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I’ve written tons of blogs and articles on this topic, but it continues to be a challenge for many companies which is why they bring me in to conduct in-depth seminars about it. Based on that, I felt it wouldn’t hurt to write another post on “how to retain Millennials” (aka Gen Y) since it’s still a very hot topic in the workforce.
So, why DO companies – large and small – spend so much time worrying about how to retain Millennial employees? It’s basically a matter of math.
According to the Employment Policy Foundation (EPF), our country is at the beginning of a labor shortage of approximately 35 million skilled and educated workers, which is estimated to continue over the next two decades. Plus, Baby Boomers are currently reaching retirement age at an estimated rate of 1 every 8 seconds.
Thus, startling stats like those have Leadership Teams scrambling to figure out how to effectively retain their “top” younger talent because the current, and future, success of their companies depends on it.
To give your company an edge, consider the following strategies that other smart organizations are implementing…
5 Solid Strategies to Retain Your Millennial Employees:
1. Communicate A lot: In a survey conducted by Yahoo! HotJobs and Robert Half International, over 60 percent of Millennials responded that they want to communicate with their managers at least once a day. Unfortunately, many members of “older” generations feel that communicating that often with employees is cumbersome but the Millennials require it or they will leave.
2. Provide Training & Development: According to a recent national survey, Millennials rated training and development as an employee benefit 3 times higher than they rated cash bonuses. And they not only want skill-based training; they want training on soft skills, too.
3. Rapid Advancement Alternatives: You don’t always have to give Millennials a raise or promotion to keep them happy; being creative with increased responsibility can work great! Millennials have fast minds and get bored quickly, but it’s your job as their employer to help eliminate the “boredom” factor. Find creative ways to give them more responsibility, such as letting them do one or more of the following:
4. Mentor Programs: This is key! Millennials have grown up with a lot of guidance from their parents, society and teachers. They truly value and seek handholding at work. So, please heed this advice! I’ve spoken with many Millennials who have quit jobs quickly because they were promised mentorship, but never received it.
5. Foster a Leadership Mindset: The sooner you can educate your Millennial team members on the attributes of being a respected leader, the sooner they’ll start acting like one. And by emphasizing that everything they say and do either strengthens or weakens their Personal Brand(s) can quickly provide them with a new perspective that can improve the behavior that may be frustrating you.
Finally, it’s important to remember that Millennials’ wants and needs aren’t much different from those of older generations; they just have a lower tolerance threshold than generations before them. A Boomer may put up with a job for five years even if he or she is bored or doesn’t feel valued, but a Millennial may only tolerate it for five months.
That said, what can your company being doing differently to ensure that you don’t lose your top Millennial talent to the competition? Savvy organizations are being pro-active with developing retention strategies versus being reactive. Is yours?
With $1.5 billion in annual spending power, and being a generation 85 million strong, it’s easy to see why companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations care about attracting Millennials (aka: Gen Y) as customers. The eldest Millennials are now around 30 years-old…so they’re not just “clueless kids” anymore.
So for businesses to more successfully engage, attract, and develop new customer relationships, it’s important to be aware of this interesting fact shared by J. Walker Smith, Ph.D. and Ann Clurman, Co-Authors of the book, Rocking the Ages: “Generationally determined lifestyles & social values exercise as much influence on buying and purchasing as more commonly understood demographic factors like income, education, and gender do – maybe even more.”
How Millennials (aka: Gen Y), Generation X, and Baby Boomers each prefer to be engaged with is different. And it’s critical that Sellers educate themselves on these preferences as it can greatly improve the results of their sales and marketing efforts.
However, for this post, my focus is on Millennials. Not only are they the newest generation of young, adult consumers, they are the most unique. Thus, they’re worth learning about. Why? For starters, they are the largest generation the U.S. history. Plus, by 2025, 75% of the U.S. workforce is going to be comprised of Millennials.
As a result, not only will Sellers and Employers be working with them more as colleagues, but they’re going to be heavily competing for them as customers.
There are many ways to attract, engage and build brand-loyalty with this unique generation. Here’s an example of three to be aware of:
Smart companies are investing a lot of time, effort, and money into learning everything they can about the Millennial mindset; both as employees AND consumers. Furthermore, Sales Teams all over the globe are learning how to better engage with them as our next generation of key decision-makers in the workforce.
