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Are you doing enough to prevent Gen Y turnover?

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Generation Y is often described as having itchy feet in employment, but are you doing enough to appeal to this important demographic?

Organisations face an uphill struggle when trying to hire the best talent for their business. Not only must they attract and identify the right candidates, they need to ensure new recruits don’t get itchy feet soon after they start.

Generation Y is often considered the most likely culprits to seek out new opportunities, with the demographic often accused of lacking loyalty. Whether this is justified or not, a growing number of Millennials are entering the workplace and businesses must find effective ways of reducing churn.

Earlier this month, Roy Morgan Research revealed that over half of Australians are not ruling out switching jobs next year, while 28 percent are actively considering a change of scenery.

This means only 49 percent of the country’s workforce is committed to their current employer for another year. Interestingly, only 9 percent of those polled claimed they were unhappy with their job.

In fact, three-quarters of people said they were satisfied with their organisation, which means other factors are at play in people’s intentions to move.

According to Roy Morgan Research, retail is the sector where the highest proportion of people are considering new opportunities, and this is due to the industry’s younger average age and job flexibility.

Understanding Generation Y

Mark McCrindle, principal of Australian research firm McCrindle, said too many employers dismiss Millennials as demanding, entitled and disloyal.

While he admitted that some of these accusations may have a grain of truth to them, they are not fair criticisms overall.

‘A lot of those characteristics are typical of youth in general rather than Gen Y in particular,’ Mr McCrindle explained in an interview with National Australia Bank.

‘I’m sure a lot of Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers were a bit like that themselves at the start of their careers.’

He argued that being born between 1981 and 1994 gives Millennials a unique insight into the workplace, as they are both extremely well educated and technologically savvy.

‘These factors have shaped their expectations, and what could be perceived as lack of loyalty or lack of traditional values is often nothing more than a response to the new realities of business life,’ he explained.

As Generation Y represents more than one-fifth of the population, organisations could risk losing valuable insight into today’s consumers and markets if they fail to actively recruit the best workers.

Furthermore, Millennials tend to be less rigid in their thinking, providing more opportunities for innovation and encouraging the evolution of business processes.

Attracting and retaining Millennials

Mr. McCrindle said firms must remember that Gen Y-ers ‘don’t automatically job hop’. While they are more willing to move around than previous generations, they’ll remain loyal once they’ve found the perfect job.

He offered five tips to organisations trying to entice and retain high-potential Millennials into the workplace.

  1. Offer training: Providing leadership development training ensures staff know their employer is investing time and resources into their development, which encourages long-term commitment.
  2. Non-monetary perks: While salary is still important, many Generation Y workers may respond better to recognition and a sense of being valued.
  3. Collaborative atmosphere: A supportive workplace environment underpinned by teamwork-based projects is crucial to Millennials’ job satisfaction.
  4. Democratic leadership: Young employees want to participate in decision-making processes and offer suggestions. As such, they are more likely to avoid businesses with autocratic leadership models.
  5. Work-life balance: Again, money isn’t everything, so be prepared to provide flexibility for travelling, further education and even hobbies to attract the top talent.
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