Millennial retention: Why it matters to your business and what you can do to address it?
Aidan McCarthy, Learning & Development Advisor at Vodafone Ireland
Retaining talent should always be a top priority for any small or medium sized enterprise (SME) and new research is showing what influences young people in particular to stay with their employers in a competitive market.
The Deloitte Millennial Survey for 2018 has been released and delves into what drives young talent to stay within a company and what can motivate this cohort to achieve greatness in the company they are in. This report highlights three key areas which SMEs should consider when looking at their millennial talent; flexibility, diversity and pay.
Millennials will make up of 35% of the workforce in 2020 with GEN Z making up 24% of the workforce. With this emerging trend in young talent dominating the workforce, it is important for businesses to really look at the young talent within their organisation and understand the motivations of the millennial workforce.
To begin with, culture is hugely important to people entering the workforce and young people between the ages of 21 to 24 really want to work for a company that has great culture. This population has grown up being influenced by the media – TV, Instagram, Facebook etc -- where they are exposed to companies displaying what it would be like to work for them.
Companies that have flashy ads on Facebook and other media outlets may have a degree of ‘smoke and mirrors’ to them, but this has an impact on young people’s perception of the workplace and influences their preferences when it comes to workplace culture.
Within your own organisation, have a review of the culture you currently have – is it an open environment? Is the workspace modern and up to date? Can your people work flexibly or remotely? What is the dress code within your business?
All of these questions need to be asked and answers reviewed when ensuring you have the culture of flexibility and openness that the millennial workforce desire. This will have a huge impact on retention amongst the young population, if the culture changes negatively you may see this cohort beginning to exit.
The war for talent is huge in the Irish market at the moment, for SMEs it can be particularly tough when competing for talent against the large multi-nationals. However, a huge area that could differentiate you from the rest of the market can be diversity and inclusion within your organisation.
This was mentioned in the Deloitte survey for millennial talent as a key driver for young people choosing a place to work. These people want to see a diverse range of talent within a company. Millennials can be quite particular when choosing where they want to work, and they can afford to be as in general they are a skilled and educated workforce. It’s a candidate’s market at the moment.
But diversity within a company can be the deciding factor for millennial candidates. It is so important not only for retaining talent but also for growing bottom line growth. Diversity within an organisation can have a positive impact on brand, teamwork, performance, innovation and growth.
So not only is it the right thing to do in society, is the smart thing to do in terms of business and retaining talent.
Finally pay is hugely important to the younger generation, even if it’s not the most important in terms of deciding where to work. Other factors do come into play as discussed above but pay will have an impact on the retention of millennial talent.
It is important that this cohort be paid for the work they are doing and paid at the market rate for their level of skill and experience. Just because they are the youngest in the company certainly does not mean that they need to be paid the least -- if this happens your attrition rates will be quite high.
Pay millennials what they are worth and what the rest of the market would pay them, you don’t want to lose exceptional talent for the sake of a couple of grand a year in the pay packet.
Millennials will always be seen as movers within organisations, as can be seen in the Deloitte survey where 43% of the workforce said they would leave a company within two years. However, 28% said they would like to stay beyond five years – this figure can definitely be increased by organisations once they really reflect on the above and apply it to their own business.
Once you get the above right, SME’s will really see the benefits of growing millennial talent with their businesses.