Keep Millennials Excited

Gone are the days when an employee worked at one company, slowly moving up the ladder till retirement.

Today, the tables have turned, coins have flipped, and the latest generation of employees aren’t concerned if they’re working at a multi-million-dollar company or startup as long as they feel valued and are engaged. But keeping them engaged is no easy feat.

Studies indicate millennials (aka Gen-Y) do not like conforming to traditional policies and procedures. In fact, they perceive it as a form of control that does not encourage their creative spirits.

While there are enough resources that underline differentiating factors of today’s employees, there are not many that give solutions on how to retain them and minimize attrition rates. Why should companies treat millennials any differently? For starters, in 2017, the US Millennial population was 7.81 million according to PWE Research center showed that one in every three American labor force are millennial. This is a significant number considering that a big chunk of today’s workforce comprises of millennials (35%)

There are three important factors that help companies retain Gen-Y.

  • Extra focus on the understanding of business and domain knowledge
  • Blending of new technologies into legacy applications: by means of upgrades, accelerators
  • Innovative growth plans

Extra focus on the understanding of business and domain knowledge

Millennials today are more restless and vulnerable to their surroundings. They can easily get negatively impacted and influenced by their peers in the industry who are working on the latest technology stack. It is pertinent to make millennials understand that understanding the business and domain are key factors that will help them achieve short-term goals and long-term growth. They expect that companies help them in this endeavor.

Companies that specialize in domain-specific training and exposure can attract and retain more talent because they can create a culture of linking technology to business needs. Emphasizing the fact that each line of code, test case, or defect affects human lives can make them more connected and responsible. This can bring compassion to their work and it can help them moving away from insecurities and vulnerabilities, as they know they are contributing to the wellness of the society.

Blending of new technologies into legacy applications: by means of upgrades, accelerators

One of the key factors that impact the performance of millennials in the workplace is how well companies adapt/integrate into new technologies while they cannot do away with legacy applications. This excites employees and keeps them on their toes. Millennials are tech-savvy and love working with companies that harness the power of tech in their business. It is not a glam-factor anymore and is more lifestyle. Therefore, it is not the millennials who need to adapt to the companies as much as it is the companies who need to adapt themselves to the way millennials work.

Companies should try to blend new technology stack into day-to-day assignments, which are most likely to be on applications that are on the legacy technology stack. IT solutions that seemed useful and fast just a few years ago now seem obsolete. These technologies need more than just a facelift. New technology stacks bring value to employees and companies in their efforts of modernization.

Companies also need to focus on training millennials on new technologies. More technology assignments that enable using new technologies into their day-to-day tasks or over and above their regular assignments help them develop their skills. Every day new technologies are taking birth. Adapting to new technologies not only help employees grow, but it also helps companies to grow and adds value to the client’s business.

Making a business impact using technology is nothing less than a cherry on the cake.

Innovative growth plans

Traditional perks and hike are now obsolete as millennials are looking for innovative growth plans. This is not to say that they (Millennials) do not want it, but to say that they are looking for more and beyond the traditional growth. Human Resources play a vital role in bringing about these innovative growth plans.

Millennials look for jobs that include them in the company’s growth plans. Even traditional companies are tweaking their policies to retain and keep millennials excited. Millennials want to work in companies that aspire growth as they themselves aspire for it.

They also want to be involved in making a difference and hence do not shy away from additional responsibilities. Companies should engage millennial employees in coaching and mentoring based on the individual potential to ensure that they can climb up the ladder steadily. Leadership training at an early stage of career makes millennials become more forthcoming to take on more responsibilities.

Another important factor that helps millennials stay engaged is early rewards and promotions for instant recognition and accelerated growth. One of the key reasons for this is that the millennial generation grew up in a fast-paced environment which enabled them to learn faster, fail faster, and learn from various methods against older generation which had very few avenues to learn from. Their expectation is also that their work is recognized early and rewarded early.

Gen Y also looks at their own purpose at work and the value they bring to the table as a growth strategy. Value over salary is also a simple mantra for millennials as they do not want to work in companies that are not open to their ideas and incorporate them. This differentiator makes them strong and companies strategically hiring them to help them in this journey.

When employees are committed to deep diving into a domain-specific to their interest, there are several bases covered.

  • They are ready to work extra hard to understand the domain better
  • They are willing to take risks
  • They are willing to accept disappointments that may come along the way
  • Become more committed towards the company
  • They are willing to commit to a long- term engagement with the company they work for.

These parameters make them performers in the company and not merely employees with a badge.

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Written by

Rajesh Rao,
Senior Vice President - Healthcare Delivery,
17 Sep 2019

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