Millennials are a generation much talked about as they are coming of age and entering the workforce. Attracting and retaining millennials is a well researched and discussed topic. I want to offer a different perspective about what to do in attracting and retaining millennials in your company. When done well, you can benefit from the powerhouse that they are while also closing the gap between potential and results.
A number of our clients are concerned about what they are hearing and learning about Millennials in the workforce. They want to attract the powerhouse of the brilliant younger, and tech savvy minds. They also feel resistance to perception that Millennials are different to have in the workplace, more demanding of having their needs met.
Some hope that if they attract Millennials for their talents, that the Millennials will mature over time to fit in to the current status quo of the organization. Whether this can happen is a factor that is not yet proven one way or the other. If the needs of Millennials in the workplace remain as they are now, traditional workplaces will not be able to retain the talent. If there is a ‘maturing out’ of the specific requirements for keeping Millennials fulfilled in the workplace, there is a very real concern that this could be accompanied by a reduction in the innovation and new thinking that they bring. This has happened too often in other generations of creative thinkers.
Millennials and Outliers
The Millennial generation is said to be born between 1980 and 2000, although I have noticed people of all ages with the same innovative thinking, behavior patterns and expressed needs. If older than this Millennial generation, these people are usually perceived as ‘outliers’ in traditional organizations, people working on the margins and not quite fitting in. They tend to be outside of the box thinkers, innovative and creative…even if they don’t have the ease with the digital age that makes Millennials unique.
Attracting and Retaining Millennials
Instead of concerning yourself specifically about Millennials, consider creating and sustaining a life nurturing workplace for all employees. A workplace in which every employee can experience their work as meaningful and contributing to the goals of the enterprise.
Grow and support a culture of leadership in which every employee engages in the leadership that is necessary to get their jobs done. In doing so, you will co-create a culture that is agile and flexible. The organization will be better able to take advantage of opportunities as they emerge. The organization will have rapid responses to challenges.
Creating and sustaining a life nurturing workplace and a culture of leadership will support the work style preferences of Millennials. It will also support the value you get from other employees. This includes older out of the box thinkers, people who currently may be the outliers in your system.
Using this approach to have an organization desirable for Millennials will have the added benefit of engaging all people to close the gap between potential and results.
Will you be ready by 2020 when 50% of the workforce will be Millennials? Does it make sense to you to shift the culture of your organization to a culture of leadership as your strategy for attracting and retaining Millennials?