4 Ways to Increase Millennial Retention

“..at least 40% of millennials see themselves staying at their current organization for a minimum of nine years.”
- Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson (2016)

I know what you’re thinking. “That cannot be right. Millennials staying with their current employer for nine years?”

We hear it frequently, Millennials are smart, talented, and ambitious―and constantly misunderstood by those of us responsible for selecting, hiring, developing and retaining them. The workforce of today is more diverse, complex, and challenging than ever before. Over the next 10 years, organizations big and small may succeed or fail based on how they embrace the Millennial generation.

In their recent book What Millennials Want from Work: How to Maximize Engagement in Today’s Workforce, Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson provide some much needed hope and direction while dispelling many of the stereotypes about millennials. Such as their supposed disloyalty to employers. The authors state, “We’ve studied 25,000 millennials in 22 countries, and 78% held professional, managerial or executive positions. Through our surveys, interviews, and focus groups, we found that many are perfectly willing – even eager – to stay.”

They go on to say that “...at least 40% of millennials see themselves staying at their current organization for a minimum of nine years.”

Deal and Levinson also indicate that “(Millennials) are concerned about financial security, and they believe work-life integration is easier to attain when you stay with one organization for many years.”

To drive business forward today and in the coming years, it will be critical to modify the way we inspire, motivate, and connect with Millennials. Adopting a different approach to understanding what drives that generation and how to engage, lead, and work with them will positively contribute your corporate culture, strategic direction, and bottom line, not to mention increase engagement and retention. As part of this unique approach it will be helpful to dig deeply to uncover Millennials’ motivations, natural tendencies, and personalities. This can be accomplished through the application of a validated assessment which will allow us to begin building the solutions that will reduce turnover, increase job satisfaction, improve alignment with career expectations, and increase effectiveness across multi-generational teams.

Once we have a profile of the unique personality of the individual, we can leverage people analytics to align the fit between each individual and their work environment. With this approach, there are four ways to reduce Millennial turnover and improve long-term organizational fit:

  1. Job Fit, Customized Onboarding, and Team Fit – Armed with personality data in a people analytics platform, we can ensure the right fit with the first position they accept as they enter the organization. This will be critical to establishing the proper connection and foundation with the organization. After all, all employees wants to make meaningful contributions, regardless of generation. The people analytics platform can also be used to formulate a customized onboarding plan, which will point to specific competencies to build upon or strengthen. In addition, we can start to evaluate the critical fit with their team as well.

  2. Career Path - Many millennials are interested in finding that perfect first job while also planning their next career move. A people analytics platform powered by personality data can be used to predict the fit with future positions in the organization that may align with the millennial’s career aspirations. This may help the millennial to adopt a longer term vision of future without the need to job hop.

  3. Flexible Work Environment – Deal and Levinson found that “among our millennials respondents, 95% said that they wanted the option of occasionally doing work from home or some other location other than the office.” Employers will increase their confidence in supporting this flexibility if they are able to predict the degree to which an individual is capable of working in an unstructured environment. Once again, the combination of a personality profile and people analytics can reduce the risk associated with a flexible work environment by predicting the level of structure and guidance the individual will require in order to be productive while working off-site.

  4. Management Style – Dean and Levenson also state, “Managers have a substantial role to play in Millennials’ understanding that staying with the organization may be in their best long-term interests.” They go on to say that much depends on the manager’s ability to adopt engaging management practices that connect with Millennials. Personality data, combined with the power of people analytics, can be used by the manager to better understand the motivations of their millennial team members and how to foster deeper engagement. This combination will allow the manager to create a game plan or roadmap which will help to pinpoint the optimal management strategies that contribute to a longer-term commitment.

We have a bright future as our Millennials become the majority of the workforce. The transition may have a few bumps in the road, but there is a great motivation to make this not only seamless but meaningful for everyone involved. Prior to making the offer to your next Millennial candidate, consider the benefits associated with improved job fit, onboarding, and team fit combined, along with proactive career planning in a flexible work environment.

Source: What Millennials Want From Work: How to Maximize Engagement in Today’s Workforce (McGraw-Hill 2016)


To learn more about Caliper and special discounts to NAWLA members, visit www.calipercorp.com/nawla

Caliper is a human capital analytics company leveraging decades of data and validated assessment results to predict and select high-quality candidates. Caliper partners with all types of organizations, industries, and sectors – from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and from government agencies to non-profits. We help companies reduce the risk of bad hiring decisions; build high-performing teams; and engage, develop, and retain their employees. Contact us to learn more.

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