Keeping Millennial Workers- How to Improve Employee Retention

Millennials: the dominant generation in the U.S. workforce, according to various labor reports, may have a slightly tainted reputation for not staying at any one particular job for a very long period. The constant turnover of millennial workers is both tiring and expensive for company hiring managers. The problem is not that millennials cannot keep a job; it is that they have a different outlook on careers than any other generation previously.

Millennials are well educated, skilled, confident and able to multi-task. They have high hopes for their job experiences and prefer to work for the good of others. Most of them try to find a job where there is a healthy work-life balance because they do not want to sacrifice their personal lives.

Millennials are the generation that is now ruling the United States labor force. They have already become a respected generation by traditional employers because they tend to be business oriented, motivated listeners and they prefer technological advances. This generation has a habit of looking for motivational work and they are hard to impress with the typical job perks. Millennials usually want to work in careers that allow them to be both social and creative.

Also read: Should We Stop Making a Big Deal about Millennials?

A new employee can cost a business around 1.25 to 1.4 times the base salary range. For example, someone with a yearly salary of $50,000 can potentially cost the company between $62,500 and $70,000. This is due to the cost of the base salary plus recruiting costs, taxes, employee benefits and the physical equipment required for each new employee.

According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey of 2016, 25% of those that were surveyed said that they would want to leave their job within the next year and 44% have already planned to resign in two years. The statistics show that 68% of millennials stated that the longest they would remain with the same employer is only three years. These facts are probably one of the contributing factors to the fact that the average United States worker spends only 15 months per job in today’s society.

To entice and obtain the Millennials’ gifts, an increasing number of corporations are redesigning criteria intended to keep millennial employees. At FreshBooks an invoicing and accounting software provider, employee and Manger of Support, Grace Antonio 32,  found that offering an increase in pay does not impress, or rather equate to, higher millennial retention rates. Since the traditional occupational perks have been proven inadequate at keeping millennials in a job, Antonio wanted to explore what drives a millennial to keep a particular career path with one company. She has shared what she did to increase retention rates to an average retention rate of over 90% with millennial employees:

6 Ways to Prevent Employee Turnover in Your Small Business

How to Improve Your Employee Retention

1. Focus on the Hiring Strategy

Companies should begin thinking about how to keep millennial employees throughout the interview portion of their hiring process. They should not simply settle on employing the first slightly appropriate applicant for any position in their business. Each manager should have the opportunity to identify the character, morals and skills, former long-term employees have shown. When an applicant does not share the same values as the company, it is hard to convince them that they are right for the job or that they should stay for a very long period of time.

Millennials have often shared that they are not willing to sacrifice their lifestyle for their job, so hiring managers should take into consideration that Millennials may not necessarily work more hours even for more money. Millennials simply feel as though their time is more valuable than arbitrarily increasing pay or offering cash bonuses.

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2. Make Your Business Centered Around Your Customers

When each and every employee is delivering incredible performance to all of the company’s customers, it affects the employee’s devotion to that particular brand. When customers are happy with a company, their reactions influence the worker’s satisfaction of their job. According to some studies, businesses that focus on the happiness of their customers, maintain 40% engaged and 24% fully engaged employees instead of correspondingly 18% and 4% for other companies that don’t have a customer-centric approach to employee engagement. Companies like FreshBooks who require all of their new employees to do some time in customer support services say that their workers develop a meaningful connection with the way clients feel and develop empathy towards their needs.

Also read: Millennials want to see your company values, not hear about them

When employees develop a bond with customers, they are more dedicated to their work because they do not feel like they are working for a faceless corporation. Millennials are often concerned with the fact that they want to work for an ethical organization. Workers want to know that their job really means something to others and after they spend some time with customers, they feel encouraged to interact with everyone more meaningfully. In turn, the experience leads improved loyalty from workers because when they are happy with their job, they are more likely to stay with the company longer.

3. Leverage A Shared Purpose

Millennial workers tend to be driven by knowing that they are making a difference more so than by money. 74% of millennial job searchers stated that they would be more inclined to accept a job where they feel like they really matter to others and are making a difference. Young workers that have a sense that they are doing a meaningful job are three times more likely to stay with the same company than those who do not. These workers have also reported that they are more engaged at work and more satisfied when they have a shared purpose with the company they work for.

Millennial workers want to share all of the responsibilities of the company. Most millennials want to feel empowered and be included in all forms of the company’s decision making. It is important that employers create equal opportunities for their young employees, but to also make them as integrated in terms of business decisions as possible. Being able to say that they embrace the company’s values that they work for is a massive step toward being more ambitious and devoted company for most Millennials.

Millennials want to know all about the company that they work for. Millennial workers often resent the company they work for if they are not included in the company’s plans for the future. These workers want to continue learning all of the time. If an employee feels like they are learning new skills on the job, then they are much more likely to stay with the business. Learning new things helps keep the workers engaged and dedicated to their work.

According to one survey, 87% of millennials say that their occupational growth opportunities are particularly important to them in a job. Also, 68% of those who have confidence that they received adequate progressive opportunities in the last year said that they have intentions of staying with their current employer for the near future. Around 70% of the changes in employee attentiveness is believed to be credited to the manager of that employee. Corporations that want to progress their millennial employee retention rates need to encourage an attitude of connection between their managers and workers.

Effective Employee Engagement Must Be One-on-One

4. To Bond Together and to Grow Together

Millennial employees want to feel like they are cared for at their place of work and they want the opportunity to have connections with their employer. Predictably, many Millennials will only work for a company where they feel like they can be connected to others and have equal opportunities for growth. Millennials want regular feedback from their employers because they want to feel connected to their managers. These workers want to feel like they are engaged with their employers and that they can rely on them. Millennials do not want to feel like they are “just another employee.” They want praise that makes them feel as though they are necessary to the company. When millennials do not feel like the work they do is appreciated, they will often resort to doing the minimum amount of work required. To keep millennial employees working for a company, employers should show that they respect their workers.


Millennial workers tend to have a bad reputation for not staying at any job for a very long period, and continuous turnover of workers is expensive for corporations. The problem is that companies need to realize that Millennials have a different attitude towards their careers than past generations. Millennials are well educated, skilled in technology, confident and able to multi-task. They have high hopes for their job experiences and prefer to work for the good of others. Millennials try to find jobs where there is a work-life balance because they also value their time away from their jobs.

Millennials want to work for a company that does not make them sacrifice their lifestyle with emails, texts and other work-related problems outside of work hours. Millennials desire a career where they can feel like they are helping other people as a valuable employee of a corporation. These workers want to know all about the company that they work for because they want to have the same values as their co-workers. Millennials pride themselves in working for an ethical business. One of the most important things for employed millennials is that they want to be recognized for the work that they do. Millennials are not likely to stay with a company where they do not feel appreciated. Employers that want to successfully keep Millennials working need to remember that millennials are not like workers of the past.

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About the author

Andrew Harker is a data focused marketing trailblazer and keen chef, with over 10 years of experience covering all the major digital channels. When he’s not helping FreshBooks with digital strategy he can be found helping local clients win at marketing themselves in the digital age. Connect with him at Blue Link SEO.