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Retaining The Millennials Already Working With You

By Scott Costa, Publisher, tED magazine

Before you read any further, take a look at that headline again.
“Retaining Millennials Already Working With You”.

It could have easily said “Working FOR You”.  But that’s not what they want. And, truthfully, that’s not what you need. 

Years ago, I was talking with a colleague who gave me some incredible advice.  Someone asked him whom he worked “for”.  He told me when someone asks you that question, say you work “for” yourself.  Yes, he wanted a paycheck every couple of weeks to go along with health benefits and a few weeks of paid vacation every year.  But he wanted to work at a business where he can feel proud of what he accomplished every day and on every project.  He wanted to feel included on major decisions on those projects, and he wanted to be a part of a bigger picture on an important team.  He wanted to work “with” people, not “for” them.

Think of it this way:  If you work a 9-10 hour day, plus your commute time, plus the time it takes to get ready for work, nearly half of all of your days are spent dealing with work.  That is time spent away from your family. It’s time spent away from hobbies or activities that interest you. At the very least, you should get something out of those 12-hour days for yourself.

Millennials feel the same way.  While maintaining a corporate hierarchy is still essential, a recent study by Deloitte shows more than half of the Millennials surveyed want to reach the highest possible, senior-most position at the company they are working with right now. They don’t want to quit and go somewhere else to find success. More than half feel they can have that success at the company they are currently working “with”.

The Deloitte study says Millennials want to make an impact and want to feel impactful.  Six out of ten Millennials it surveyed said the number one reason they are currently working with their current employer is because they feel like they have a specific purpose in the company.  The Millennials who feel engaged in what they are doing and the Millennials who are willing to spend many more years working at the same company, even if the lure of more money is out there with other businesses.

Experts recommend testing your Millennials with new tasks and keeping their responsibilities exciting and challenging as two ways to engage them throughout their careers.  From there, the Millennials want more than just criticism.  They want “coaching”.  There’s a big difference.  We’ve all watched college basketball coaches scream at a player, and then when they get to the bench, that coach puts his arm around the kid and explains what is needed. Sometimes big things are happening and you need to make sure your employees understand the magnitude of the situation. And sometimes your employees need to be reminded that they are a key piece of the success.

I write all of this because we just kicked off the 2015 tED magazine “30 Under 35”.  We are looking for the 30 best employees in the supply chain to recognize them for their advancements in the industry.  If you are worried about putting names out there for other companies to recruit, keep in mind that there’s a strong possibility (at least according to very recent research by Deloitte) that your Millennials want to continue to grow with you. 

Not “For” you. 

“With” you.

To nominate your “30 Under 35”, you can go to www.tedmag.com/30Under35

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