How to Retain Millennials in a World Full of Job Hoppers

August 8, 2016

A recent LinkedIn analysis found that job hopping among millennials is on the rise.

Specifically, people who graduated college between 2006 and 2010 switched companies an average of 2.85 times in their first five years out of school. Compare that to people who graduated college between 1986 and 1990, who switched companies a mere 1.6 times in their first five years out of school.

For organizations everywhere, this is a major problem.

Think about what that means. More and more, companies are recruiting millennials out of college and training them to do their jobs – only to have to repeat the entire process again with someone else 18 months later.

That’s not a sustainable way to run a business. First off, it’s expensive, as estimates have put the cost of replacing an employee between $20,000 and $30,000. Secondly, the best companies build their talent up over time, something that’s impossible to do if people are leaving within two years of taking the job.

So what should organizations do?

It starts with understanding exactly why millennials switch jobs. From there, the next step is developing strategies that entice millennials to stay.

Okay, so why are millennials switching jobs?

The number-one reason all professionals switch jobs is that they are seeking a position that offers better professional development. And that’s even truer for millennials, who are the group most concerned about career development.

Here’s the evidence, based off a LinkedIn survey of more than 10,000 people who recently changed jobs:

Intuitively, this makes sense. Generally, people don’t start their careers with the job they want for the rest of their lives. Instead, the beginning of their career is about gaining skills to eventually earn their dream job, which is why millennials are so concerned about career development.

Okay, millennials care most about career development. How do I best accommodate that?

Pretty obvious – you work to advance the careers of your people, particularly millennials. Unsurprisingly, a LinkedIn analysis found that companies who do that are among the best in the world at attracting and retaining talent, including millennials.

Recently, using member data, LinkedIn compiled a list of companies who were the world's best at attracting and retaining talent. What did those top companies have in common?

Well, five things. But perhaps the most important was this – almost all of the organizations on the list worked with their employees to develop their careers.

Here are three good examples:

  • Unilever’s Future Leaders Program

Unilever was found to be the eighth-best company in the world at attracting and retaining talent. And one of the reasons why is its “future leaders” program, which works to turn college graduates into managers within three years.

Here’s how Unilever describes the program on its website:

“We want you to be one of the business leaders of tomorrow – and quickly. We will give you all the training and experience required to be a manager within two to three years, and the platform to help shape the future of some of the world’s most loved brands – and through them the wider world.”

  • The Shell Graduate Program

Shell was found to be the 16th-best company at attracting and retaining talent in the world. And, like Unilever, it also has a comprehensive graduate program that works to develop the careers of its recent college graduates. Shell’s program is up to five years long and features two-to-three rotations.

Here’s how Shell describes the program on its website:

“Whether you join the technical, commercial or corporate Function area of the Shell Graduate Programme, you will receive unparalleled formal training that will propel your career straight after exiting the programme. We’ve designed the programme to give remarkable candidates like you the outstanding experience and training you’ll need to become a future leader of our business.”

  • McKinsey & Co's Employer Branding Strategy

McKinsey, which does management consulting, is known to have one of the most intense work cultures out there, which includes a lot of traveling. And yet, it was found to be the 20th-best company in the world at attracting and retaining talent.

Why?

It sells where a job at McKinsey can take the person. On its career site, the company brags about how a career at McKinsey “opens doors.” And check out this recruiting video, which focuses on how a job at McKinsey can propel a person’s career into superstardom:

Takeaway

The takeaway here is pretty straightforward. Millennials want to work for a place that’ll help them develop their career. The companies that do that best are the best in the world at attracting and retaining talent.

Ultimately, what these companies do is create a culture of learning, with clear goals for their employees to shoot for. That means they give them training and resources that allow employees – and, millennials specifically – to grow their careers. People who embrace that training and successfully develop themselves are then rewarded with more prestigious jobs within the organization, where they can make more of an impact.

It isn’t brain science. Instead, it’s just a solid strategy of retaining great millennial talent, which can be implemented at any organization.

*Image by Death to the Stock Photo

Learn how to best develop millennials into leaders by downloading our free ebook, Your Guide + Workbook to Developing Employees Into Leaders.

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