Two-thirds of the workforce in the United States is disengaged at work. Yet when it comes to doing something about it and finding more meaningful work for themselves, the majority of people aren’t taking action. That is, unless you’re a Millennial. Millennials (and Gen Z) will apparently quit employers at the drop of a dime. It’s alarming because while I don’t drop a lot of dimes these days, I recall the process being very quick.
While the narrative about young people job-hopping more than older people is true – in this exact moment – the idea that Millennials are the first generation to do so is unjustified and statistically inaccurate. Facts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show young people change jobs at the same pace, if not less, that Baby Boomers did before them. So why are Millennials the proverbial punching bag when we talk about loyalty?
The reason Millennials are getting this reputation is because it’s what you see right now, in the moment. Millennials are in the prime job-hopping stage of their career – like all young people from every time period are. They don’t have the trappings (good or bad) which age brings us as our careers progress. They don’t have to consider what a change in their career means for their pension or saving for their children’s college education. Young people have always been able to more easily afford to try something new, make mistakes and try again because they typically don’t have as much to lose. And the facts show Baby Boomers and Gen X did the exact same thing when they were the same age.
If you want to keep Millennials and Gen Z from jumping ship to another employer, here are three things you can do today to make them think twice about even looking:
1. Incentivize the present, not the future.
With few exceptions, employee perks are similar from company to company. Touting your pension plan or flexible work arrangement as an incentive to young talent isn’t likely to move the needle because odds are other companies have similar options. Instead, look for ways to incentive the present. Millennials and Gen Z are less focused on the future (read: saving for retirement) than on the present (read: paying off student debt or saving for a house). If you can find a way to incentivize them at this moment – in the present – then you’re more likely to strike a chord and keep them from looking elsewhere.
2. Provide flexibility of experiences.
One of the most compelling reasons to leave a company is to gain new experience that will help you advance your career. In fact, there is an entire eco-system of young people working for free in fields where they want to gain experience. Companies that provide a variety of work experiences for their young talent will win the long game in keeping and attracting the best.
3. Dig deep into purpose.
At the end of the day, every person you work with is an individual, and every individual wants to do something meaningful. But you will never know what motivates someone without asking. Perhaps they’re driven by having an influence over making decisions, or perhaps they just need something stable to let them take care of their bills (which is not a bad motivation in a good worker, by the way!) Digging deep into people’s individual purpose, you’ll find unique and simple ways to engage them before they look elsewhere for it.
Making efforts along these three areas will ensure you’re making your place of employment an attractive option for Millennials. In fact, you’ll probably make all of your employees happy regardless of their generation. As those labor studies show, we’re not so different from each other after all.