Retention & Engagement

Millennials in the workplace: How companies can hold onto millennial talent [Podcast]

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Millennials have a reputation for job hopping, and for good reason: On average, a Gen-Y worker changes jobs every two years, by contrast to Baby Boomers, who make a switch every 15 years or so. That has costly implications for companies — and increasingly so, as Millennials in the workplace are projected to represent approximately 75 percent of the workforce in the next 10 years.

It’s critically important for companies to address this retention problem, says Ryan Avery, co-founder of Avery Today and a Gen-Y expert who trains business leaders on ways to motivate Millennials. “This is not a thing to focus on — it’s the thing to focus on when you’re serious about growing your business,” he says.

A member of Gen Y himself, Avery explains that there are several fundamental shifts that companies need to make to retain Millennials for the long haul. They include:

Move from “triangles” to “circles.” Many companies run their workplace like an empire or a “triangle,” in which top-ranking leaders dictate to low-ranking employees without engaging them in the process. However, as Avery explains, Millennials prefer a “circle” or community-like model, where everyone at the company gets a seat at the table and an opportunity to voice an opinion.

Recognize employees with small wins. Millennials aren’t interested in the “big wins” that used to incentivize Baby Boomers, such as receiving a gold watch after 15 years. Instead, they’re motivated by “small wins,” or little gestures that acknowledge their workplace efforts or demonstrate that their managers care about them. These “wins” can take many different forms, such as a Starbucks gift card, lunch at the office or paid subscription to Hulu or Netflix.

Forget the 9-to-5. Millennials don’t like to clock-in and clock-out of a job, says Avery. They prefer to prove themselves through the results they deliver or goals they achieve, and like to have the flexibility to achieve those milestones on their own timeframe. He adds that 95 percent of Millennials work outside of normal work hours, so it only makes sense for businesses to transition from measuring performance based on results versus time spent in the office.

You can hear more from Ryan Avery at some of our upcoming Vistage Executive Summits.

Category: Retention & Engagement

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Dave Nelsen About the Author: Dave Nelsen

I joined Vistage as a founding member (CE 676) in 2003. I've started four tech companies, attracting $70MM in venture capital. I was recognized as E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year (2000) and as Vistage Best Speaker of the Year (2011). I've h…

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