Retention Strategies that Resonate With Younger Employees
The once-revered concept of company loyalty sure has taken a beating in recent years. Today, the idea of spending a lifelong career in the service of a single company seems hopelessly outdated to most workers. In fact, according to recent labor market statistics, the typical employee will change jobs anywhere from five to ten times over the course of their career.
No group embodies this fickle ethos more fully than today’s younger workers. So-called Gen-Y and millennial workers have never known a world in which lifelong employment with one company was the norm. Paired with this group’s tendency to prize personal satisfaction over job stability and financial security, the prospect of hanging onto your talented younger workers can often turn into a tricky proposition.
Why Millennial and Gen-Y Retention Makes Sense
The business rationale for employee retention couldn’t be more clear-cut. With all the money it takes to recruit, hire, and train new workers these days, incorrigible job-hoppers can do a whole lot of damage to your bottom line. In the context of the hospitality industry, where service quality and consistency can make or break your reputation, holding on to a core staff of knowledgeable, well-trained team members is particularly important.
That being said, however, the true significance of retaining your younger employees goes far beyond mere dollars and cents. Gen-Y and Millennial employees are well-known for their unique talents and attributes. These innovative, tech-savvy, and dynamic employees can play a crucial role in making sure your company stays on the cutting edge. If your property caters largely to the heavy-hitting 18-54 demographic, retaining younger workers should stand out as a top priority.
But just as your millennial and Gen-Y employees think and operate in radically different ways than their Gen-X and Baby Boomer counterparts, the retention strategies you use to woo and hold on to today’s younger workers have to be different, as well. Here are some guidelines to help you develop retention strategies that are as creative, innovative, and progressive as your youthful staffers.
Initiate and maintain an open dialogue.
Today’s younger workers like to feel that their input is welcomed and appreciated. Likewise, when they perform well, they want to know that you value their contribution. Make an effort to keep the lines of communication open -- and flowing both ways – with your Millennial and Gen-Y workers.
Make work more meaningful – and more fun.
For today’s younger workers, work is about much more than just collecting a paycheck. If they don’t feel fulfilled and personally inspired in their role, they’re more likely to be on the lookout for open positions elsewhere. Try to imbue your younger workers’ job responsibilities with deeper meaning. And don’t be afraid to inject a sense of humor, play, and fun into the workplace when appropriate. Nothing’s more certain to scare off young employees than a stuffy, uptight organizational culture.
Appeal to their sense of community service and civic engagement.
Many experts have pointed out that today’s Gen-Y and Millennial workers often feel a responsibility to impact their communities in a positive way. Tap your younger employees to head up charity committees, neighborhood development initiatives, “green” makeover efforts, and anything else that can make the most of that youthful spirit of civic engagement.
Find out what makes them tick.
Gen-Y and Millennial employees take pride in their individuality – and they have a natural resistance to any effort to group them in with the crowd. That’s precisely why many traditional retention strategies tend to fall flat with twentysomething employees. Instead of taking a collective approach to retaining your younger staff members, engage each employee as an individual. Display genuine interest in finding out what it will take to foster their loyalty, and do your best to follow through on what you discover.
Keep them on their toes.
When it comes to retaining your Gen-Y and Millennial employees, remember that boredom is the kiss of death for workers in these age groups. Make a concerted effort to challenge your younger staff members, offering them meaty responsibilities, thorny problems, and plenty of opportunities for professional development. An actively engaged employee is much more likely to develop a sense of loyalty to the company – and to act accordingly.