Published 17 July 2017 Category: Compass Tips, Business, Insights, Entrepreneur, Startups

5 Ways to Attract and Retain Top Millennials

Approximately 80% of the millennial generation would examine a prospective company’s culture to ascertain if they would be a cultural fit before applying at that company. With this high percentage, this means employers need to adapt the best strategies in order to be an employer of choice for talented millennials. Here are five actions employers can take to ensure they are attracting and retaining the best candidates in the millennial generation.

1. Create opportunities for professional development and continual learning 

According to a survey conducted by Gallup, 87% of millennials rate professional development or career growth as one of the most important factors in a job. They want faster career advancement and are often eager to learn. They also value mentorship and opportunities to learn from peers.   
If your company has multiple offices, create opportunities for your employees to train at other offices. This allows them to broaden their experience by meeting with different teams and new team members. This can also benefit the company as they can take their learnings and apply it to their home office. If you show that you care about your employee’s future, they will likely invest more into the company as well. In addition, sharing that your company offers multiple opportunities for advancements can help in attracting millennial candidates.   

2. Offer flexible work schedules

With the advancement of technology, many jobs do not require an employee to be physically present in the office at all times. Millennials don’t believe in having their performance measured by the number of hours spent at work. They want to be able to work at their own time, and if you give them a deadline, they think it shouldn’t it matter where and how it gets done, as long as they’re able to produce the same results. 
Whether they’re working from home, a co-working space or the coffee shop, offering your employees the option of flexible schedules can create a better working environment. This could mean higher productivity, shorter commutes and overall, a happier employee.  

3. Give frequent informal feedback

Millennials want frequent and informal feedback from their managers. They want honest real time feedback instead of the traditional yearly review. In addition, these sessions should never be all negative. Managers should always acknowledge positive contributions and provide advice on how to improve.
In 2012, Adobe eliminated yearly reviews and instead created a process called “check-in”. This allows an ongoing dialogue between managers and employees around expectations and career development. Since this new process launched, Adobe says voluntary attrition has declined and it has saved managers a whopping 1,000,000 hours a year.

4. Offer Meaningful Fringe Benefits

Employers can motivate employees with ways other than money. Interestingly, 63% of professionals would rather have a promotion without a pay raise than an increase in salary without a promotion. This means employers can increase the number of levels/grades in a position. Some examples of other benefits are tuition assistance, work travel opportunities and health care incentives.   
Millennials take pride in contributing to society and have a sense of fulfilment when able to help others in need. Salesforce founder Marc Benioff recognized this and created the 1-1-1 model. This initiative commits one percent of the company’s equity for philanthropic donations, one percent of employee time for community volunteering, and one percent of company products and services for non-profit donations. 

5. Create a supportive and open culture

Millennials want to be in a company that encourages employees to give feedback on the office environment and the nature of their work. This open culture allows employees to feel safe voicing their opinions and it shows that the employer cares about their wellbeing.
One way to create an open office culture to help retain your millennial team members is through regular conversations with team members. This brings employees into an informal setting where they can interact with you, build trust and improve communication.
Another way to foster an open culture is via team building activities. Zappos, the online shoe store focuses heavily on company culture, and each manager is expected to spend 10-20% of the team’s time on team building activities. The investment they place on company culture has allowed Zappos to have happier employees and therefore resulted in more repeat customers and increased sales.      
As the millennial generation is a dominant presence in the workforce, these five strategies can help attract and retain the most talented employees. Millennials are creative thinkers who are driven and not afraid of challenges, which can make them a tremendous asset to a company. To motivate millennials to join your company and have higher engagement, your company needs to show that they can adapt to their expectations.