How to Improve Millennial Retention

Q. I just got a promotion! Yeah! And now, how do I keep my team here? I have six great staff members, all under 25 years old. I’m not that much older than they are so I get them, and pretty much understand what they want – I think. As a company, we have a hard time retaining our newer, younger staff, and I want to be successful as a manager and do what I can to make sure I keep my staff as long as possible. What can I do?

A. Congratulations and welcome to management, and the challenge of keeping Millennials hooked on staying with you and your company. According to Forbes, 91% of Millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years, and most employers are thrilled if it is that long! 45% of companies report having a high turnover rate with their millennial workers. Not only can this employee retention challenge be frustrating for a company, but it is expensive. It costs approximately $15,000-$20,000 to replace a Millennial (Millennial Branding Inc.) Discovering why Millennials job hop may provide some insight on how to prevent them from leaving you.


A recent study revealed 27% of Millennials left their job because their career goals were not aligned with the goals of the company. An additional 13% of respondents quit their job because they sensed a lack of career opportunities at the company. So what does this data tell you to do for the generation that now accounts for 36% of the American workforce and how you can retain your six?

Help your organization retain Millennials by:
• Adjusting your view of time. Annual reviews are out; instead, provide immediate and regular feedback on projects. They want speedy information, speedy promotions, and challenging projects today.
• Being open-minded. Millennials have a different perspective from the Generation X and Baby Boomer peers that you may be accustom to working with. Millennials want to participate, talk, suggest, offer their insight, and contribute. Do not have a negative reaction to ideas you may find annoying, challenging, or too far out-of-the-box. Instead, look for a nugget of value and be appreciative. Discuss, encourage and teach.
• Helping them see longer term growth with lots of smaller, and meaningful steps along the way. Connect the dots for them to show movement and growth. Get them training and any kind of development on a regular basis.
• Being transparent – even during the interview process. Hire the right Millennial. Explaining the goals of the company and the direction of the business is necessary and will allow the company to find a like-minded, Millennial for the role. Treat Millennials like investors; provide them with accurate information about the corporate strategy, the role, and leadership.
• Reaching out. Ask them what else they would like to try, and what other projects they want to learn about. Explain the financial ramifications of everything.
These efforts will help the employee feel welcomed, empowered and valued – three feelings that are extremely important to Millennials. The Millennial presence will only continue to grow in the coming years, and understanding what makes them tick is the best way to improve retention for them, and for you.
-Elaine Varelas, Managing Partner, Keystone Partners

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