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Five Solid Strategies to Retain Your Millennial Employees

August 31st, 2014
millenials_books

Lisa’s first book, “Millennials Incorporated“, provides countless ways to recruit, manage and retain Millennial employees!

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:

  • Start, or write for, your org’s blog
  • Set-up, or participate in, your org’s Facebook Page or other social media networks
  • Contribute to, or start, your org’s e-newsletter
  • Research and set-up a new software solution or develop new processes that can improve how your company runs

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?

The New Diversity Issue Created by Gen Y at Work

September 20th, 2011

As you read this, Millennial (aka Gen Y) Professionals are being actively recruited prior to, and upon, college graduation. Many are already busy navigating the waters of their first (or second) professional job since graduating.

And as I write this, well-known companies are hiring me to conduct seminars to educate their HR executives and internal recruiters about attracting and recruiting Millennial Professionals, as well as conduct seminars to educate their Gen X and Boomer employees about managing, motivating and retaining them. So, this isn’t just me saying they are a big deal to the future of our professional workforce; companies all over the U.S. and abroad are starting to see it, too.

But before I get into why they are creating a new dimension to diversity, let me give you a snapshot of why this new generation of young professionals has become such a hot commodity in the media and the business world. One key factor is the looming reality of the Boomer Brain Drain that companies across the country are going to feel over the next decade. Here’s one simple statistic, out of many, from the Office of Employment Projections that will quickly put this into perspective: The average large company in the U.S. will lose 30-40% of its workforce due to retirement over the next 5-10 years. Ouch.

And we have as many Gen Xers on the planet as there are going to be, so the replacements for this massive Boomer exodus are the Millennial Professionals. That is why M.B.A. students were being offered amazing employment packages a few years ago, and impressive signing bonuses were being offered. And, due to demand for talent, that trend will pick-up again as the economy recovers. Basically, out of head count necessity, recruiting and retaining them has turned into a big, competitive business.

Through the research for my books, I also realized many Gen X and Boomer professionals in today’s business world rarely have a clue about this new generation entering their domain. This research also led me to understand that the Millennial Professionals have their fair share of complaints about their older work colleagues, and one of their biggest complaints may surprise you.

Aside from companies clamoring to implement, or improve, their rewards and recognition programs, and scrambling to find unique ways to recruit and retain Millennials, they are also dealing with a new dimension to diversity this generation creates. Here is the big complaint I alluded to that may surprise you: Many Millennial employees are claiming to be victims of reverse age discrimination.

We all know age discrimination has typically referred to older employees feeling bumped out by younger co-workers. And this is still an on-going issue as reflected in high profile lawsuits that involve older employees suing companies like FedEx and The Tropicana Casino. In both cases, older employees claim they were laid-off so that the companies could replace them with younger employees who they could be paid less.

But I recently moderated a panel made-up of 5 Millennial women, between 22-26, and they each came from different companies whose names you’d know. All the women had Master’s degrees and each panelist came from a different ethnic background.

When I asked them if they felt they had the same opportunities as their male colleagues, they all quickly said that they felt that gender discrimination was a non-issue (from what they had experienced thus far). And they said that their race was not an issue at work. But they ALL said they face age discrimination on a regular basis and that it was very frustrating.

The 100+ audience members (mainly women in leadership positions ranging in age from 30-60) found this to be so interesting. Most Boomer and Gen X women in business have been battling gender discrimination for years. And, on top of that, many Boomer and Gen X women of color have had to also deal with race discrimination in the workplace. So it was a surprise to the audience that these Millennial women felt neither of those things affected them (at this point in their careers). To them, it was all about not getting respect from older employees because of their age.

Several of the panelists went on to say that they were thankful they were entering the business world at a time when so much correspondence is done online, and relationships are forged virtually, because it gives them the opportunity to establish their credibility with colleagues before having to meet them in-person. Each of the women did look young and they felt that was a liability. I was quick to say they wouldn’t feel that way when they were older…they’d be praying to look young again! But all joking aside, I understood what they were saying and respected their frustration.

On a positive side note in terms of diversity, we have a strong generation of young women coming up and a generation where gender and race lines are becoming blurred. A majority of Millennial women were raised to believe they could do anything boys could do and they were just as important and as smart as boys. This is also the first generation where boys and girls hangout together as platonic “buddies” starting from a young age through college. This is also a generation where over 80% answered “Yes” when asked if they were okay with marrying, dating, or having a life partner outside of their race (2007 California Dreamers Survey conducted by New America Media).

