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3 Mistakes to Avoid when Hiring and Retaining Millennial Employees

September 12, 2017

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We’ve all heard the (tired) talk of the millennial reputation: job-hopping, poor work ethic, overinflated self-esteem, neediness...the list goes on and on. Many employers have noticed high turnover rates with millennials and think these are the reasons their recently hired millennial didn’t stay with their organization. But, we should consider both sides of the coin.

In a time when the majority of job candidates are millennials, some hiring managers are preparing for the new workforce’s work styles and expectations. This is smart, because according to Gallup, millennial turnover costs the US economy $30.5 billion annually. So, not only is it essential to adjust our views of millennials’ work-style, but also to adjust our hiring processes and management styles.

Here are three common mistakes managers are making when it comes to hiring and retaining millennial employees:

1. They don't consider motivational fit in the hiring process.

Motivational fit is described as the degree of alignment between what a person expects or wants from a job, and what the job can actually offer. There are two main groups of motivational fit factors:

  • Intrinsic factors: The factors that are inherent to the work itself. This could be asking questions about the person’s preferences around task variety, feedback, or autonomy.   

  • Extrinsic factors: The factors that are related to the work environment. This could be asking questions around the schedule, commute, or the physical work environment.

Motivational fit is a great indicator of whether an employee will enjoy the environment and be a productive team member. This can reduce the likelihood of turnover.

2. They don’t provide new hires with opportunities for skill development.

A recent study showed that 44% of millennials were ready to leave a job because they didn’t have the skill development opportunities they wanted, and two-thirds wanted to be their own boss. This is important not just for millennials, but all employees should feel that they are using all their skills to their full potential. Here are some things to consider to help develop your millennials:

  • Provide real-time performance feedback: Immediate feedback and coaching are a growing need from millennials. They want to know how they are doing. Set up a program to allow for this type of immediate feedback.

  • Provide opportunities outside of the employees' current role: Allow for opportunities to collaborate with other members of the organization. Allowing employees to cross-train will increase their knowledge of the organization and can develop an employee for a larger role in the future.

3. They have an "outdated" culture and don't adapt to a “millennial-friendly" culture.

Change is inevitable, and as millennials' presence in the workforce increases, there will be a shift in each organization’s culture. It's less likely that millennials will adhere to “outdated” cultures. Rather, they are likely to leave to find a culture that aligns with their views. Which leads to the question: What attracts millennials to organizations?

  • Flexible scheduling: Having hours based on core times and flexible time bands. One recent study indicated that 77% of millennials believe that a flexible schedule would make them more productive.

  • Telecommunicating options: Having the opportunity to work from home or from a remote location as needed.

  • Company perks: Providing perks like health club memberships, tuition reimbursement, casual dress codes, and family friendly policies. Even the smallest perk can go a long way; one study found that the perks and benefits many millennials want are inexpensive and sometimes even free.

These are just a few things that you can target and focus on when finding and retaining not only millennials but top talent as well. Every step in the hiring process is important; you’ve hired this person for a reason, but your job does not stop there. Doing your duty to make sure you are retaining top talent is necessary. It’s important to understand how the workforce is changing and to adapt to the expectations of the newest generation of workers.

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Jessica Petor Jessica Petor is a Research Analyst located at PSI's Pittsburgh office. She holds a Master's of Science degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Northern Kentucky University.