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How Can Employers Retain Top Millennial Talent?

How Can Employers Retain Top Millennial Talent?

Attracting and retaining top talent was a challenge for employers already, but now businesses have to compete against modern offices with in-house baristas, napping pods, beer gardens, and free lunches.

How do smaller companies compete?

Before you run screaming to your human resources department in a blind panic, here are five tips and tricks you can use to retain top millennial talent—ping-pong tables not included.

Offer What You Can

Let’s be honest: Not every modern business can compete with Google’s theme-park-like environment. This should not mean they suffer from a lack of talented candidates. If you cannot dazzle millennials with yoga meetings, highlight the flexible hours or remote working opportunities you offer. This will be especially impactful for millennial employees who either live with their parents or have a potentially long (or potentially terrible) commute. This tactic has the added benefit of establishing a trust relationship between manager and employee that is particularly meaningful for a younger team member.

“Show Me the … New Project!”

Cash is not always king when looking to retain millennial talent. According to Aberdeen Group research, millennial employees are 2.5-times more likely to commit to working for their employers because they are challenged and intrigued by their work as compared to having a competitive salary. Of course we all need to pay rent, loans, and car payments, but when it comes to inspiring your employees, you will get more flies (millennials) with honey (empowering work).

Use Mentorship Programs as Your Secret Sauce

College graduates are energized and want to learn, which is why company-led mentorship programs are ideal. By tapping into that energy, you are not only helping provide feedback and guidance, but ultimately helping your company gain a profitable and, more importantly, long-term employee. If you do not already have a mentorship program, start by asking for mentorship and mentee ambassadors. This might include:

  • Attending local networking events to grow and expand both of your professional networks;
  • Weekly or monthly coffee meetings to discuss shared goals or career pain points.

Don’t Discount the Importance of On-the-Job Training

For the first time in history, student loan debt is greater than credit card debt. Many millennials will be paying off their undergraduate debt for the next 30 years. This will mean many of them will put off attending graduate school, if they even go at all. On-the-job training, such as informative webinars, e-learning modules, or company-led career-focused book clubs, can offer millennials the opportunity to advance their career and grow their skill set without sinking further into debt. If your company does offer tuition reimbursement, as 56.6 percent of employers do, share that with candidates during the interview process.

Acknowledge Success, But Not Always with a Raise

All employees, from millennials to baby boomers, like to have their hard work acknowledged. Annual bonuses and raises are appreciated when they are appropriate and in line with the employee’s achievements. But millennials are a “as it happens” generation; start by catching their exemplary work in the moment and recognizing it in a meaningful way. Among a generation that invented the “selfie” is a modern workforce that relishes the authentic.

Millennials will make up nearly 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025: How are you planning to attract and retain top talent in the next year?

Image via Dollar Photo Club

About Megan DeWaele

Megan DeWaele is the marketing manager for Aberdeen Group, a Boston-based company publishing research that helps businesses worldwide improve their performance.

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