Posts Tagged ‘retaining millennials’
By now, most people have heard the term, “Helicopter Parents”. You know, the Boomer parents of the Millennial (aka: Gen Y) Generation who have hovered over their kids since birth, guiding them through childhood, into college…and now following their “adult” children into the professional workforce.
What??? You weren’t aware of how prevalent this hyper-parenting phenomenon truly was? Oh, trust me, it’s a BIG deal (and issue) for many Bosses and companies. Some companies are even starting to add “do’s and don’ts” policies in Employee Handbooks for the PARENTS! I’ll explain why in a bit.
And, just to be clear, I’m referring to employees who are in their 20’s, in corporate environments; not parents calling work on behalf of their teenager who has a summer job at the local mall.
Let me put this into perspective from my own first-hand experience: In my SEVEN YEARS of being a keynote speaker and conducting workshops for companies about how to better recruit, manage and retain Millennial talent, I’ve yet to ask this question and NOT get a hand raised: “Who here has heard from the parent of one of your Millennial employees?”
EVEN if it’s a small private session for a corporate Management Team (versus an audience of 500+), I always get at least 1-2 hands raised. Always.
This recently happened again at a presentation I conducted for Executives at an annual automotive industry conference last week. Six attendees out of 75+ raised their hands when I asked that question, and (as usual) I asked one of them to share why the parent called. I’ll share that story in a moment, so please keep reading.
The reason I always ask at least one person to share “why” the parent called is not only because I find it fascinating, but the answers always result in an outburst of laughter, mixed with shock & disbelief, from my audiences. Plus, I also ask why so that other attendees who (may) think “there’s no way parents call”, quickly realize I’m not making this stuff up.
Based on this new phenomenon in today’s modern workforce, I decided it was time to share some of these stories to illustrate how common this is. I’ve got hundreds of these real-world stories, but here are five. Each of them was shared at different speaking engagements I’ve conducted; all from different industries, located in different regions, and of different sizes, throughout the U.S. and Canada.
IMPORTANT: In the countless stories I’ve heard, sometimes the Millennial employees were aware their parents were calling, and sometimes not. So I do NOT want to imply the Millennials always ask their parents to do these things. Oftentimes, the Helicopter Parents do it on their own, and I’ve spoken to many Millennials who said they were mortified when they found out.
TRUE TALE #1: The Sr. Vice President mentioned previously at the recent automotive conference shared that she received a call from the father of one of her (26 years-old) Millennial employees. Dad called her to say he didn’t think his daughter’s private parking spot was located in a safe place for women so he requested that she be given a different one.
TRUE TALE #2: The CEO of a medium-sized company shared that he wanted to hold-off on promoting one of his Millennial employees because the employee (24 years-old) simply needed about six more months of training and on-the-ground experience. The next day the employee arrived at work with her Mom. They requested to see the CEO immediately and he obliged. Once in his office, Mom proceeded to pull out a long list that she and her husband had created the night before which outlined all the reasons why THEY thought their daughter WAS qualified to receive the promotion now…not in six months.
TRUE TALE #3: This does not pertain to someone’s “current” Millennial employee, but it’s another good example. The Sr. Director of HR at a Fortune 500 company attended my presentation for their Executive Team. Three days later she sent me an email to share that that morning she received a phone call from the Mom of a college senior. The Mom called her to inquire about internships the company had that her daughter could apply for. Mom explained she was calling companies on behalf of her daughter because her daughter was too busy at school studying for finals and being on the school’s swim team.
TRUE TALE #4: The Marketing Manager at a Fortune 1000 company shared at one of my presentations that a Dad called him, very upset. Dad said that his son (25 years-old) didn’t feel like he got enough time to share his ideas at the weekly department meetings. Dad asked the Manager to either make the weekly meeting longer OR call on his son more often.
TRUE TALE #5: The Director of Learning and Development at a large company had this to share with me and the audience: He had just hired a new Millennial employee (26 years-old) and during the on-boarding process the Millennial was given the standard Employee Benefits Package to review. Apparently, the Millennial had her parents review it because the next day Mom called her daughter’s new Boss to say that she (Mom), and Dad, had some questions about the benefits information.
I’m sharing these examples because, aside from being somewhat humorous, this topic is important for employers to be aware of. Why? Because if someone at work receives a call from a Helicopter Parent inquiring about things like promotions and raises their adult child didn’t get, and the Manager (caught off guard) engages in a conversation with the parent, it could cause serious legal issues for that Manager AND the employer.
The bottom line is that Bosses cannot discuss sensitive matters about employees (who are over 18 years- old) with the employee’s parents. Therefore, as an expert on Millennials and generational dynamics, I strongly suggest that this info quickly be shared with your Management and Leadership Teams.
By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Millennials. That means the number of Helicopter Parents calling employers is only going to increase!
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.
I recently came across a great blog post by Carol Phillips, a colleague of mine who is also a Millennial (aka: Gen Y) Expert, however she focuses on them as consumers, whereas I tend to focus on them more as employees. And Carol is also the President of BrandAmplitude, LLC and runs the Millennial Marketing blog.
The blog post she wrote, and that I’d like to share with you, is entitled: What the Occupy Movement Means to the Millennial Vote in 2012.
Here is an excerpt from Carol’s blog post:
In the recession-dominated four years since the last Presidential election, Gen Y has gone from being optimistic and ‘hopeful’ to discouraged and angry. The shift seemed to have happened quite suddenly, triggered by the realization that trillions of stimulus dollars, gigantic industry takeovers and costly bank bailouts were insufficient to create jobs and give young adults a toehold in the economy.
Why ‘sudden’? Even as little as a year ago, I would never have predicted anything like the Occupy Wall Street movement. In fact, when Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert launched their “Rally to Restore Sanity/Fear” in Washington DC last October, I wondered whether it would resonate with a generation notable for its lack of protest and desire to work within the system to create change:
When you’re hurting, inequity is an easy concept to grasp — just ask any four year old. In 2011, evidence of unfairness was easy to find. The concept that lit the spark was growing lopsidedness in wealth distribution. The target of resentment was easy to find, as well – Wall Street. The way money is made by corporate fat cats and Wall Street bankers became the focus of Millennial discontent, not those who set the rules in Washington. This is good for Obama, and bad for Republicans who are more associated with the 1% than the 99%.
So, what does Carol think it will take to win the Millennial vote in 2012? Click here to read her entire blog post and see what she has to say!
Bye for now,