Business Tools

Don't Chase off Young Employees—Learn How to Retain Your Top Talent

Young Workforce
Younger workers of the "Millenial" generation expect different methods of management than Boomers or Gen X, hiring experts say.

Decades of downsizing and layoffs have changed the contract between employee and employer. Everything has changed: job descriptions, hiring strategies, interviewing techniques, compensation policies. Lisa Orrell, author of the book "Millennials Incorporated,” is an expert on multi-generational dynamics within the workforce and will show you how to hire—and keep—top young talent in her 2009 SEMA Show seminar.

Don’t miss “Hiring and Inspiring the New Generation,” Monday, November 2, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Here Orrell shares six effective tips that front-line Boomer, Generation Jones and Gen X supervisors need to be aware of to effectively retain their company's valuable Millennial generation talent:

1. Constant Contact: Robert Half International and Yahoo! HotJobs polled more than 1,000 Millennials about what they wanted from an employer. More than 60 percent of them responded that they wanted to hear from their managers at least once a day. That message is pretty clear: They want to communicate with you often. Make it happen or they will leave.

2. Praise Culture: Millennials need praise. If they are not feeling valued, they will leave. Many well-known companies are shifting to a "praise culture" to retain them, and it improves retention of their Boomer and Gen X employees, too! Get creative and have fun with this. I know of one company that actually appointed a "celebrations assistant" whose job was to throw confetti on employees whenever a manager told her that an employee had done something exceptional.

3. Rapid Advancement: Millennials feel that having to "pay their dues" is just occupying space for no good reason. So if a Millennial employee is truly qualified for a promotion, many companies now offer it versus giving the position to someone that has simply been at the company longer.
But what if they're not yet qualified to move up the ladder but are getting antsy? Give them more responsibility through creative ideas. Have them start the company blog or set up a company MySpace page. Ask them for ideas about how the company can be on YouTube, or have them write an on-going column in the company e-newsletter. You don't always have to give them a raise or promotion to keep them happy. Being creative with increased responsibility can work great.

4. Cubicle Shackles: Millennials have a very hard time understanding why they need to be sitting in a cubicle to do their job. With modern technology, they want the flexibility to work anytime, from anywhere, and not have to always sit at their desk to get work done. Many companies are revamping their policies to provide more flexibility, and they're also using it as a recruiting "perk" to attract Millennials to their workforce.

5. Mentor Programs: This is key! Millennials have grown-up with a lot of guidance from their parents, society, and teachers. And they now expect this type of handholding at work. If your company, large or small, doesn't offer a formal (or informal) mentorship program, create one.
I have spoken to many Millennials who have left a job due to mentors not being available at work. Think I'm kidding? I spoke to three Millennials in the past week who had been heavily recruited because of their grades and education, who had quit their jobs due to being promised mentorship and never receiving it. And they were leaving companies with brand names you'd know.

6. Curb Curt Communication: Many Millennials have been raised respected by our society and by their parents. The old saying, "A child should be seen and not heard" was eliminated when they were born. They have a very hard time working for managers who possess a curt communication style and cranky "edge,” and they will not tolerate being spoken to in a disrespectful manner for very long. Boomers, Gen Jones and Gen Xers have been able to tolerate bosses like this over the years, but Millennials normally won't.

Seminar: “Hiring and Inspiring the New Generation”
Track: Small Business Management
Presenter: Lisa Orrell, The Orrell Group
Date/Time: Monday, November 2, 2009, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.