Call me biased, but I think my generation is highly misunderstood.
The media would have you believe that we millennials are a bunch of lazy, entitled job-hoppers blowing our retirement money on avocado toast, all while documenting the beautiful mess on social media. Um, no, I’m in my twenties, dislike avocado, and seldom post any updates online.
But I digress. Look, we have no beef with the generation that raised us, especially since they paved the way for ours in more ways than one. However, the reality is that plenty of boomers and Gen X’ers are leaving the workforce due to major life changes like marriage, childbirth, and/or plain old retirement age. Like it or not, we millennials are next in line to fill in that gap.
Common Misconceptions About What Makes Millennial Employees Stay
So, as a business owner, how do you deal with the ongoing generational shift in your work force? In other words, how would you prevent valuable millennial employees from jumping ship the moment your rival company makes them an offer?
Offer them more money? Perhaps, but some millennials have been known to quit high-paying jobs in favor of less lucrative ones for various reasons.
Provide free third-wave coffee and Instagram-worthy, artisanal bagels onsite? Tempting, but that doesn’t really contribute to our productivity, plus we can get those after hours.
How about jobs with companies that have a pretty lofty mission-vision? Sounds great, and that helps, but there is one thing in particular that can ensure our loyalty, and that is actually the workplace itself.
What a Millennial’s Ideal Workplace Looks Like
Huh? What do you mean? Okay, let’s elaborate.
According to a recent study done by Utah’s Jive Communications, the number one reason why millennials leave their jobs is because they don’t like the office atmosphere. And no, that doesn’t mean you should install craft beer taps in the pantry or anything like that.
Millennials actually seek flexible working hours, the option to work remotely, speedy technology, and an open company culture, so much so that many of them would accept a pay cut of up to 12% for a job that offers them majority of the aforementioned. Long-term job security is also a major incentive, as it turns out.
This is partly because younger workers tend to value experiences over material things, hence flexible working schedules and the capacity for remote work being prioritized over a fat paycheck among many millennial employees. Having the proper technology in place, of course, only makes working from home (or from pretty much any exotic locale) not only possible, but even preferable in some cases.
As for an open company culture, there is a growing preference among our generation for management structures that emphasize mentorship. So, no, we don’t really think we know better than our elders. And because we millennials prize continued learning in any career, we would actually find it encouraging to stay on if our superiors and seniors took time to impart their wisdom and experience when appropriate.
So, there we have it. Retaining millennial employees has nothing to do with avocado toast and its ilk. Rather, it’s about creating a work environment that offers enough flexibility and learning opportunities so that your workers can keep improving on themselves without burning out by the time they hit 30.
Besides, millennial or not, isn’t that what we all want?