Emerging as the largest demographic in the workforce, millennials are no longer the leaders of tomorrow – they’re the leaders of today. However, while already occupying influential positions and have presumably enjoyed satisfactory career trajectories, when surveyed, many believed they would leave their current business before the end of the year. And it wasn’t a small amount of people either. It revealed that 44% of millennials say if given the choice, they would like to leave their current employer in the next two years.
Not many businesses would be prepared to lose more than 1 in 3 of their workers. It’s fast become a significant amount of senior talent (and investment) to be potentially walking out the door. So as people-first advocates, we have to stop and ask, why? Where does the ‘loyalty challenge’ come from? And how can we win over the next generation of leaders and retain millennials in the workplace?
Many studies show that millennials simply live by a different set of values and culture relative to other generations. Often emerging are two stand-out themes: feeling under-utilised or under-challenged and in-turn, not being developed into the leaders they want to be; and feeling that most businesses lack any ambition beyond profit – a gap in perception that no one can afford.
3 ways to win over the next generation of leaders:
Demonstrate purpose beyond profit
We all know business needs to be more than money. But weaving these values into organisational culture can sometimes be overlooked, or implemented half-heartedly.
Aiming to include your people in the organisation’s vision minimises the gap between what they believe the purpose of business should be, and what they perceive it to be currently. I’ve seen colleagues push away projects, campaigns and even roles that strongly conflict with their own beliefs. Aligning these by living and breathing your values, can often be a path to retention.
Create the “ideal” working environment
When salary or other financial benefits are removed from the equation, work-life balance and opportunities to progress or take on leadership roles, stand out.
You don’t need the budget of Google or Meta to retain exceptional talent in this area. No amount of ping pong tables or filter coffee will help either.
Often, poor work-life balance, the desire for flexibility, and a conflict of values compound a perceived lack of leadership-skill development and feelings of being overlooked. Striving to redefine these areas can shift perception and promote growth.
Support ambition and professional development
The big one. And encouraging mentorship can address this. Whether you have a learning and development program in swing already, it can’t go without its most cost-effective and long-term impactful brother, mentoring. Starting a mentoring program is easy with mentoring software – in fact it can take only minutes.
This bottom-up approach where your people drive your people strategy, works far better than a top-down strategy of pushing learning upon them. And we’ve seen this success across our beloved clients and beyond. In fact, those that are intending to stay with their organisation for more than five years, are more than twice as likely to have a mentor.
“There is really no secret (to success) and there surely are no shortcuts. In my case, it was a pretty simple equation: hard work + some lucky breaks + great mentors.”
– Deloitte Global CEO, Punit Renjen
We have observed that loyalty to an employer is driven by understanding and support of millennials’ career and life ambitions, as well as providing opportunities to progress and become leaders. Having a mentor is incredibly powerful in this regard.
Millennials receive 33% less mentoring than they would like.
Are you confident your organisation is in the majority? And are you confident that you are doing enough to retain the millennials in your workplace?
For long-term success, bridge the values gap to retain talent and start a mentoring program today!