Businesses around the world are beginning to reckon with the fact that Millennials and Generation Z now make up over a third of the workforce. Where in previous years, youth unemployment was a massive issue among younger working generations, today the tides have turned considerably. As Baby Boomers begin to retire and Generation X starts to fill in for them, businesses are finding themselves struggling to attract and retain the younger employees that they will eventually need to continue their productivity and profitability.
So, now that the younger generations have a slightly better bargaining chip when it comes to employment, how can companies keep them around?
Millennials have been on the receiving end of a near-constant barrage of attacks on their work ethic over the last decade. The reality is, Millennials are probably the hardest working generation in history while simultaneously being worse off economically than the two generations before them. If companies want to capitalize on the efforts of one of the most productive generations to enter the workforce, it is vital that they understand how to communicate with younger generations and why that communication is important to them.
Younger generations are picky about the places that they work because they are more interested in working for a company that holds their same ideals and passions and will, in turn, foster their ability to make a positive change in the world. Millennials and Gen Z appreciate meaningful and detailed, yet succinct communication because they understand the value of time and feel as though the often bureaucratic nature of company communication is stifling of productivity.
At the same time, the younger working generations are aware of the prevalence of ageism in the world of business and how it affects senior workers just as profoundly as those just starting out their careers. Companies that are able to effectively communicate with an intergenerational workforce by opening up various avenues of communication are far more likely to inspire younger workers to stick around.
Invest In Them
When younger workers land a job at a company that they admire, they’re likely to want to learn as much as they can while they are there. Businesses can take advantage of Millennials and Gen Zs’ willingness to learn and diversify their skill sets by ensuring that they have plenty of opportunities available to them to learn.
Upskilling is incredibly beneficial to organizations because it not only boosts retention rates but also improves morale among workers. Allowing young employees to choose which areas in which to invest their time learning new skills shows a concerted effort on the part of an employer to help young workers become the best that they can be.
A good company will have invested in a Chief Learning Officer who’s role within the company is to ensure that employees are not only trained appropriately but that they also have plenty of opportunities to continue to learn and develop skills as they grow with the business. Learning programs are beneficial beyond the retention of employees as well as they allow a business to hire from within the company itself, reducing the cost of seeking out a new hire and training them to perform any necessary duties.
Younger workers want to feel empowered in their jobs, and one of the best ways that a business can help them to accomplish that is through the acquisition and development of new skills. Businesses that keep their younger employees learning are more likely to see those workers stick with the company for longer because of their willingness to help younger workers diversify their skillset in a mutually beneficial way.
Another thing that businesses should take note of is that, while upskilling younger employees is mutually beneficial, it is vital that a company should create a proper compensation package for employees based around their skillsets, and it should take into account professional development. Though there is an inherent value provided to a younger generation of employees when given the opportunity to expand and develop their skills, businesses that don’t then fairly compensate those same employees based on the increased complexity of the work they do are bound to see them head off for greener pastures.
Millennial and Generation Z workers face increased economic hardships over Generation X or Baby Boomers due to the affordability crisis affecting everything from healthcare to housing costs coupled with crippling student and credit card debt. Many young workers, being college-educated, are not willing to accept working for minimum wage when their marketable skills are worth far more. Unfortunately, more and more jobs are demanding even higher levels of education or years of experience that Millennials and Gen Z simply don’t have due to the increase of degree-holding workers entering the workforce.
The younger generations of workers are experiencing a massive hurdle to their ability to accumulate wealth due to low wages and are constantly looking for jobs that will pay them more than their current company does. It is no coincidence that over 50% of adults under 35 want to see the minimum wage in the United States increased to $15 an hour. Many recent college grads struggle financially and crave the stability that a well-paying job can provide.
If companies want to attract the most talented young workers and keep them within their business, they need to make an effort to understand their needs. Better communication, fair wages, and a vested interest in their continued success go much further than free snacks or other perks that the corporate world seem to think are the key to bringing in and retaining young employees.