The Millennial workforce is no longer something that is far away. It’s here, it’s growing, and it’s impactful. In fact, their strong ethics and values are revolutionizing the way we think about business. It’s true, the youngest of the Millennials are in their early 20s and just getting their foothold in the workforce, but long gone are the days where we can dismiss the entire generation as shiftless, screen-obsessed kids.
Generally, this generation is defined as those born between 1981 and 1996. This means that the oldest of the set are now comfortably in or entering their late 30s. These are unquestionably adults, with extensive experience and established careers. These are parents and homeowners and community servants. These are highly-valuable employees in the prime of their career and the driving force in generating success for your company. It’s in everyone's best interest to make whatever shifts in business practices are necessary to retain these employees, and understand how to keep them happy and engaged.
A business's values and actions undoubtedly impact the length of time any employee will stay with an employer. According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 43 percent of Millennials envision leaving their job within two years, and just 28 percent seek to stay beyond five years. Additionally, 78 percent of those surveyed in the North Bay say they would take a job with a positive corporate culture over a job that has a higher salary and a stronger benefits package.
It’s a universal truth that all employees want to work for a company they’re proud of—this is not new, but it’s no longer optional. You can’t expect to retain employees who don’t feel good about their company’s ethics and practices. By focusing on purpose, professional development, and flexibility, employers can cultivate the company culture Millennials are seeking, not only to stop the premature job hop and build their company devotion for the future, but also to impart positive change on a global scale.
Millennials are more likely to be attracted to a company based on their stated purpose. That said, words on a piece of paper don’t matter nearly as much as actions do. Millennials believe that businesses have a greater responsibility than just profit. And not only do they want companies to serve their community, they want to be involved and feel that their work and causes impact the company culture and community around them. Businesses can garner trust and loyalty by finding ways to make a positive impact on their community.
Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility to think beyond our bottom line when making business decisions. Of course, the win-win is a company's purpose, which not only impacts their culture and employee retention, but consumer perception as well.
Arrow Benefits Group, for example, supports many charities that are important to us, but we want to support those important to our employees as well. We have established Charitable Gift Matching as part of our employee benefits package. As a benefit to employees and the organizations they support, the company will match all employee contributions to charitable organizations. Employees are also provided with paid volunteer time off to support their local organizations. We also offer many opportunities for employees to become involved with community services that the company supports such as the Ceres Community Project, an organization that creates and delivers nourishing meals to the critically ill, the Boys and Girls Club, and our own HeartSafe and Community Wellness Initiative, where we offer an ongoing community health training and CPR series.
Continuous on-the-job development from employers plays a large role in retaining employees. According to Deloitte, 73 percent of those who plan to stay with their employers more than five years say their organizations are strong providers of education and training.
This makes sense on many levels. After all, employees are an investment in the company's future, and investing in those employees makes them feel valued rather than expendable. The stronger and smarter your employees are, the stronger and smarter your business will be.
Traditional 9-to-5 employers are no longer only competing with other traditional employers, but also the “gig-economy,” where individuals can work where they want and when they want. Balance of home-life and work-life is essential for healthy, thriving, committed employees. By recognizing that employees have responsibilities and priorities outside of work, you allow them to find a balance that works well for them and you, and support them in being more fully present and productive when they are on the clock. This also cuts down on surprise “sick days,” creating a more reliable workforce with remarkably less stress. It’s well worth it to work with your employees to strike a balance that works for everyone.
The Millennial generation isn’t the workforce of the future. It is the workforce. Be proactive about putting programs and policies in place now to retain these valuable young professionals. Let’s take the lead of this generation, listen to what is important to them, and integrate those values into our corporate culture so that we may all have healthier, more lucrative lives, at work and at home.
Andrew McNeil has worked in the employee benefits field since 2005. Currently, he’s a principal at Arrow Benefits Group, headquartered in Petaluma. In 2016, he was listed in the 40 Under 40 List for the North Bay, and in 2017, he was named one of Employee Benefits Advisor magazine’s Rising Stars in Benefits Advising. Andrew’s professional goal is to make other businesses great by helping them attract and retain like-minded individuals by establishing a unique corporate culture and other benefits programs. You can reach him at 707-992-3789, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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