How to attract and retain talent in a new generation of workers
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Change Management

How to attract and retain talent in a new generation of workers

March 18, 2021

3 min read

Devin Culham

Devin Culham

For employers, one of the most challenging issues in the workplace is losing talented employees to competitors. Most employers are acutely aware of the importance of attracting and retaining talent, which is why talent management has become a priority issue in most organizations. Attracting and retaining the right talent has a positive impact on the business strategy of a company because it involves investment into one of its most valuable assets: its people. However, many organizations adopt talent management practices without any differentiation for different generations of employees.

The millennial workforce has an extremely different perspective on what they expect from their employment experience than previous generations of workers. The modern workforce is well-educated, confident, skilled in the latest technology, and able to multitask. Millennial workers thrive in collaborative environments with lateral hierarchies and are usually very confident in their knowledge and skills. As a workforce, millennials are eager to seek out new challenges that possess more than one set of skills. However, in the current era of 24-7 availability, a work-life balance is a crucial component of job satisfaction for millennials.

Attracting millennials with workplace perks can work in the short term. However, employers will need to consider the following workplace structures to retain employees long-term.

1. Leadership that leads by example

Leadership that exhibits integrity and upholds the values of the company is necessary to keep millennials satisfied. New job candidates want to know who they are going to be working with, whether its the founder and CEO, senior executives, managers, or anyone in authority. Millennial employees will be doing their research to make sure that the organization they work for has strong leadership that is open to collaboration.

2. Career growth and job succession planning

For a generation of workers that are burden by academic debt, workers are concerned with the opportunity of advancement. Employers can achieve this by sponsoring workshops, financing degrees, and paying for skill acquisition programs that will prepare them for the next level in their careers. Companies should also focus on job succession planning by grooming talent to take on higher positions within the organization. Showing employees the roadmap to the peak of their career is a necessary talent management strategy in the workplace. The result is a workforce made up of people willing to go the extra mile to achieve the organization’s goals.

3. Laudable company mission and purpose

The new generation of talent needs to understand the “why” behind a company’s existence. Workers today aren’t motivated strictly by a paycheck or benefits; they want to produce results for a company whose work and mission align with their personal beliefs. Because of this, it’s essential to have not only a great mission and purpose statement but the follow-through to see it to fruition. Workers will feel greater fulfillment if they can measure the results of their labor and see how it applies to the organization’s mission and purpose.

4. Promoting creativity, innovation, and problem-solving

Regardless of the job and its related duties, holding creative thinking in high esteem is attractive to new talent. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 53 percent of today’s workforce does not feel engaged at work, which means that most employees are merely “showing up.” Employees want to be more involved in creative and innovative activities, and it’s up to leaders to provide opportunities to solve problems creatively. Employers should encourage workers to pursue activities that require an innovative approach to problem-solving, such as finding new methods for streamlining or completing tasks.

5. Flexible job schedules and work environment

The days of clocking out at 5 p.m. are over. Today, workers are always connected to their email and project management apps and are expected to be available to respond to questions and tasks outside of regular work hours. Because of this, millennial workers require balanced work and social life. Many workers would rather avoid the 9-to-5 work schedule in preference of jobs that offer telecommuting options and flexible working hours.

Additionally, office designs should be welcoming and dynamic, offering workers comfort, amenities, and fewer formalities. Ultimately, millennial workers want to feel rewarded for their productivity, not the hours spent in the office. Employers that focus on workers completing tasks with measurable outcomes will have greater success in retaining talent that will invest in the organization for years to come.

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