How to Increase Your Retention Rate for Millennials


Millennials are now the largest generation in the workforce, and they’re totally different than the generations of workers that came before. They want more than just a job. They want to feel like they’re doing something that matters. They don’t want to mindlessly do tasks — rather, they want to be engaged with their work and know they’re doing something that’s going to make a difference.

About 91% of millennials expect to stay at a job for less than three years, and they’re costly assets to replace. So how do you increase the chance of holding onto these workers? Here are some tips.

Be Flexible

When it comes to works schedule, 77% of millennials say they’d be more productive with flexible work hours. They’re comfortable with technology that allows them to work from pretty much anywhere. They expect telecommuting to be the norm — not something special.

If you’re looking increase flexibility in your company:

  • Try making telecommuting an option. The commute to work, as well as dressing the part and dealing with a bunch of people working in close proximity can be big stressors for employees. Telecommuting can help employees be more relaxed and focused on getting the job done.
  • Let them learn more. This generation wants to continue learning more skills and trades. Flexible hours let millennials continue to pursue training or classes they want to be taking. The benefit to this is the company gains a more-skilled employee with an enthusiasm to keep learning.
  • Maximize productivity. You can still have a set time frame for workdays, but let employees work the hours that are best for them. You’ll get better work out of them that way.

Give Them Room to Grow

Millennials hate feeling stuck, which is why they have a tendency to job-hop. One of the biggest reasons millennials leave their jobs is a lack of advancement options. They don’t want to be doing the same thing every day for years on end. They want the opportunity to grow and change, learning new areas of the company.

To ensure your millennial employees feel like they have room to grow in your company, you can:

  • Have a clear path for advancement. Have a straightforward way for advancement in the company and make sure employees know exactly what it takes to reach the next step. Millennials want to know what they’re working toward and how to get there.
  • Be transparent. Let your employees know about the health and growth of the company. Giving workers the chance to know the company’s progress and goals will make them feel closer to the job and that they have a sense of control.
  • Promote or give a raise when it’s earned. If someone is working hard and giving everything they’ve got to the company, they want that work to be noticed. If they get a promotion or raise every so often, they’ll be happier workers and will be more likely to continue giving it their all.

Find a Way to Give Back

When they’re choosing an employer, over 50% of millennials strongly consider charitable causes. This means they want the chance to improve the world around them, and they are looking to see how your company promotes opportunities for that.

Offering chances to get involved gives them a way to get more out of their workplace. You might consider ways to:

  • Help the local community. Have a team volunteer day where everyone in the office goes and gives back to the local community.
  • Expand your range. Do a charity-match program to encourage employees to donate to the charity of their choosing.

Millennials want to see that the company is interested in making the world a better place and cares about something more than just their profits.

Encourage Collaboration and Innovation

According to a recent study, 82% of millennials think collaboration and inspiration drive innovation. Therefore, in addition to working individually, they want the chance to collaborate with other workers to brainstorm new ideas. To do this:

  • Invest in collaborative spaces. Create comfortable team workstations that aren’t stiff and formal. Relaxed environments with cozy seating can help encourage collaborative work by making your employees feel more comfortable.
  • Get them the technology they need. If you want to encourage collaborative working, it’s critical to have the technology to connect your millennial employees with each other as well as with the world. Mobile technology is crucial to this because it allows them to work together anywhere and at any time.
  • Encourage them to come up with new ideas. Millennials are filled with ideas that could help advance the company. If they bring one up, discuss the idea with them and give them the tools to make it a reality — if it’s a good one that will benefit the company. This gives them the feeling of being an entrepreneur, while still working within an organization.

Build a Positive Work Environment

If your employees actually look forward to coming into work every day, you’re going to get more out of them. They aren’t going to put forth their best effort if they absolutely dread coming into the workplace. To ensure your company has a positive environment:

  • Keep things positive. Encourage the good ideas and thoughts that employees have and try to eliminate negativity. Urge employees to think up solutions that solve the problems they’re unhappy about.
  • Make things exciting! The little things can mean the most. Have a pizza party at lunch one day or surprise your employees with a fun event to break up the monotony of the workday.
  • Help workers get to know each other. Use team-building activities — or just use that pizza party — to get your employees mingling and getting to know those they work with. This helps collaboration and also keeps things positive when everyone is friendly with each other in the office.

Listen to What They Have to Say

This might be the most important step to retaining millennial workers. They see things differently, learn differently and want to make a difference. They believe they can make a change and will be very vocal in helping if you let them, so try making sure you:

  • Hear their vision. Ask what they would contribute or how they would improve things in the workplace. Chances are it’s something you never even thought of, but it could make a ton of difference. For example, maybe that bright, boring conference room could be turned into something more inviting for people to share their ideas.
  • Have brainstorm sessions. Inspire your employees to come up with ideas together. Put your younger generation of workers in a room together for a few hours and see what they come up with.
  • Have exit interviews. If you’re losing your millennial workers, interview them so you can find out why. They’re your best resource for changing things up so the new millennials you hire will be more likely to stick around.

Retaining millennials is crucial in today’s business world. Their needs will have to be met, too, as they’re going to be the biggest generation in the workforce for the next decade or so.

It’s time to start taking the steps to make the workplace an ideal environment for the millennial before it’s too late.

About the Author


Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks, a career and happiness blog. As a freelance writer, Sarah enjoys writing about a variety of topics from career and business to healthy living. Catch her on Twitter @SarahLandrum for more great advice.

Photo Credit: Big Stock

One comment

  1. I would have to be the Devil’s Advocate here. Having worked with hordes of millennials, I now know that a lot of their expectations are unrealistic. Here at Mettl, we have had a novel way of working with expectations. We allow millenials to take charge of a process which they feel is broken. 5% of millenials reported an improvement by >10% points while others had a negative report (with all necessary supervision when needed, ofcourse). It’s then that they understand that there is some way to go, for them.

    I am not saying that millenials are wrong in their wish to have the organization aligned to them and not vice versa but it’s equally important to lend perspective to them.

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