We can’t escape the fact that Gen Y/Millennials are going to transform the workplace over the next five years. By 2014 there will be more than 58 million Millennials employed in various organizations in the U.S. alone. Employers must begin adapting to the challenge of these generations to remain sustainable. Having cross generational strategies for retention and engagement can save a company a significant amount of money every year in turnover, training, recruitment, and lost productivity.
In my previous Gen Y post Gen Y Recruiting Tips: The Candidate Perspective I discussed some positive ways to attract and recruit Gen Y. After the offer is accepted, the next step is on boarding, but it doesn’t end there. Now the organization must focus on engagement and retention.
To assist clients in this process I have developed the Gen Y Recruitment and Retention Lifecycle ™ which consists of 6 phases. This approach is customizable pending specific organizational cultures and desired outcomes. I will discuss possible action items and solutions for each phase in future posts. In this post I will highlight the phases at a high level:
1) Communicate: Gen Y values and thrives on open, honest, and concise communication in all directions. Once they begin work it is imperative to clearly communicate (be specific, don’t assume) to the new
Gen Y employee their roles and responsibilities and the organizations expectations. Communication should not stop there, explaining the organizational culture, “how works gets done, how we do things around here” is also of importance. Be authentic. Gen Y performs better within a defined (though not overly rigid) structure with clarity of expectations.
2) Assess: It shouldn’t simply be assumed that the new employee has a solid understanding of what was communicated and or that they feel comfortable with what they heard. It should also not be assumed that
the new hire does not have skills of value outside the role they have been hired to fill. Assess the employees comfort level with what was communicated. Often inconsistencies and in congruencies can exist. Assess the employee’s skills, expertise and interests. Various tools and methods can be used to thoroughly assess the employees understanding of their role and responsibilities and their skills, competencies and interests. It is important to assess these things as it relates to not only the role they will be performing but also the organizational culture/structure.
congruent with the position they were hired to fill. Gen Y enjoys a challenge; however, they also expect to utilize the core skills for which they were hired. Target for full utilization of the skills they have (giving them comfort from the onset), while also offering opportunity for them to obtain skills they may not have, particularly those that are required for success (challenge.) This approach gets them doing the work they feel competent to perform and increases competencies in core areas to which they may be weak (as determined by assess phase).
4) Utilize: Gen Y expects to be utilized. If they don’t feel they are being utilized to the fullest potential they often become promptly disengaged. From the onset, utilize the Gen Y employee to their fullest potential drawing on past experiences, knowledge and interests. To gain maximum productivity from Gen Y, it is important to make them feel both utilized and challenged. In offering them the opportunity to feel useful, by utilizing them in ways that allow them to apply interests and areas of expertise, productivity is likely to increase. In addition, attempt a role fit or job rotation that will allow for continued growth and development and provide the opportunity to acquire new skills to which they have an interest and may also be an asset to the organization.
5) Feedback: Gen Y places a high value on open and honest communication, in all directions. As frustrating as this may be for some other generations, constant feedback is an almost critical ingredient in performance and job satisfaction. It sometimes seems as if this younger generation has an insatiable appetite for praise. And if they don’t receive the recognition they feel they deserve, they may be more likely to bail out of their jobs for greener pastures. The simple reality is that Gen Y has been raised in an atmosphere of high expectations, plenty of feedback and heaps of praise. They have received feedback on class assignments at each stage of development and are used to getting support throughout the completion of tasks and projects. Provide timely and meaningful feedback as to the employees performance as they progress. Create a safe and trusting work team where the employee can feel free to illicit feedback which may assist in productivity, growth and development and innovation.
6) Coaching: Gen Y values opportunities for growth and development. The next step beyond feedback is coaching. Coaching shouldn’t just be for managers and executives, after all if you can retain Gen Y employees they are eventually going to be the next set of leaders in your organization. To maximize productivity and retention, provide additional coaching for the employee as needed, providing direction to increase in certain competencies or skills, and in areas that may not be noticeable to the employee such as cultural nuances and politics. Coaching will increase the employee’s level of competence and significance and thus increase engagement, performance and retention.
Following the Gen Y Recruitment and Retention Lifecycle ™ can help you to get the most out of your new Gen Y employees. Additional steps and action items are developed at each stage, customized to your specific type of business and organizational culture. Customized workshops have also been developed around this approach. If you are Interested in learning more about how to implement positive Gen Y recruitment, engagement, and retention strategies please contact us or at [email protected] .