Employee retention: How to keep hold of your millennial workforce

How do you keep hold of the millennials in your workforce? Are they really so different? Hannah Spruce tackles the subject of employee retention.

Millennials are getting a reputation for job-hopping. But that’s because they’re concerned about finding the right company, with the right prospects. You can be that right company, but you have to acknowledge it’s a two-way street.

Adjusting your interviewing methods and ensuring your company is attractive are the two best ways to optimise how attractive you are to young talent. Otherwise, your millennial stars will move and you’ll be left with the bottom of the Gen-Y barrel.

Employee retention matters

A high staff turnover costs a lot. Not just money but in productivity and time too. Plus, it’s risky. Hiring is not fool proof, and you could end up with a recruit who doesn’t pull their weight.

Equally, if people keep leaving your company, this can cause other employees to begin thinking something’s up. And you might find it prompts a surge of ‘grass is greener’ thinking. All is not lost. If this is your problem, there are things you can do to improve employee retention.

Hiring right helps you retain employees

If you hire people who are a good fit for your company in the first place – you’re more likely to hold onto them. This also might mean making some sacrifices. That bright young spark with dreams of starting their own business…forget them. They’ll be gone in the blink of an eye.

If you hire people who are a good fit for your company in the first place – you’re more likely to hold onto them.

Look for someone who’s done their research on your business, who has demonstrated loyalty in the past, and whose career trajectory lines up with what you can offer.

It’s also a good idea to choose someone who’s already moved around a bit. Millennials who are coming to you after one or two jobs are likely to know what they want from a company at this point. You can also try using employee referral programmes when you hire and offering more opportunities to promote existing staff or develop their skill set.

Make your company one for the long haul

Surveys on millennials have noted a strong desire for work-life balance. And the need for work to be engaging and to offer prospects for learning and quick development. Millennials are making harder demands on companies – they’ll put in more, but only if their efforts are matched.

They want companies to have good working conditions, decent salaries and work-life balance, and opportunities for advancement and career progression.

To target these needs you can:

  • Offer training and areas for progression and development. Identify the top skills you need in your company and provide opportunities for your employees to be trained in them.
  • Adopt flexible working patterns. Consider a four-day week.
  • Train managers (good management skills are essential to retaining employees as a desire for clear guidance and expectations is something millennials want).
  • Ask employees what they want. There’s nothing like a bit of actual, open, honest discussion in business.
  • Recognise achievement and provide immediate feedback. Millennials need to know that when they work hard, it is recognised. Providing feedback will get them working harder and boost productivity.
  • Have clear performance expectations. Line and team managers should communicate these. Millennials are work conscious, and they need to know they are performing as expected.
  • Create a culture of open communication between managers and employees – this will help promote a degree of mutual respect.

Retaining your millennial workforce may bring changes to the workplace. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Workforces are changing. They look pretty different to what they did many years ago. And there have been many positive changes, like the emphasis on equality, diversity, and inclusion. And there are so many benefits of a diverse workforce. Especially in an era where businesses should be setting their sights globally.


About the author

Hannah Spruce is a social issue and HR specialist for High Speed Training – a leading UK online training provider. She is also the author and researcher behind High Speed Training’s Interviewing Skills training programme.


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