Opus Consulting Group is hearing more and more from its clients that they are having difficulty (1) finding qualified candidates for open positions and (2) retaining their best employees. High unemployment rates may be a problem in certain regions of the country and northern Maine, but southern Maine seems to have the opposite problem – not enough qualified workers to go around.
Opus recently completed an assignment from a fairly large company (by Maine standards) that was seeing its retention rate of millennials falling. We interviewed groups of younger employees to determine what factors were critical to them relative to staying with the company.
Some of the findings weren’t very surprising – competitive pay and benefits, adequate vacation time, and opportunities to advance. But a few issues raised were not often considered and if you want to ensure retention of your employees in a competitive environment, this might give you something to think about.
One critical factor to retention was flexibility. Millennials have lots of competing interests for their time and are not as willing as older generations to put them off for their primary job. Some are related to family – more complicated family structures, both couples working, and elder parent responsibilities require some time away from work during traditional working hours. The other factor is the growth of web commerce and interest groups. This means more people have sideline hobbies or small businesses that they feel passionate about and want to reserve time for – even if it is as basic as selling or looking for items on EBay.
The second factor critical to retention is that people want to matter (make an impact). People we interviewed expressed how important it was to them for the business owners to know their name. For a supervisor to sit down with them a couple times a year to discuss their job performance, advancement opportunities, and what new skills they wanted to learn or certifications to obtain was a big deal to them.
Providing Millennials with both increased flexibility and personal attention doesn’t cost money. It perhaps requires creative workforce management and a different prioritization of management time – both achievable. I suspect that these hot buttons are not unique to millennials but applicable to all employees.