There’s no avoiding millennials in the workplace.
They’re 80 million strong in the US, and they’ll take up 50% of the workforce in 2020. According to Aon Hewitt, nearly 50% of millennials plan to actively look for a new job in 2015.
But this generation isn’t driven solely by salary. And you can’t simply rely on fancy perks to woo them over. This career-driven crowd is looking for organizations where they can learn and develop their career. But if that doesn’t scare you, this will: our research has found that 75% of millennials would consider leaving their job if they don’t see options for their professional development.
So what are millennials really looking for in the workplace? How can you both attract and retain this generation? Let’s see what we uncovered from studies by Cap Strat and the Kenan-Flagler Business School:
- 72% of millennials are willing to sacrifice a higher salary for a more personally and professionally fulfilling career
- Over 50% millennials say that opportunities for career progression make an employer attractive
- Tuition reimbursement was a powerful attraction and retention tool
Millennials are looking to learn. And that also means they have a strong desire to better themselves, making it a win-win situation for your organization. If you want to attract and retain this generation, you need to find ways to help educate and strengthen their skills.
Attract Them with Developmental Opportunities
This generation values learning opportunities and wants to be in a company that will nurture their development. In order to advance in their career, they need a way to gain knowledge. And avenues outside of on-the-job training are great chances for millennials to acquire the knowledge they’re seeking. Consider offering up these opportunities:
- Classes and courses: Do you want your employee to succeed at their role? Certain industries, such as finance, require exams in order to progress professionally. Consider covering classes related to their field so they can gain more knowledge to support their position at work.
- Seminars and conferences: Whatever industry you’re in, there are tons of seminars and conferences out there. These live events offer the opportunity to hear from experts, network with peers, and learn about competitors. So not only are employees advancing their careers, but they’re also providing your company with beneficial knowledge.
- Brown bag learning lunches: Leverage executives or leaders in your organization to run a short seminar. This way, the more experienced workers can share their wealth of knowledge with the less-experienced millennials.
For millennials, work isn’t all about producing. Give them a chance to soak up the knowledge by implementing training opportunities during work hours.
Retain Them with a Developmental Path
Learning doesn’t stop after millennials start a job. For these young workers, their career path is a priority. But don’t assume that all they’re looking for is a vertical promotion or more money.
- Give them goals to work towards: Where does your employee see themself in five years? One year? Help them build their skills and develop by listening to their input on their personal development. Then work together to figure out the steps needed to make it happen.
- Offer a flexible path: Millennials place little importance on “defined succession and career plans,” meaning they’re interested in exploring their opportunities. Don’t confine them to a rigid career ladder—let their development be shaped by their interests and aptitude.
Help nudge millennials along the way by giving them a clear path towards success. If you’re only focused on making sure they produce and pay no interest in their career progression, you’ll be sure they’ll be out the door in no time.