Employee Loyalty and the Millennial Generation: “Y” You Should Believe the Hype

If you’ve been following current Human Resource trends and issues, including employee loyalty, you’ve undoubtedly heard all about Generation Y, aka the “Millennials”, over and over (and over) again. They are the next generation of young professionals, not only joining existing companies but also starting their own.

If you’re a franchise owner or other hiring professional, regardless of your age or the particular generation that you belong to, you need to be tuned in to the pulse of Generation Y and cognizant of what they can contribute to your business. More important – to them, anyway – is what they can get out of their careers, and how working for you will benefit them.

Generation Y is a confident generation. Millennials are self-aware and able to recognize both their skills and their vulnerabilities. They want to feel like they’re a part of something larger than themselves, while at the same time having their time and effort appreciated or, better yet, rewarded. It’s not just about the dollar amount written on their paychecks, either. Like most of us, they welcome all types of employee benefits and perks, both tangible and intangible.

Certain perks are more valuable than others, especially when they encourage someone to stay on the job. According to a recent article citing a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study, “employees aged 25–34 stayed on the job 3.1 years on average compared to baby boomers who stayed 10 years.” As the economy slowly improves, studies show that Generation Y members who are dissatisfied with their jobs are more likely to look for better opportunities than stick it out and hope things get better.

By getting to know what Generation Y wants and needs, you can help ensure employee loyalty and reduce turnover. A few of the things that they crave, according to workplace surveys, include:

  • Open communication with regular feedback – let them know how they are doing, how the company is doing, and what the goals are for the future. They want to be part of your success, and if you communicate regularly with them, they are more motivated to help you increase success.
  • Access to mentors – this generation grew up plugged in but often it was more so to technology than to people. They usually had two working parents. They are craving a mentor that takes an interest in them, which can be rewarding for both the mentee AND the mentor. Consider being their mentor, or at least give them access to others who want to make a difference in others’ lives.
  • A flexible work environment – this generation has a lot going on. They may be still going to school, and they often have involvement in a variety of social and even philanthropic activities. The more you work with their schedule, the more likely they are to work with yours and to stay in your employ. That doesn’t mean they set their own work schedule but instead that you understand each other’s boundaries and find productive ways to work together.
  • Recognition and other perks – but for this generation, they appreciate personalized recognition and awards, not the traditional “employee of the month” popularity contest. Celebrate their unique contributions. Provide incentives that are specific to their hobbies and interests. Acknowledge their efforts and point out how they make a difference in your organization.
  • Finally, let them utilize their strengths. Special assignments that tap into their specific abilities are appreciated. And, if your business deals with any sort of technology, you are in luck. As members of the digital generation, they are likely to be able to help you with a wide range of computerized and technological needs.

Recognizing and appreciating the unique characteristics of your Millennial workforce will ultimately help your franchise, and your workforce, thrive.

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