Employee retention for the millennial generation is notoriously low, and turnover can cost a company a great deal. Clearly it’s a problem that needs a solution. To keep millennials engaged, you have to appeal to their unique entrepreneurial spirit — something you didn’t have to worry about with older generations like the baby boomers.
According to Creative Live and Rasmussen College surveys:
- 67% of millennial employees surveyed would exit their jobs for a more creative, self-employed track
- 60% of millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs
- 90% of millennials think of “entrepreneurship” not as starting your own business but as having a “risk-taking” and “self-starting mindset” of someone who “spots opportunity”
Though the first statistic may scare more traditional companies, there is good news here: millennials’ definition of the word means that they can find entrepreneur opportunities within a more traditional job environment — meaning you have an opportunity to boost millennial employee retention. It’s just up to leaders within that organization to foster that entrepreneur spirit.
Leave Time for Passion Projects
As always, Google seems to be ahead of the game when it comes to satisfying millennial employees. Borrow an idea from Google’s "20% time" program. Within the organizational culture of Google, all employees are not only allowed but encouraged to use 20% of their time to dream up new projects or take on more creative opportunities outside of their traditional job role.
Sponsor Entrepreneurship Within the Organization
Adobe has put its money where its mouth is when trying to engage millennials. The company spent years (and likely lots of dollars) testing something called Kickbox, an open-source program that comes with a prepaid credit card, scorecards, frameworks, and anything else employees might need to run their own experiments. Every employee receives this package, and Adobe encourages everyone to use Kickbox to come up with innovative ideas, structured within the company itself.
In a company that fosters a culture of innovation, creative ideas must be rewarded. At least part of the employee recognition program should focus on rewarding workers for finding creative solutions to company problems, such as in workflow or administrative tasks, or finding new ways to tackle company procedures that could save time, money, or both. Knowing that this spirit is not only important but recognized within an organization will boost employee pride and encourage further innovation, which not only helps the employees but helps the business, too.
You can’t keep doing the same things across different generations and expect the same results. To boost engagement for millennials in the workplace, give them what they want. And they’re telling everyone they want an opportunity to take risks and take the reins of new opportunities.