Recruiting, managing and retaining Gen Y employees (aka: Millennials) seems to be all the rage nowadays, but smart companies are also putting effort into retaining their Baby Boomer talent. Recent research shows that “one Boomer hits retirement age every 8 seconds” in the United States, and although not all of them CAN retire due to their financial circumstances, many of them can. Yet those who can’t retire are looking for alternatives to generating income outside of the corporate grind.
The need for Boomer retention is being felt more in technology, pharmaceutical, and engineering companies. However all industries are feeling, and will continue to feel, the pain of a serious “brain drain” as Boomers exit the workforce…taking their vast experience and knowledge with them.
So how can a company keep their Boomer talent, who have one foot out-the-door, from walking away? Here are four Boomer retention strategies to consider:
Match Them with a Younger Mentor
Some Baby Boomers feel intimidated by rapidly changing technology, and this results in their wanting to leave the workforce because they feel “antiquated”. To help this situation, many companies are implementing “reverse mentor” programs where younger employees mentor them on social media, smartphone apps, and using new technology the company has implemented. This helps those Boomers who are choosing to retire because of technological advancement from leaving because they no longer feel embarrassed about not grasping tech it quickly.
I conduct presentations for Executive Leadership teams and Human Resources executives where they all tend to focus on Generation Y wanting flexibility. What they fail to realize (until I tell them) is that Boomers on the verge of retirement want the same thing!
Many Boomers who HAVE to continue working, or who want to continue working, choose to leave their jobs because they’d rather try being self-employed, or take a job somewhere else that embraces flexibility, so they have more control over their schedules. More and more companies recognize this and are launching flex-time, part-time, consulting positions, remote working options, etc.
Sure, much of that started due to Millennials demanding it, but companies quickly see it is helping keep their Boomer talent longer, too.
Give Them a Second Career Choice
Many Boomers want to leave because they’re burnt out on what they’ve done professionally for (possibly) 30+ years. As a result, many employers are offering job training options so their Boomer talent can learn a new skill set, oftentimes in a totally different department. Research is showing that this “career customization and training” strategy can reignite their enthusiasm and excitement, resulting in their desire to stick around a lot longer.
Eliminate Generic Rewards Programs
It has been proven time and time again that the one-size-fits-all rewards and recognition programs DO NOT work. Everyone is different, and what motivates them is different. What a 60 year-old employee wants is normally different from what a 25 year-old wants.
Encourage front-line Managers to find out WHAT each of their employees want, and allow them to act accordingly (within reason, of course!). Customized employee incentive have been proven to work… across all generations!
Starting from now through the next 20 years, companies cannot afford to lose their top talent. We are entering an employee-driven job market again, after it being an EMPLOYER-driven market for quite a few years. So it’s time for companies to take employee retention, across the generations, very seriously.
In the business I’m in, I review a lot of resumes and CVs and I know a great deal of Recruiters, HR Executives
and Hiring Managers who do as well. And we all agree on one thing: most resumes and CVs are bad. Really bad.
I’m not talking about grammar mistakes or ugly formatting, although there is plenty of that. I’m talking about descriptions that make no sense, whole lines and paragraphs that are so full of clichés and corporate-speak that they don’t actually communicate anything, and missing details that any potential employer would want to know. You’d be amazed how often I can read a whole job description and not know what the person actually did. Or if I do know what they did, I often have no idea if they did it well.
As a Professional Speaker and Trainer, I conduct many career-focused workshops for college students. And trust me when I say, their resumes aren’t great, but they aren’t that much worse than many seasoned professionals who should know better. The resume is the most important document any individual can create for finding a job. After all, the resume can be the difference between the job of your dreams and just something that pays the bills.
So how can they be so universally bad given the incentive that very smart and competent professionals have to do them well?
The reason is it’s very hard to self-evaluate your accomplishments and communicate them effectively. It’s hard to see yourself objectively, and if you are in a field that is at all technical, it can be incredibly difficult to communicate your work to people in HR and recruiting. It is very hard to separate yourself from your own experience, memories, and associations, and objectively and effectively communicate your experience and skills.
What can you do?
That’s why I recommend that job seekers consider hiring a resume writing service. The problem is that there are just so many bad ones out there. And paying somebody to review a document might seem like a waste of money since you can find a friend to read your resume and critique it.
Trust me, it’s worth it. Unless someone has seen a truly great resume they won’t know what’s wrong with yours. And unless they’ve made truly great resumes, in a variety of fields, they can’t tell you how to create one.
