It should come as no surprise, but Millennials and Generation Z employees are quickly becoming the largest share of today’s workforce. And many employers strongly desire this demographics’ talent, drive, and ambition.
Retaining these younger workers, however, is proving to be a challenge for many organizations, especially amid “The Great Resignation” or “The Great Migration.”
According to the Deloitte Global 2022 Gen Z and Millennial survey, about one-third of these younger workers indicated they would quit their current job without having another job lined up. If stability and pay aren’t primary motivators for these age groups, then what are?
In order to secure the future of their workforce—and, therefore, their company—many employers are working to retain their Millennial and Gen Z talent pools. Let’s dive into some of the strategies leaders can implement in the workplace to make a demonstrated impact.
Why Is it so Difficult to Retain Millennial and Gen Z Talent?
To attract and retain Millennial (born between 1981 and 1996) and Gen Z (born after 1996) talent, one of the most critical approaches organizations need to take is to align their strategies with employees’ values, explains Matt Jabbour, leadership and executive coach and Arootah consultant.
So, what are those values? Jabbour points to three intrinsic elements to motivation at work from Daniel H. Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us:
- Autonomy: A desire to be self-directed.
- Mastery: A desire to improve on things that matter to them.
- Purpose: A desire to serve.
For organizations to succeed while retaining younger talent, “they need to embrace the values that get employees motivated and satisfied,” says Jabbour. “This will start with hiring employees who value making contributions, thrive in being autonomous, and are passionate about their work.”
Flexibility is also important to younger workers.
If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that so many in-office roles could easily be transitioned to work-from-home or hybrid models.
As employers continue to call their workers back into the office with no evidence of the benefits of this kind of work, younger employees are losing interest in the in-office tradition.
Another priority on the minds of younger workers: Work-life balance.
Many Millennials are parents, and they may be seeking jobs that allow them to prioritize their family.
Although The Great Resignation was borne from a perfect storm of reasons, many workers cited burnout as their primary motivation in quitting their jobs last year.
Other young employees want measurable learning and growth opportunities.
Gen Z and Millennial workers want to continue sharpening their skills in their place of work. In fact, 76% of Gen Z workers believe that continuous learning is the key to a successful career.
Gen Z and Millennial employees also want a company that demonstrates support for their beliefs.
This means employers need to show that they also value DEI, creativity, flexibility, and social impact in their organization.
Companies Thrive When They Have a Multi-Generational Workforce
While some employers may prefer to cling to their current (or dated) beliefs, adapting to the needs of a younger workforce could mean the difference between sink or swim for an organization.
Gen Z will make up 25% of the workplace by 2025 and Millennials already account for 35% of the current workforce. Pretty soon, there won’t be many other options among employees for hire.
Additionally, many companies struggling to conform to the standards of the younger generation may find that adaptation is exactly what they need to thrive. For example, in pursuit of better work-life balance for their employees, 70 British companies recently started the largest four-day work week trial in history. As a result of these changes, employees were pleased with the increased time off, reported experiencing less stress, and were more productive overall. One company even reported a 29% increase in profits from the previous year only one month into the trial.
While a four-day work week may seem like a drastic change to attract younger talent, it speaks volumes about the ROI on productivity and attrition rates work-life balance could provide.
6 Strategies to Attract and Retain Younger Talent
Keep your ears to the ground when it comes to your younger workforce. As more members of Gen Z begin to enter the working world, their needs will only magnify.
Here are some strategies organizations can use to help retain Millennial and Gen Z talent:
- Include a focus on professional development: Young talent is hungry to continuously evolve their skillset. This hunger means you should give feedback more than once or twice a year and designate clear time for professional development.
- Have a clear growth track in mind: When onboarding Gen Z or Millennial employees, make sure you define their growth track. These employees want to see where the time and effort they put in at your company can get them.
- Prioritize talent over work experience: Many employees entering the workforce for the first time are frustrated by companies demanding two to three years of work experience for entry-level positions. Instead of prioritizing experience, focus on the people you want to hire. Skills can always be taught; character is priceless.
- Act on your values: Organizations need to put their money where their mouth is if they want to retain employees who hold strong values. If your company states it cares about environmental or social causes, for example, you need to actively take steps to align your organization with those values. Your employees should feel that, by working for your company, they’re making a difference in the world.
- Hire a team coach: Enlisting a team coach not only helps shape and hone the talents of individual employees, it also supports them in working better together as members of a team. When you empower workers with the skills they need to develop and build a better workplace culture, it’s a win for all.
- Consider leadership training: You may also want to introduce leadership training, to help ensure alignment between leaders and your organizations’ values and mission, notes Jabbour. Preparing your high-potential leaders can motivate teams and, in turn, amplify business results.
The Bottom Line
Employers need to take a close look at the efforts they’re making to build a workplace culture where younger talent wants to join, stay, and grow. Take the time to focus your efforts and embrace proven strategies that will have a demonstrated impact on your team.
To transform your business, invest in your people. Arootah Team Coaching and Leadership Training programs can help your team learn how to best work together, feel empowered within the workplace, and enhance their careers—and your organization—as a result.