NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Each year, Millennials constitute a growing share of the work force, yet employers are finding it much more difficult to retain them.
According to a recent survey conducted by Millenial Branding Inc., 45% of companies surveyed report having a high turnover rate with their millennial workers. In addition, 30% of these companies reported losing 15% or more of their Gen Y workforce each year.
The reason behind this finding can provide a great deal of insight into what young people value the most in a workplace. The same survey cited "a good cultural fit" as one of the main indicators of companies that are able to retain Gen Y employees.
It seems that Millennials want more than just a good job. It isn't enough to get a nice paycheck. They need to feel that we are working for an organization that we can identify with.
It's not that money isn't important to them – it's just that they place a higher value on other elements. In a 2010 Pew Research Study, only 31% of Millennials reported being satisfied with their current salary - but there is simply more to it than that.
Millenial Branding Inc. managing partner Dan Scshawbel, who worked on a study with Monster.com earlier this year, found that Millennials care more about skill training and development than older generations (33% for Gen Y vs. 22% for Gen X and 15% for Boomers).
"We also found that they care about advancement opportunities more than older generations and they care less about retirement benefits, healthcare and the location where they work," he said.
Millennials care deeply about how a job affects our lifestyle. While a high salary is a top priority to many Gen Yers, the same survey found that Millennials tend to value lifestyle over salary.
"I want flexibility with my time- [my boss] wants hard work and results", said Maggie Young, a Gen Y professional who is a communications specialist for marketing firm B&B. "By understanding this, I am motivated to get my work time so that I can come and go and leave as I need to. With volunteering, physical activities and a social life, having more time to spend outside of work is important to me."
While these trends highlight key cultural differences between generations, they also create issues for employers. More than 71% of firms surveyed reported that losing millennial workers caused a heightened workload and added stress to current employees.
The other problem is that Gen Y workers are quite expensive to replace. Close to 90% of the firms surveyed reported that the cost of replacing a Millennial employee was anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000. This is mainly because young workers are the most expensive age group to train.
Seeing the importance of retaining Millennial employees, companies have taken swift action. Many firms have reported creating employee retention programs designed to address the needs of younger employees. Important factors such as mentorship and workplace flexibility are now being integrated into company cultures in order to make firms more enticing to younger workers, but there is still more to do.
"Companies need to create a corporate culture that appeals to Millennials, and many have started creating programs that support this important demographic," Schawbel adds.
Such programs that have been created address issues such as "workplace flexibility" (48% of companies reporting), "mentoring programs" (40%) and "internal hiring" (37%). Only 10% of companies cite using "intra-preneurship" and "community service programs" to engage Millennials.
--Written by John Okoye for MainStreet