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5 Ways to Keep Millennials Happy at Work: An Insider’s View

June 30, 2015
Millennials are interested in learning new skills, meeting new people and having experiences that further their professional development.

Now that we all pretty much understand the need to attract and retain the Millennial workforce, we need an auction guide. Eric LaCore, a millennial generation account manager at Crown World Mobility, provides such guidance.

His five suggestions are as follows:

Mange Cultural clashes

Many Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) and older “Baby Boomer” (born between 1946 and 1964) employees have developed a wide range of preconceived notions of what a millennial employee is like. Some assume that millennial employees are lazy and entitled.They hear that millennial employees require constant affirmation in the workplace.

On the other hand, millennials often think their Gen X bosses don’t like or trust them, won’t involve them in decisions that impact their work and don’t realize that they have a lot to offer. Older Baby Boomers and millennials may actually work together better than you think, because both are known to be more team orientated than their Gen X peers.

However, millennials may still be frustrated with Baby Boomers who are slower to retire and remain in leadership roles longer, blocking opportunities for both millennials and Gen Xers to move up the corporate ladder.

It’s important for HR and managers to address possible generational stereotypes and the different values that demographic diversity brings into the workplace. Many companies are offering training programs to prevent or address  unconscious bias” and to help leverage the benefits of multi-generations as part of their corporate diversity and inclusion strategies.

Appeal to a millennial’s interest in gaining international experiences

Millennials are interested in learning new skills, meeting new people and having experiences that further their professional development. Mobility opportunities are often sought out and met with great enthusiasm by this generation. In fact, mobility is often viewed as a pathway to professional advancement. According to several pieces of recent research, it is estimated that more than 80% of millennials are willing to relocate as long as they think the position is worth the move. A separate study found 71% say they want, and expect an overseas assignment during their career.

While millennials may be anxious for new experiences that can be gained by relocating, many are also looking for flexibility in the approach or program.

Recognize group’s lower costs

While not all millennials are alike, a significant number are looking for an international adventure and therefore more willing to take an opportunity when offered. This can result in lower costs and greater Return on Investment for companies that select millennial assignees from within their workforce. As a demographic group, millennials are more likely than others to use public transportation, they are often not yet homeowners, the majority are without children and less likely to be married due to their age and being at the early stages in their careers.

For mobility this means less costly support for home related needs, less dependents to support and overall less cost for travel, transportation and shipment of personal property. As an additional value add, since millennials are more  environmentally conscious than previous generations, and as a whole desire a smaller environmental impact, this attitude may also fit in with your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility values.

Understand turnover

One common belief is that millennials are not loyal to their companies and easily switch employers. While this notion may deter some companies from investing in their younger employees, many others find it to be a misconception. As a result of beginning their careers during the recent (and for many, on-going) recession, they have learned to hold on to their work and to have a greater desire for financial security.

While they set high expectations for advancement and progression in their careers, millennials typically do not choose to look for a new opportunity unless they feel they have a compelling reason. The driver for self-initiated turnover often stems from a perceived lack of growth and developmental opportunities. Therefore, it’s important to provide millennials with reinforcements, such as clear guidelines, frequent and immediate feedback, mentoring, along with setting clear expectations.

Update career path strategies

It is vital to align your mobility program and policies to this demographic shift, just as you would with corporate strategies for recruitment, sales, marketing and learning and development.

This alignment might include developing a lower cost mobility policy that enables more international opportunities. Increased access to developmental transfers or short-term assignments can fulfill your millennials’ desire for international experience as part of their longer term development plan. Some companies have updated their self-initiated move policy and are promoting it as part of their recruiting and retention strategy. Low-touch communication options, like online trip planning, travel and mobility apps and enhanced mobility program intranet sites are being developed in many millennial focused companies. 

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