Everyone is talking about how to attract and then keep Gen Y, and the knee jerk reaction to keeping a superstar is to throw money, a vacation abroad or another week off to keep them on board. While these incentives often work short-term, it is well known that these perks don’t keep people around for the long haul.
What many employers don’t seem to consider is the investment they are making or not making in Gen Y talent. They often say that they feel they are wasting their time developing out their young careerists, because they know they’re going to leave in 2-3 years. I believe this view is archaic. I have been in the middle of this conversation for the last 24 months, and when it comes to retaining Gen Y, here is what I am finding is true more often than not:
1) Gen Y’s will stick around longer if they know that their employer is invested in their career and leadership development. They will know this by observing you listening to their career goals and then responding to those goals by offering them opportunities to advance in the company. They want feedback about their performance, and as a manager or leader, it’s your place to provide that feedback. Many managers are afraid to develop out their young employees, because they are afraid they will help them grow out of the job. If this is your mindset, and you are not dedicated to your Gen Ys’ development, then guess what…you’re right. You’re probably going to lose them in a very short time.
2) Gen Y’s will be more dedicated to your company if the feel they are a right fit. Generation Y is the first generation to state out loud that they value authenticity and transparency. They want to know that the fit feels right…that it’s authentic. If your values match your Gen Y’s values, she will feel a sense of belonging to your culture.
3) Gen Y’s are happiest when they have a strong connection with other people in the company. Gen Y values friendships and a great life over just about anything else, and they crave connection with their work colleagues. They want access to not only their peers and other Gen Y’s but with their managers and executive leaders. They want to know that top leaders are highly accessible and open to connection with them.
4) Executive Coaching is a huge perk. Gen Yers are quite open to Executive Coaching, and many are already working with a mentor or adviser before they join your company. By offering Executive Coaching to your Gen Ys, your young careerists will always have someone to turn to when the going gets tough.
5) Promoting from within can seal the deal. In my opinion, there is no better way to get a young employee to stay on board than by offering them a promotion as soon as they are ready. The whole topic of 5, 10 and 20 years of tenure as a prerequisite for promotion is becoming passe. Giving Gen Y’s a chance at a bigger job that stretches their mental capabilities is a great way to send the message that you trust them and that you want them as a long-term member of your team.