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INFLUENCE: RETAINING GENERATION Y EMPLOYEES

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Today’s workplace is vastly different from what it was ten years ago. Organisations now need to adapt to the needs of their employees if they are to have any hope of retaining them. Kerry Lassen explains

Generation Y, or Millennials as they are often referred to, are a generation of people born roughly between 1980 and 1995. They make up a major part of the workforce today and, luckily for us, more research has been conducted on this generation than on any other to date.

Having grown up at the forefront of technology, Millennials are incredibly tech-savvy and unlike any generation that preceded them. As a result of the ‘helicopter parenting’ style of their Baby Boomer caregivers (in which a mother or father swoops in at any sign of challenge or discomfort), Millennials quickly became accustomed to receiving constant recognition. Unfortunately, this inherent need for approval has been carried with them all the way to adulthood and the workplace.

It is important be cognisant of the fact that each person within a generation is also an individual who carries their own set of beliefs and values. While there are often numerous similarities that apply, each person is unique in their own right and has their own set of circumstances and experiences that have shaped them into who they are.

To keep this generation happy and motivated in the workplace, you need to know more about them and adapt your management style accordingly. While it may seem somewhat drastic to change your management style for the benefit of new starters, it is essential if you want to retain them for longer than a few months.

Feedback: A major part of working with Millennials is that they require constant feedback. They want to be recognised for the things they do right, and they want constant feedback in order to remedy the things that aren’t quite on the mark. When you think about it, it that such a bad thing?

Flexibility: Workplace flexibility is extremely important to these guys. They are motivated to get the job done, so allowing them to work from home or to start earlier and leave later when they so require would be a huge step towards job satisfaction.

Career advancement: Millennials want to know where they are going and how they are going to get there. They don’t want to wait several years before being promoted; they want to know that there is room for growth within the organisation – otherwise they will leave in search of greener pastures.

Training: Investing in training for your employees ensures that they feel motivated and valued within the organisation and is likely to make them stick around for longer. It also ensures that there is a constant flow of highly skilled employees.

Mentoring: Millennials grew up with parents who were constantly spoonfeeding them, and now they want the same thing in the workplace. Setting up a mentorship programme will help guide them in the right direction, and it will also enable the mentor to gain a wider understanding of their requirements.

There are numerous other steps that you can take to keep these guys motivated. The most important thing to remember is that they want to be involved – they want to know how they fit into the big picture and what future prospects are, should they choose to remain with the organisation.

Ultimately, everything that we do is aimed at increasing productivity and efficiency in the workplace. Feeding Millennials’ appetite for a challenge and help them develop new skills will go a long way towards achieving this goal and, in turn, retaining them.

Author: Kerry Lassen is a copywriter and social media specialist at the Training Room Online