They show up wearing designer jeans and a Patagonia hoodie. They do some typing on a Macbook and drink a lot of coffee. Then, they leave for the next hot job offer.
That's right, we have a Millennial retention problem.
New research suggests Millennials are not happy with their employment options. And we're doing a terrible job figuring out how to retain them in the workplace.
A new report by Infosys and the Future Foundation this week blares the horn loud and clear. For starters, the survey results show that Millennials, in particular those who are 16 to 25, are anxious about their jobs. Many don't want to work for a startup. The common response in the survey was that they don't like the risk and excitement anymore. They want the stability of a corporate job.
Infosys also found that 40 percent of Millennials think their job will be outsourced or replaced by a robot and other automation within the next five years. That creates an even greater sense of insecurity. This age group walks in the door with a dark cloud hanging over their heads. They tend to view a job as remarkably transient, and think that it will likely lead to another job within a few months or even weeks.
Fortunately, there is something you can do about it, and the secret is contained right in the same Infosys report. The survey found that 80 percent of Millennials view training as incredibly important. It's a driver for their success. They view their future at a company as wholly dependent on the skills they learn and the education available. If they are not constantly learning new skills, they will find the door faster.
A staffing company called Yoh also told me about some ways to retain Millennials. Tied to this idea of needing constant training is a desire to provide constant feedback.
Yoh encourages companies to gain real-time insight into employee sentiment, to constantly ask about issues like management, salary, benefits, work-life balance. With Millennials, there's an expectation of inclusion and the ability to provide feedback. As explained in this helpful article on employee feedback, there are many apps that can help you track sentiment, such as Thymometrics and TINYhr.
Another factor in Millennials engagement has to do with the software you provide. I wrote about this last year, during the SxSW conference. Millennials want things to be easy. Yoh encourages companies to use software that is fun and intuitive, almost "entertaining," like a video game. If the tools you provide are complex and difficult, Millennials will likely look for a company that provides better options. Figure out how to gamify everything and you might keep them around longer.
Related to this, Yoh has found that employees need to be able to use these tools from anywhere and from any device. There is an expectation of mobility, so if an accounting app or HR tool only runs in your office on a desktop or laptop connected to the network, they see that as inferior. They want the freedom to work anywhere, and if the tools don't allow that, they'll find an employer who understands what they need. You can complain about the entitlement factors, but that won't help retain Millennials or make them any happier in the workplace.
The words "entitlement" and "expectation" are closely linked. In some ways, they are the same word. Millennials expect great things. They expect constant training, the opportunity to give feedback, and easy-to-use tools. Leave one of those things off the table, and you'll find that Millennials will find a new table.