Retaining Millennial Employees Through Inspirational Leadership
If you look at the workforce, it’s clear to see that Millennials—young adults born between 1980 and 1994—are on the rise. By 2020, Millennials will make up almost half of the American workforce. They’re often branded as entitled, lazy and non-committal. While this is an unfair assumption to make about an entire demographic, it is important to understand the value system that most of these young adults are developing. Many of them are enticed by entrepreneurship and don’t really want to work for a single company until they retire.
Many Millennials graduated in the midst of the Great Recession and had to get creative about how they earned income. As a result, many Millennials are currently working two or three odd jobs and don’t see the benefit of sticking with one company because nothing is guaranteed anymore. And yet, this isn’t the case with all Millennials. As a leader in your company, it’s your job to retain Millennial employees and keep them engaged. The best way to do this is through inspirational leadership. This shows itself in different forms.
1. Pay Attention to their Ideas
Millennials have seen systems that were previously considered foolproof fail their parents, and they’re now coming up with innovative ideas that might go against your company’s status quo. Obviously, if their ideas are unethical, don’t include them; however, take time to consider the ideas and contributions your young adult employees can offer. They have brilliant minds and different approaches that may be out of your comfort zone.
With wisdom, include the ideas of the Millennials in your company. When they feel like they can contribute their ideas and they’re considered valuable, this group is more likely to stick around. If they’re in a position where no one cares about what they have to offer, this can really be stifling and discouraging.
2. Grant Them Professional Freedom
The term might sound foreign to some, but professional freedom has more to do with how the job gets done. When a boss stands over your desk and tells you to do a job one way, it is intimidating and often annoying. Many people prefer to have the creative freedom to complete a job the way they know they can. As long as there’s a specified deadline and tools to get the job done, most Millennials prefer the freedom to get it done their own way.
If it’s a job that can be completed from home, or one that involves minimal time interacting with others, give them their space to work and perform at a high level.
To stay at a job, Millennials need to feel a level of fulfilment and connection to the people they’re working with. They’d like to experience a level of fun when they come to work. Worktime isn’t playtime, but work can still be enjoyable because they’re implementing ideas and executing projects they’re passionate about.
Lunch hour often involves great takeout, and sometimes even coffee and donuts provided by the company. Try to get creative about ways your employees can feel connected and productive yet still enjoy themselves.
4. Offer Fair Compensation
An employee’s compensation and benefits package is a crucial factor in their job satisfaction. No employee likes to feel like they’re trapped in a job with dismal pay and no benefits. Do your best to make sure your employees have the best packages possible. When your employees know that you care about their well-being, they’re more likely to work harder for you.
Invest in the growth and development of your staff. If you have graphic designers on your staff, send them to an amazing graphic design conference. Even a single conference can do so much to inspire them and push them forward in their professional growth. If you have a really gifted and budding leader in the pack, invest in their continued education. When Millennials are in companies that promote professional growth and development, they’ll want to take advantage of that support. This will simultaneously improve the quality of work you receive from them.
Retaining Millennial employees doesn’t have to be a difficult feat. As long as you’re authentic and intentionally thinking of your team, your company will go far into the future with Millennials carrying the torch.
Carol Evenson is a business consultant specializing in process automation and employee wellness. She has worked with Fortune 1000 companies and currently assists organizations within the US and UK. Follow her on Twitter.
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