The Millennial Report: How to Retain Millennial Talent

Even with the vast number of millennials entering the workforce, it can be difficult to pinpoint and acquire the right talent needed to keep your employee base up to speed with the latest business trends.

Michael Cusanelli, Associate Editor

December 29, 2015

4 Min Read
The Millennial Report: How to Retain Millennial Talent

Even with the vast number of millennials entering the workforce, it can be difficult to pinpoint and acquire the right talent needed to keep your employee base up to speed with the latest business trends. And the battle isn’t over after you’ve hired the correct candidates – millennials, more than any other generation, are particularly finicky about their career choices, and more often than not are willing to leave their current position if the employer in question doesn’t meet specific ethical and career standards.

While not all millennials are inherently a flight risk, it’s true many of us want to work for an organization that provides us with a sense of purpose rather than a paycheck. The Internet economy we live in has shown us there are always other opportunities around the corner just waiting to be seized, which has made it much easier to switch jobs with relatively little stress. Whether this is for better or for worse is debatable, but it does lead to one very important concept: Employers need to work harder than ever before to make sure employees are satisfied with their work.

It may be a little far-fetched to call this trend a human relations revolution, but the past decade or so truly is the first time in history in which the onus is on the employer, and not the employee, to create a satisfactory work environment for all.

Because older generations typically depended on corporate retirement plans and pensions to get them through their twilight years, they were willing to slog through a few years worth of bad management or policy change if it was in keeping with their 30-or-40 year plan. Millennials, however, aren’t nearly as concerned with collecting a pension, meaning they have no qualms with quitting if a job turns out to be different than they anticipated.

That’s not to say millennials aren’t loyal, however – quite the opposite. In fact, millennials may be more likely to pour their hearts and souls into their work if they truly believe in the cause, simply because of our generational inclination to make a difference in the world, not to just get paid. But when management turns its back on employees or violates our trust, many millennials have a zero-tolerance policy.

There are many ways in which an employer can keep millennial workers happy and feeling fulfilled, some of which involve simply listening to and responding to employee concerns. Microsoft (MSFT) recently posted a very interesting blog about the top ways to attract and retain millennial talent, and offered four suggestions to keep young employees focused and working hard on the job.

Firstly, companies need to create an environment that encourages collaboration, since many millennials feel comfortable working in groups to solve problems and complete tasks. Whereas the typical Gen X or Baby Boomer worker was content to work alone, millennials naturally share information and ideas with others.

Next, organizations should make the latest tech readily available to employees and encourage them to use mobile devices for work. By emphasizing the importance of new tech in completing tasks, employers are more likely to seem open to new ideas and ways of doing business.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, companies need to keep corporate and employee data safe and secure. Nothing ruins an employer/employee relationship faster than a data breach, which could subsequently cause employees to lose faith in the ability of their employers.

Finally, organizations should have a sense of purpose and exhibit clear goals for success if they hope to attract the best and brightest millennial workers.  As noted above, millennials often have a sense of purpose and want to forge their own destinies, so naturally they are drawn to companies who strive to create a lasting legacy on the community.

While these are only a few of the things employers can do to attract young knowledge workers, they are critical in establishing your business as a legitimate place for millennials to grow as individuals and as a place to help advance themselves as professionals. Now more than ever, employment is a two-way street; employers owe it to workers to listen to concerns and address individual needs just as much as the employee owes it to management to complete tasks on time and to do the work they were hired to do.

This may seem radical to traditional employers used to enforcing a “do as I say” policy. But when you think about it, creating a mutually beneficial work relationship is better for everyone – after all, happy employees do better work, which translates to greater profit and good PR. You simply can’t beat that philosophy.

The Millennial Report is a weekly column by associate editor Michael Cusanelli, who graduated from Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism in 2013. He is an avid gamer and movie buff who spends nearly as much time concocting the perfect mix tape as he does writing. You can find him on Twitter @MCusanelliSB.

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About the Author(s)

Michael  Cusanelli

Associate Editor, Penton Technology Group, Channel

Michael Cusanelli is the associate editor for Penton Technology’s channel properties, including The VAR Guy, MSPmentor and Talkin' Cloud. He has written articles and produced video for and is a graduate of Stony Brook University's School of Journalism in New York. In his spare time Michael likes to play video games, watch sci-fi movies and participate in all things nerdy. He can be reached at [email protected]


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