After moderating that panel, and speaking to many more Millennials about their experiences with age discrimination, I now really emphasize the importance of respecting them as “people” when I talk to Boomer and Gen X executives in my popular Get A Grip On Gen Y Seminar. I let them know this generation expects to be respected from Day One, regardless of their age or experience, and that a key strategy for retaining them is respecting their ideas and encouraging them to offer opinions. This may seem like common sense to you, but I talk to many Millennials whose bosses disregard their ideas and/or rarely ask their opinion about anything. Unlike some Boomer and Gen X employees who may tolerate this from their bosses, Millennials will quickly quit.

It is critical for employers to recognize that aside from race, gender and lifestyle diversity, age diversity is now something to be aware of. Younger employees probably won’t sue you based on age discrimination like older ones might, but they can still wreak havoc on your company’s stability. It’s impossible to grow and groom your next generation of leaders if they don’t stay!

27 Ways to Prepare Gen Y Employees for Leadership Roles

May 18th, 2011

Hi All!

Why do smart companies, large and small, spend so much time seeking ways to retain Millennials (a.k.a. Gen Y) and groom them for leadership? It’s truly boils down to basic 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 – especially now that Baby Boomers are starting to retire at an estimated rate of 1 every 8 seconds.

Out of necessity, Millennials – many of whom may only have one to three years of career experience – are moving into management roles much sooner (and younger!) than the generations before them did – and are expected to perform in these roles successfully. That’s why many companies also hire me to conduct my leadership training workshops and seminars for their Gen Y workforce!

Based on these facts, CareerBuilder.com invited me to write a 3-part series addressing this topic to help employers better retain and groom their Millennial talent for leadership.

And, they also decided to run a contest where you can win a copy of either of my books, Millennials into Leadership or Millennials Incorporated!

All you have to do is submit a 1-2 sentence answer to this question: “What advice do you have for working with Millennials?”  (submit to CareerBuilder.com in the comments section of the third article below).

Ten (10) lucky winners will be drawn at random by CareerBuilder.com! But their contest ends tomorrow, May 20th, so submit your answer today. Click here for entry info!

To read my 3-part series, simply click on the links below:

Part One: Six Ways to Retain Your Gen Y Employees

Part Two: 9 Ways to Teach Gen Y Employees a Leadership Mindset

Part Three: 12 Problem Solving Tips to Teach Your Gen Y Future Leaders 

And many thanks to Mary Lorenz, staff writer at CareerBuilder.com and manager of CareerBuilder’s popular blog, TheHiringSite.com. Mary is who contacted me about writing for them. Thank you, Mary, for your interest and support! 

Bye for now,

Lisa

20 Leadership Tips for Gen Y Provided by Female Executives

April 28th, 2010

Hi All!

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with several senior female executives from large corporations, and they gave me their personal insight and feelings about leadership. This is great info for any of you Millennials (Gen Y) out there who have entered leadership roles at work. Being an effective manager is tricky, and being a respected leader can be even more tricky.

So if you’re a Millennial in a leadership position, you should read their tips. These are from women who have been in the workforce 15+ years and who are highly respected within their companies. And, if want more help understanding leadership, pick up a copy of my book (written for your generation!), “Millennials Into Leadership”. The feedback from Millennials has been awesome and many companies are making it required reading at their companies.

Here are the 20 Tips they offered:

