A recent Gallup survey found that 28.9% of millennials (age 18 to 34) are disengaged. The reason? Many faced a difficult economy when they graduated from college, forcing them to take jobs that didn’t necessarily use their talents and strengths.
The problem for employers is that as the economy improves and hiring picks up, millennials may be wooed away to other companies. In addition, a new Accountemps survey finds that 57% of millennials believe that changing jobs often is good for your career. Since replacing an employee can cost $15,000 to $25,000 per worker, according to Lee Hecht Harrison, millennials jumping ship could be very costly.
So how do employers hang onto their young talent? Accuntempts and Lee Hecht Harrison found that:
Career development is nearly as important as money
30% of millennials believe the greatest benefit to job hopping is gaining new skills
Beverly Kaye, founder of Career Systems International and author of Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go, stresses that career development doesn’t have to become a big headache for managers and doesn’t require hours or days of research and reports. Here are five things that drive millennials out the door and what managers can do to change their minds:
They don’t feel they’re using all their skills: Kaye suggests that managers look at a job interview as the beginning of a conversation and continue to talk to workers about what they bring to the table, "Let them know they can be challenged where they are.”
They don’t get continual feedback: “They want to know how to grow,” she says. Offer one- to two-minutes worth of feedback. By having ongoing conversations—instead of just a formal review once a year—employees are continually reminded they are being developed."
They don’t like being in the dark: Employees become disengaged when they feel managers aren’t being honest or open about situations or jobs that might change in the future. They will be better able to make career decisions—and how they want to develop—if they understand how various events and trends affect the industry and their jobs.
They believe they don’t have options: Managers must be ready to offer alternatives if a certain project or job is blocked to a worker. “You might mention you saw someone grimace when a subject was mentioned,” says Kaye. These conversations can better enable managers to know what might interest young workers and help steer them into areas that will spark enthusiasm.
They don’t feel challenged: Managers can help workers see how their career development is unfolding by helping them understand how they are building their skills. For example, asking a young employee ”What do you hope you’ll get to do in this new project?' can help the manager and the employee focus on career goals and the specific skills being developed through various assignments," she says.
“These aren’t just things that young workers want, but keep in mind that if millennials feel underused, overused, or abused—then they’re out of there,” Kaye says.