Posts Tagged ‘generations at work’
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?
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.
One of the main points I heavily emphasize in my Personal Branding workshops for employees and Managers, regardless of what generation they’re from or level they’re at in their career, is this: It isn’t possible to become a great leader without being an effective communicator. In fact, effective communication is a key component of success in the professional world, whether it is at the organizational, intra-group, inter-group, or interpersonal level.
And when I say “leader”, I’m referring to ANY level you’re at or role you’re in now. Millennials (aka: Gen Y), Gen X, and Boomers need to be in a “leadership mindset” at work and conduct themselves accordingly!
The best quality of an effective leader is the strategic way they communicate with other employees, translating key business goals into terms that help the latter identify ‘what’s in it for me, thus motivating them to align their actions toward the success of their organization. It’s part of a leader’s job responsibility to communicate effectively what the employees want and need to know.
Effective communication also includes a greater sense of contextual and situational awareness…which many people aren’t good at, and is why I believe companies need to provide more training on communication! That said, let’s look at some tips…
Communication Secrets of Effective Leaders
Great communicators believe in two-way communication. They understand that simply broadcasting their message won’t have the same effect as engaging in a meaningful conversation. They are good listeners while being astute in observations, possessing the ability to adapt their responses to the environment and situation without missing a beat.
Effective communicators are adept at transferring ideas and spreading their vision. Their words inspire action and align expectations, focusing more on contributing than receiving. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it pays off in the longer run. In fact, a leader that focuses more on leave-behind than the take-aways is more likely to learn deeper than they ever would by concentrating only on their agenda.
One of the best qualities of an effective leader is that they communicate with clarity, focusing on being simple and concise. Who would appreciate or understand your point of view if you remain complicated and confusing? After all, who has time to spare for trying to understand your complex language? Great leaders understand the value of clarity and brevity and know how to hit the point and cut to the chase. In order to be an effective leader, it is crucial to learn the importance of weeding out the superfluous in order to make yourself heard.
Focus on Inter-Personal Relationships
Great leaders reject the classic business theory that suggests them to stay at an arm’s length. They have a firm belief that only those prefer to stay away from others who want to remain in the dark. No great leader wishes to receive highly sanitized versions of the reality. They believe in developing meaningful relationships with employees in order to know what’s actually on their minds. A deeper understanding of each other is necessary for organizational success, and a good leader understands this well. Don’t let your ego be the roadblock to your relationship with other employees in the organization. Be candid and empathetic toward others to turn doubt into trust and earn greater respect.
Preparedness and Contingency Planning
The best leaders are always prepared for any kind of situation. They have a contingency plan in mind for any message that seems to evoke anger or criticism. In order to be a successful leader, it is important to learn how to justify your message with reason, business logic, and knowledge in order to make a lasting impact on the listeners. Remember, communication isn’t about you, your beliefs, your opinions, or your circumstances. In fact, it’s more about understanding others concerns, and fulfilling their needs. This will help you show your empathetic side and add value to their world.
In closing, DON”T be the type of leader that you wouldn’t want to work for. And you can prevent that by working on HOW you communicate with people, both verbally and visually!
Dubbed the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization, stress at work is increasingly being seen as a costly issue, thus stress management is becoming one of the most important challenges for employers across the globe. And employees, from all generations, are struggling due to stress. In the U.S. alone, 3 out of 4 workers describe their work as stressful!
A few of the key factors that cause stress for employees include: Firings, cost-cutting, business readjustments, working in an uncomfortable environment, unclear supervision, trouble with the boss, changes in financial status, altered responsibilities, variations in work hours, changed work conditions and office procedures, and transitioning to a different line of work.
However, work-family conflicts are increasingly common, especially with the growing issue of Baby Boomers being “caught in the middle” as The Sandwich Generation. They are now not only caring for their own Gen Y (aka: Millennial) children but also having to be caregivers for their elderly Veteran Generation parents…all while having to maintain a full-time job in the workforce!
The financial, emotional, and physical stress of this dilemma on the Boomers is staggering, and it’s going to continue to grow in severity. So employers are going to have to manage and support it…quickly.
Smart companies are addressing stress in the workplace because it makes good business sense; employee stress-related issues are costing employers around the globe a fortune. Here’s just a few fast facts (out of many on this topic) to illustrate this:
Based on those stats, it is crucial for employers to take earnest steps to deal with the problem and help employees cope with occupational stress.
Organizations looking to compete in a volatile marketplace are proactively making efforts to address the issue seriously. Examples include:
By focusing on individual stress management and organizational change, businesses can produce more productive, healthier, happier, and motivated employees. But employers have to make it a priority and foster a corporate culture that truly embraces health and wellness in their workplace…not just “say” they do!
Here’s a quote I share with many of my audiences: “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.” – From Rocking the Ages by J. Walker Smith, Ph.D. and Ann Clurman
So when I knew Cam Marston, a Generations Expert and someone whom I know professionally, had released his new book written for sales professionals, I couldn’t wait to get a copy. It’s entitled, Generational Selling Tactics that Work: Quick and Dirty Secrets for Selling to Any Age Group.
His writing style is similar to mine, which means that if you like business books that are loaded with quick hit, useful info, and not filled with fluff, you’ll enjoy his!
Here’s a general overview about Cam’s new book that’s now available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions:
All your customers like the same type of service, right? And all your products should be sold the same way to all prospects, right? And the reasons you like your product and service are the same reasons your buyers should like it, right? Wrong!
What your sales team doesn’t know about Gen Xers, Boomers, Matures, and Millennials impacts the bottom line. Each generation’s differing values creates differing expectations for what makes a quality sales or service experience. In Generational Selling Tactics that Work: Quick and Dirty Secrets for Selling to Any Age Group, thought leader Cam Marston reveals the four generations’ sales and services biases and provides simple, easy-to-execute ideas for reaching each.
Highly energetic and engaging to read, “Generational Selling Tactics that Work” is full of immediately actionable ideas for each generation so you can sell confidently and deliver superb service to each of these unique demographics.
So if you’re in sales, or manage a Sales Team, you’ll want to make Cam’s book part of your sales training!