives. This is no different in the workplace. According to a recent Gallup study, Millennial employees want to have the immediate ability to ask questions, share opinions and provide commentary and have their boss do the same. Real feedback that occurs on a more frequent basis than once a year (think monthly or quarterly reviews versus annual reviews) is what will keep Millennial talent engaged over time.

While resonating with Millennial consumers is important to any brand, so is resonating with Millennial employees. These young workers will someday be leading the C-Suite and have the mindset to bring innovative ideas to the table. By fostering a culture of ideas and creating a space where they can excel based on their interests, companies will find greater success. If they don’t, they will likely find that their best brand ambassadors have packed up and left for another opportunity.

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.