6 Things Startups Can Do to Retain Millennial Employees

by Geekgirl, August 22, 2016

The Millennial mindset on work has transformed more than just their lifestyle. It’s changed the steps employers need to take to retain this generation. The old view of climbing up the ladder for 20 years at the same company is changing fast and employers are clamoring as Millennials drop out of the workplace one by one to pursue something more.

Great employees are key to making it as a startup and Millennials are a fantastic resource to tap for top rate talent, but they also pose a problem when they quit unexpectedly. Avoiding expensive onboarding and candidate search fees starts with changing the way you think about your employees. LinkedIn surveyed more than 13,000 Millennial job candidates to provide an inside look at what the skilled generation really wants. From these insights, we can understand not only what it takes to hire Millennial talent, but also what it takes to retain them.

1. Be What You Say You Are

The deciding factors for where to work for many Millennials was the company’s values and culture. So if you’ve convinced a Millennial to join your team because of your culture, how do you keep them? The first guideline is to always be who you are. In everything you do, let your culture be reflected. This means very purposefully making decisions that emulate your vision of the company.

From the setup of your desks to the posts on your social media account, reflect your culture and make sure it’s a good one. Having a culture that connects with why you started your business and what you’ve always dreamed for a workplace is fundamental. You can also think about what kind of people you want to attract, clients and customers, and how you can form your culture to fit that.

2. Splurge on the Benefits or Provide a Timeline

Oddly enough, Millennials care 10% more than Baby Boomers about perks and benefits. When you’re a cash-strapped startup, the word benefit may be terrifying, but it’s something you’ll have to face if you want top talent.

Even if you can’t afford benefits right now, do you think there’s a time when you will be able to? Giving employees a definite timetable for benefit availability can ensure them that you’re serious about providing benefits. If you’re too vague about when you’ll start providing them, Millennials may wonder if you’ll ever get to that point.

3. Give In-House Opportunities

93% of Millennials are interested in hearing about job opportunities. Why let your employees explore outside options, when they could be obsessing over what’s available at your startup? Creating in-house job opportunities fulfills a Millennial’s appetite for options and motivates them to stay put at your startup.

Newsflash: You can create whatever opportunities you want in your startup. What’s the next step for each employee? If they do a fantastic job is there an option for more responsibilities and a new title? Can they outsource some of their work and become a manager? Think creatively about how your employees could grow within your startup and you’ll see rewards in the form of retention and productivity.

4. Start a Version of 20% Time

Google’s innovative time management program allowed employees to spend 20% of their time working on what they thought would most benefit the company. From this came Google News, Gmail, and AdSense. While the program wasn’t sustainable due to the employee’s already huge workload, the idea had merit.

Millennials like to take ownership of their careers. Why not give them ownership of a project? Open up time in their schedule for them to do anything that they think will benefit the company. You might be amazed at the results and even if you ultimately shut down the program, you could come out with some amazing ideas that you could incorporate into daily work, just like Google did.

5. Manage with Transparency

Feeling like they aren’t valued enough to get the whole story behind a decision, can majorly take down a Millennials satisfaction with a workplace. This generation really values the why. Giving them just enough to do their work isn’t actually enough.

To get your Millennials to stay, they need to feel valued and included in everything reasonably within their area. Being transparent with why you’re making decisions is a form of trust. You’re trusting your employees with information and you may not know what they’ll do or think about it, but it’s worth it to give them a chance. You never know what they might come up with in response.

6. Freedom to Focus

A recent study from Oxford reported that what Millennials really want is less distraction at work. They value being able to get their work done and stay in the flow. With trends of taking walls down and creating open environment, noise also goes up.

How can you combat the pains of your employees and the distractions from productive work? Create clear boundaries when people are busy. Inc.com suggests simple solutions are to allow employees to wear headphones and not to distract them when they are.

Your Voice

What do you think can make the workplace a more welcome environment for Millennials? What’s your experience working with this generation? Are you a Millennial? What do you value? Share your ideas with By Geekgirl in the comments below.