  1. Power, influence and integrity are three inter-connected circles that create the foundation for being an effective leader.
  2. Whereas there are many ways to describe power, the concept of integrity is more nebulous. It refers to a concept of wholeness, of alignment with your personal values, as well as that of your organization and your team.
  3. Defining leadership moments are not easy. There will be conflict, resistance, difficult circumstances. You may test a relationship, or even jeopardize your job. If you are up to the task and doing the right thing based on your personal assessment and your personal moral standards, it will prepare you for more of these opportunities to learn and grow and lead.
  4. Leading with power, influence and integrity takes the strength and intelligence to make plans and the courage to execute on them, especially under difficult circumstances, especially when many variables impact the right course of action.
  5. Leadership goes well beyond positional power, where someone has the authority to manage other people or projects and might rightfully use coercion as a strategy. People can also gain power by becoming an expert/authority on a specific topic, by encouraging/reinforcing others around them.
  6. Even if you have positional power, use that power judiciously.
  7. Don’t be someone you’re not. Find your personal “voice” and define your personal brand/style at work.
  8. Power is sharing info with people; not withholding it.
  9. For every ONE point of “suggestion/constructive criticism” you offer to an employee, provide NINE compliments.
  10. Empowerment and engagement are much more effective at getting things done and building positive relationships.
  11. “Power over” is about coercion, being domineering. “Power to” is more about affecting change. “Power with” is centered on collaboration. “Power Within” is centered on yourself.
  12. Be willing to walk away from a company or client without integrity.
  13. Never ask anyone to do something you wouldn’t personally do.
  14. Don’t shrink from any conversations with yourself; you must avoid denial with regards to any situation. This can lead to small issues becoming huge ones – and people will then be asking you, “How and why did this happen?”
  15. Embrace conflict tactfully: Speak-up (not in volume, but with opinion), debate with inquiry, and keep inquiring until there is nothing left to say.
  16. Communicate with courage and confidence; not intimidation.
  17. Insist on a seat at the table. Don’t avoid getting involved.
  18. People are listening to what you say…and to what you DON’T say.
  19. Be empathetic to employee needs and desires.
  20. Have your “core values” written down and share them with your team.

In my next blog post I plan to discuss the importance of developing your personal leadership brand to improve your career growth. I have lots of quick-hit tips from senior executives about that, too, that I’ll share!

And I will tell you that in ANY of the leadership seminars and workshops that I conduct for Millennial employees, the topic of “personal branding” is one of the most popular with my attendees!

Bye for now,

Lisa

Twitter @GneerationsGuru

What Do Gen Y/Millennial Employees Really Want From An Employer?

May 19th, 2008

Hi All,

Finally! I am back from a whirlwind travel schedule that has had me pretty much gone on & off for 3 weeks. Time to get caught-up on my blogging; which has clearly taken a back seat to all my other obligations.

I just got back from Detroit where I presented 2 seminars on attracting, recruiting, managing and retaining Millennial talent for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan. I had a great time and received a lot of positive feedback. Plus, I must add, I really liked Detroit! They have prime real estate along the Detroit River which is now getting gobbled up by developers around the U.S. and will have that area really beautiful within 5 years or so. 

Sure, the Mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, is being raked over the coals for sex scandals, but what big city hasn’t faced THAT? What really shocked me was how beautiful the Detroit RIver is (I was picturing brown & polluted). It’s Florida “ocean blue” and it’s amazing how long developers have taken to get that river front built-up.

I stayed at the Omni Detroit Hotel at River Place. I recommend that hotel to anyone looking for a great hotel in Detroit! It’s on the river, great views, nice staff, etc.

Anyway, enough about all that…

I came across this article on Quint Careers that I thought would be of interest to you on the endless journey of trying to get inside the brain of Millennials for better recruiting and retention.

How to Recruit, Hire, and Retain the Best of Generation Y: 10 Workplace Issues Most Important to Gen Y

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

Experts have been warning employers for years about the impending brain drain as baby boom workers — the heart and soul of many organizations over the last three decades — leave corporate America in droves for retirements and re-careering options.

But with the gloom associated with the baby boomers’ exit, comes the hope of a new generation of workers. Roughly the same size as the boomers, Generation Y is the foundation for the next three decades of employment and leadership.

So, what’s the problem? It lies with the attitudes that Generation Y has to employment and work. Generation Y has been the most pampered and indulged generation. Growing up with the Internet and various technological gadgets, this generation is also the most tech-savvy and wired (or perhaps wirelessly connected) cohort. Their views of life and work are different from any others — and if employers want to recruit and retain these people, strategies and policies and procedures will have to change.

There is no question that a paradigm shift is occurring in recruitment and retention — with the most successful organizations already implementing changes to cater to this new generation of workers.

Besides obvious things such as using social-networking sites to recruit employees and offering a corporate career site that is interactive and engaging (like the Deloitte career site that offers grads videos on life at Deloitte), what else can employers do to help ensure that they will be able to recruit, hire, and retain Generation Y workers?

Click here to see Randall’s list of the 10 workplace issues most important to Gen Y job-seekers and workers!

 

More new info coming soon!

Lisa

 

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