Therefore, I recommend looking into Resume to Interviews to create your resume, CV, and other career related documents (LinkedIn profile, cover letter, etc.). It doesn’t matter whether you are a college student, C-level executive, or someone in between. It’s an awesome, cost-effective, service and one of the few legitimate services that exist that provides real value. In fact, their blog provides some valuable how to write a resume guide for specific industries like nursing and IT.
Here’s an overview of how they describe their service and how it can benefit you:
We’re a company that creates custom resumes, CV’s, cover letters and personal statements (aka: Personal Branding) that stand out and get noticed among the mountains of resumes and CV’s that employers and recruiters have to wade through on a daily basis. At Resume to Interviews, our goal isn’t to create a good looking resume, or one that looks like others you’ve seen in your field.
We create resumes that are better than what you’ve seen before, and better than most hiring managers have seen before as well. That’s why they pick up the phone so quickly to set up interviews with our clients.
Resumes to Interviews has created over 5,000 resumes and CV’s over the last seven years and they create close to 100 each month for clients from all over the world and in every conceivable industry. What really sets them apart is their process: they have you fill out an intake questionnaire (this takes work on your part) and use it to create a brand new document, which they then perfect during a back and forth editing process with you.
They don’t just proofread your document and change some language. They ask you hundreds of questions to develop your content and carefully target it towards job listings you provide. And the process isn’t over until you are 100% satisfied.
Plus, they offer LinkedIn Profile consultation and Professional Coaching services for interviewing tips, as well.
All of that said, here are two questions for you:
Why spend countless hours trying to draft your own resume or CV only to find out it’s one of the “bad ones” that gets immediately thrown in the trash? Why not consider a service like theirs to ensure your resume separates itself from the piles of mediocre resumes that get sent to employers every time a job opening in posted online?
I think you know the answer to those questions. So check out Resume to Interviews.
Personal Branding has become a hot topic in the workforce these days. I know this firsthand based on how often I’m hired to conduct my Personal Branding Workshops and training sessions for employees at companies all over the country. And the popularity of this topic is what also prompted me to write my fourth book that JUST came out on Amazon: “Your Employee Brand is in Your Hands: How Any Employee Can Create and Promote Their Own Personal Leadership Brand for Massive Career Success!”
But, what is Personal Branding? Short answer: A strong Personal Brand allows all that’s strong and effective about your personal and professional style to become known (in a deliberate and managed way) to your colleagues up, down, and across the organization, thus enabling you to generate maximum value and unique “distinction” for yourself.
And, as with product or company branding, if you do not take control of developing, establishing, and managing your Personal Brand, and actually put some thought into it versus just letting it happen organically, other people will do it for you…and it may not always be accurate or personally favorable.
So how can it help you achieve the career success you desire? Here are three reasons why focusing on developing and managing a Personal Brand is critical to your career growth:
It Gives You Clarity
Personal Branding is all about increased self-awareness by: acknowledging your weaknesses (such as having a bad temper or being a poor communicator), making the necessary changes to improve yourself, and by also understanding your strengths. You have to know “who you are and who you aspire to be” in order to conduct yourself in any role effectively; be it entry-level or a senior leadership position. And the more clarity you have, the better your chances are for career advancement and managing employees more effectively!
Improves Your Job Satisfaction
As you becomes clear on your Personal Brand, you become clearer on your personal and professional values. This normally leads to asking yourself things like: Am I in the right job or role? Do I even like what I do or should I make a career change? Does my Boss, or the Company, mesh with my Personal Brand values? Those are all valid questions. Knowing the answers benefits you because it improves the odds of being at a company or in a position where you’re “truly happy to be”…and that is key to job satisfaction.
Also, if you’re unemployed or actively job seeking, determining your Personal Brand will help you hone in on the companies, positions, and Boss’s that will best work for you. There are many job candidates who turn down employment offers because they know it’s not the right fit with their Personal Brand.
Expands Your Notoriety
In addition to wanting more notoriety at work, many employees also want to stand out in their industry. They want to be asked to speak at industry tradeshows and conventions, and they want industry media to contact them for interviews. There’s nothing wrong with desiring this type of recognition; it’s actually a very smart career growth strategy.
If you strategically create and promote your Personal Brand as a Thought Leaders within your industry, this type of notoriety can be achieved. It does require you to be your own “Publicist”, and to stay current on trends so that you have unique insights to share, but it can be done. And it can quickly expand awareness for your Personal Brand outside of the office.
So take the time to focus on you! Be honest with yourself about your strengths, weaknesses, things you need to work on, and traits you ASPIRE to have. No one is going to do it for you…except YOU!