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How to Retain Younger Employees Who Are Unlikely to Stay

Cornerstone Editors

Despite the common image of younger generations bouncing from one job to the next, Millennials aren’t changing jobs that much. In fact, young people are changing jobs less now than they were 30 years ago. Yet, the stereotype of young employees leaving one job for another persists, and companies struggle to retain young talent.

While a majority of Millennials are happy to have a job, especially those who were job searching during the recession, a good portion of younger employees are self-starters and aspire to be entrepreneurs — or at the least work alongside like-minded people. Therefore, they are likely to move from one job to the next without much weight given to company loyalty.

Quint Gribbin, a Millennial data scientist at Red Owl Analytics, is a prime example. Gribbin, who had six jobs in just three years, has always pursued his passions and looked to solve problems in his jobs, rather than conform to the job title or the culture of a company. "You follow your skill set. Not a company," Gribbin told the Washington Post.

Gribbin isn’t the only recent graduate who follows this path of jumping from one company to the next. In fact, many Millennials say they expect to switch companies every year or two.

When employees leave a company, that creates more work for hiring managers and disrupts the sense of company culture. To retain top talent, managers must learn what Millennials are looking for in a job and company and turn the company into a young employee’s ideal place to work. Listening to what Millennials want is a top priority for companies since within six years, Millennials will be 50 percent of the workforce.

While some employees stay at a company for the security, Gribbin sees his investments in learning new skills and building a talent network as more secure than being loyal to a company. Keeping employees with Gribbin’s mindset may seem next to impossible, but here are four things that younger generations want in a job:

1. A team dynamic. While many Millennials are innovative and can take a project and run with it, they like to collaborate on projects and share their ideas. "They want to feel like they're always in collaboration with people, so it's really important for companies to show the ways they are going to bring this person into an organization and then keep them very involved, giving them feedback on a regular basis, and giving them many opportunities," says Cindy Madden, director of consulting solutions for global relocation service Cartus.

2. The opportunity to learn new skills. Many people say that the younger generations are learners for life. Once they’ve mastered one skill, they’re ready to learn another speciality and continue perfecting past ones. Millennials are known as being fast learners and open to change, so the more skills they have, the more flexible they are to move into new roles within the company.

3. New experiences. Whether it’s a river-rafting team outing or the opportunity to relocate to London for a year, younger generations like to be offered "extracurriculars." Millennials expect their company to provide these opportunities for them to expand their horizons.

4. Time to pursue outside projects. To cater to the employees who would love to start their own company, companies should provide time for them to develop new projects, such as Google’s well-known 80-20 time allocation. "Every generation from here on out will become more entrepreneurial than the next because they will have had more access to information, people and resources earlier in the life," writes Dan Schawbel, managing partner of Millennial Branding

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