According to Forbes “Gallup statistics on employee engagement are disconcertingly low, with reports that “a staggering 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged.” Disengagement, it is widely believed, leads to higher levels of employee turnover, resulting in tremendous effort and energy being poured into trying to make employees stay for longer. When it comes to retention, we have to remember that we are now in a context populated by a generation whose entire approach to work is much more transient than any previous group of people that have gone before them (millennials)”. This is wrong.
Those of us who manage people and lose them know how long it can take for a new employee up to speed. That “lost time” translates in dollars for any company.
The reason why millennials are on “the move” is that too many companies still treat employees like expendable assets. Millennials are the first generation who understand this so they feel that they don’t owe any company their loyalty if they don’t treat them well. In the past Boomers, like me, had to take whatever their managers, and organizations, dished out.
The author of the Forbes article goes on to say “I do not think we should be expecting or asking for millennials’ loyalty. Trying to retain them is like trying to use an outdated piece of software instead of upgrading to the latest version.” Wrong! If you’re losing employees you first need to look inward at your company’s culture because there is a good chance it’s you not them.
If you have to ask “what do millennials want?” then you’re already way behind the times. It’s very simple actually; today employees want to be treated as people whose voices are heard and who feel they are contributing to the success of your company. There is nothing like the feeling of leaving work knowing that you personally made a significant contribution.
The other thing to remember is that millennials have been through a lot. A massive recession and financial corruption unseen before. A lot of them not only are graduating school with huge student loans they are finding that paying for employer-sponsored health insurance is a major expense.
Even though the job market is really good right now I still see and hear employees complaining about their managers as well. It’s said that people don’t leave companies they leave bad managers. HR hasn’t done enough to weed out bad managers because too often they are ingrained in the company politics and are well protected. This is a company-wide failure.
There is always going to be some turnover when it comes to employees but it should be the job of every manager to create a culture where people feel like they are part of the solution and whose voices are never quieted.
Originally published at newmanagementandhr.com on January 19, 2019.