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Managing AND Retaining Millennials

With the recession behind us and the economy growing, the competition for top talent is intensifying. Interestingly, it’s not just the experienced or specialist employees that are in demand but the open-minded, fresh-thinking millennials are just as sought after as our workforce becomes increasingly transient.

They are the much talked about generation fuelling endless tomes of research, studies and reports. And while past reports of job-hopping millennials may have been exaggerated – some companies still struggle not just in hiring millennials but retaining them. They will make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020, so companies need to consider making changes to their organisational structures and management styles – now.

Overall, millennials value career and personal development over money and status. So, strategies beyond remuneration need to be developed. Here are our 5 recommendations for businesses who want to respond to the new world of work and engage millennial talent:

  1. Flexible and trusted – Millennials have ambition and drive but this should not be seen that they want to work all the hours to be like the generation before them. Now they are seeking more work-life flexibility. They want to be trusted to work remotely, they want to dress casually, speak liberally and receive feedback to help them grow.
  2. Career Growth – They need to see opportunities to grow, where they can join a team working on projects that have meaning and purpose. They may only be around for a few years so don’t speak tradition and legacy, instead redefine the career development conversation and give them time to speak about their career and personal interests.
  3. Openness and transparency – Growing up with technology and social media, millennials expect a culture of transparency and for management to be upfront on why decisions are made. Keep them informed and satisfy their sense of purpose by helping them understand how their purpose links to company values. Millennials will be more engaged and committed if they are informed regularly on progress against the company’s strategy.
  4. Mentorship both ways – Millennials appear to be more interested in finding mentors than their previous generations. Leaders and Managers can play a key role here (and not just their direct line managers) – helping millennials with their personal growth or demonstrating the characteristics of a strong leader. However, the real opportunity is in millennials offering ‘reverse mentorship’. If Managers are open to accept the mentorship, the reverse mentor-mentee relationships can add significant value for both parties to learn and utilise one another’s strengths.
  5. Listened and recognised – Millennials expect a high-touch approach to management – listen to them and give them feedback. Since their early education, they believe their ideas are important and valuable, so listen to them or they won’t respect you. They really desire a great deal of  feedback – which goes outside the normal parameters of a performance management system. Managers must take the time to engage in formal and ad-hoc constructive feedback on a regular basis.

John Fitzgerald is the Founder of the Harmonics Group. Harmonics specialise in helping Organisations plan for change, manage change and support their people through change. For further information please call 061 336136.

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