Companies that want to attract and keep great Millennial talent in the workplace have to be honest with themselves and ask the hard question.
“Are we truly attractive to Millennials?”
If you grew up with people asking you for your input, valuing your ideas and willing to listen to your experiences as valid, would it be okay to suddenly have no voice?
Our entire young adult workforce 21 – 39 are all Millennials. The time to understand what makes them tick is here. It’s no longer a nice to have, kindness, or largess. Either you get interested in what motivates and inspires Millennial talent, or you are facing a turnover rate of 30-60% of top young talent on an annual basis.
Millennials grew up with adults encouraging them to speak up, challenge the status quo, and ask for what they want. Today, Millennials have no patience for the old models of “top-down” or “line of sight” leadership.
So what do they want, desire and in fact, demand?
Diversity and inclusion were not just preached in their formative years; it was programmed and mainstreamed in their schools, their sports, and social activities. Millennials see the inclusion of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, orientations, and identities as fundamental to the culture of a place that they want to work.
A few years ago, I delivered a keynote for the Major Sports Diversity and Inclusion Summit. After my program, I was dining with some of the Millennial talent working for the MLB, NBA, and NFL. In true Millennial CODE, they immediately began to share their experiences, both highs, and lows. What may seem surprising is that although they were in what previous generations may perceive as a “DREAM job,” (Sports Management at major franchise headquarters), a number of them were quietly looking for new employment.
When I asked why here are the responses I received:
Millennials don’t live to work; they work to live. Millennials in the workplace want to have the flexibility to integrate the job into their lifestyle, not their lifestyle into the job. Addressing this Millennial CODE™ can be tricky for sure, but the best companies to work for earn their position because they proactively figure it out.
Growing up with coaches, advisors, and mentors as the adult role models in schools, sports teams, and home, Millennials are not willing to suffer for 8 – 12 hours a day in an authoritarian culture.
Where to start?
It’s not enough to have formal reviews that end in significant consequences if they don’t go well. You are missing the early signals and organic moments to discover what makes talent want to stay, play, or walk away.
Often in my corporate ½ day and full day programs, clients are ready to go deeper with engagement and solutions. We activate the pent-up employee intelligence with a Flashpoint exercise. The Flashpoints exercise gets folks telling us anonymously what the organization could start doing, and just as important what they should STOP doing now.
In 60 minutes we have revealed the most important thing from the team’s perspective and from each generation’s view to take action on now.
If you don’t have a track record of asking for or perhaps, more importantly, honoring feedback, you might have some trust building work to do. You can start with publicly executing on one of the “Flash” ideas with attribution. Let’s say that the idea for more flexible schedules came up and was very popular in the voting.
You did a little research and found that employers with flexible work schedules experience:
Great! Now it’s about being transparent as you are taking steps to implement for flexibility such as:
The most crucial point of all this is; TAKE ACTION on one idea!
If you want to attract and keep Gen Xers, Boomers and yes Millennials you must have authentic, organic and transparent, two-way channels that make sure: their voice is heard, their experience is honored, and resources are in place to dialogue about their future.