Summary: Organizations experience difficulty with staff turnover among the millennial generation. What causes this, and how can you avoid it in your organization?
As the Product Manager at Intranet Connections, I frequently have conversations with our customers about how to apply the tools we provide to help them solve their internal communications issues. The same topics usually come up: internal communication of company news, centralized policies and procedures, or process automation with forms and workflows. But recently a new problem has come up with no easy answer: how to reduce staff turnover with the millennial generation.
Millennials Need Personal Meaning
Doing a little bit of research, I discovered that the problem isn’t just isolated to our customers. A recent article states that the average millennial employee (employees under 35) only stays at an organization for an average of 2.3 years. Some of our customers have let me know it’s even shorter than that in their organizations, especially for entry-level, front-line positions. With months of training invested, this is a critical, and potentially expensive, issue for them.
Being in my early 40’s, I’m ahead of the millennials, or next generation. I think the primary difference between myself and the younger generation is my relationship to the workplace, as well as the degree technology is integrated into my everyday life. As an example, we use Zendesk to handle our support tickets. Zendesk has a mobile phone application, and there was a definite correlation between the age and how quickly staff installed this app on their personal phones. While the millennials immediately installed this app, the older staff, myself included, paused to consider if we wanted to use our personal phones for work purposes.
This exemplifies two things that I have been reading online:
- Millennials are much faster to adopt new technologies, and rather jump-in and experiment than be trained first.
- Millennials don’t separate as strongly their personal lives from their work lives.
Technology’s Role in Staff Turnover
With the above two observations in mind, as a provider of internal communication tools, what can I do to help our customers with staff turnover?
While software can help automate the process of communicating, and re-enforce core values, it can’t change them. During the initial hiring process, ensuring core value alignment is probably a company’s best bet in reducing staff turnover. After that, however, an internal communications platform does play a role in helping millennials recognize that they are in alignment, by promoting company events and community efforts which exemplify the core values of the organization.
In fact, because millennials adopt technology quickly, and are used to living in digital world, I would theorize that they are more willing to spend their discretionary time at work exploring the cultural content you provide.
Making the Most of Millennials
While retaining millennials can be a challenge, hiring millennials also has its advantages. Millennials are not only adept with new technology, they are also highly versed in finding and sharing information. Ages 14 to 30 years old are the first generation to get the majority of their news through social media and word of mouth versus traditional media outlets. If millennial’s are provided the rights tools within a workplace, they can be a key asset in facilitating bottom-up communication, versus the traditional top-down broadcast approach. This can be a real advantage for organizations who place an emphasis on customer service, as service best practices in one location should be shared with other locations.
If you have other recommendations on how to keep millennials engaged and increase their tenure at an organization, I’d love to hear from you. Please share your suggestions in the comments area below.