Millennials & the art of talent retention: The Five Big Factors
Creative, confident and impatient are the three dominant characteristics of millennials and their traits are markedly different from the preceding generation – Gen X
With millennials or better known as Gen Y - the generation born since early 80s till late 90s – becoming increasing part of talent pool and ones who will be the organizational leaders tomorrow - talent retention today has become a far more complex proposition and a different challenge altogether.
Creative, confident and impatient are the three dominant characteristics of millennials and their traits are markedly different from the preceding generation – Gen X. This is a generation which has grown up with internet, social media, gadgets along with huge exposure to all sorts of information which has enabled them to form their own worldview much quicker than was possible for earlier generations. This is a generation which sees hierarchy very differently, where respect flows not out of age or positions but ability of seniors. Thus a senior has to earn respect, not command it. They need to look up to you and they do not want superiors behaving like conventional bosses but as a friend, philosopher and guide. It’s a generation that delivers but wants flexibility in work hours. They are committed to work and deadlines but have inherent disregard for regimental rigmarole.
This is definitely a generation which is in a hurry to learn, deliver and move on and here lies the big challenge as organizations not only look at fresh talent infusion to ensure sustained productivity but also to ensure smooth business continuity and build future leadership. World over talent retention figures high on agenda of a progressive organization; in India more so as employee turnover here is much higher than global average and among the highest in Asia. Organizations are having tough times dealing with this high turnover and trying to discover ways to stem the tide as high turnover leads to many undesirable consequences ranging from work environment instability to revenue loss and in the worst case scenario involving highly talent-centric sectors like IT & Advertising - a severe business setback with competition gaining an unbeatable march.
To me the key to talent retention lies in understanding the composite psyche of millennials. Today if a HR person fails to take Gen Y’s psyche into account, he is bound to feel frustrated or even fail. Ultimately, organization will be the loser! This generation has certainly thrown new challenges when it comes to talent retention.
Penultimate factor in talent retention today lies not in “What an organization can offer” – but understanding “What does Gen-Y want?” So let me pin down five most critical factors in talent retention today – not in any particular order of relevance.
1. Corporate Culture: In the age of social media, reputation today flows seamlessly. If an organization is branded as anything but progressive and cool, Gen Y will shun it. It applies as much to a conventional brick & mortar entities as to new age platforms. Gen Y values a corporate culture which lets them learn quickly, has open culture and shares its growth plans with them. Gen Y certainly wants to know where they fit in the overall scheme of things and what future holds for them. They ideally want an organization which offers them ample personal and professional growth opportunities.
2. Competitive salaries & rewards: For Gen Ys, competitive salary is a given. The logic that competition is bigger and has greater revenue so it can afford to pay more and offer greater rewards to its employees than we do, no longer cuts ice with Gen Y. Sooner or later, they will move, if compensations are not matched competitively.
3. Recognition programs: Given the rising affluence and explosion of social media, Gen Y has grown up in a very different environment than has been the case with previous generations. Recognition and not reprisal has been the driving factor for them to achieve excellence. This is the kind of environment they also expect from an organization. Recognition programs today play a key role in employee retention.
4. Challenging work environment: Gen Ys, more than any previous generations are graduating with a dynamic mix of academic and work experiences that have them positioned to contribute from day one. They are not interested in “grunt” jobs - they seek challenging work right from the start.
5. Work hour flexibility: Gen Y also see themselves doing work everywhere - except in a cubicle. Gen Ys definitely want flexible hours and schedules because they are a great believer in work-life balance and want to live life to the fullest. Jobs today need to factor in such changing personal traits.