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Talking the Language of Tomorrow's Workforce, Today

Millennials2016 (2)The following guest post was written by Peter Harte, managing director of Kronos Australia, New Zealand, and South East Asia. Thanks, Peter! 

Self-centered, lazy, and _too big for their boots' are words commonly used about Millennials. On the other hand, so are socially conscious and collaborative. The traits of Millennials have been written about ad nauseam. By all accounts, Millennials are a worldwide workplace epidemic - but should tactics to manage this generation differ by country?

To find out, we undertook a study in Australia to understand how managers can harness positive Millennial traits and navigate perceived downfalls. We surveyed 600 Australian employees with 50% of the sample being made up of Millennials and 25% made up of Generation X and Baby Boomers, respectively, to find out what motivates them.

While known for job hopping, we found that Millennials are more open to managerial discussion when we dug deeper. Only 19% said there was nothing an employer could have done to prevent their departure.

And what could be done? Flexible benefits, an increase in pay, or a promotion were all cited as effective levers by Millennials. Interestingly though, an open conversation about potential could deliver the same impact!

But what if you find out the employee's goals are not aligned with the company's, or worse, they are using this opportunity as a stepping stone to what they see as greener pastures?

I've outlined three possible conversations you could have with your Millennial employees to demonstrate you don't just care about them as an employee, but also as a person. Being open to their growth ideas could increase innovation through engagement.

1.) Be open to discussing their goals both inside and outside of the organization

Energy and productivity trump longevity when it comes to tenure, and 60% of Millennials had left an organization within a year of feeling they were no longer giving their best. Keeping them motivated and engaged while in your employment is critical, so find out what inspires them and how you can help.

Departing Millennials who leave on good terms will provide you with positive word of mouth. This may result in recommending possible candidates, or even becoming “boomerang” employees, returning to your organization themselves (which The Workforce Institute found that boomeranging is an increasing trend).

2.) Explore opportunities within the company

Two-thirds of Millennials say they'll stay at an employer as long as they are acquiring the skills and training they think will benefit their career, compared to a third of Generation X and 27% of Baby Boomers. Explore other opportunities within the company if it's time for them to move.

3.) Work together to uncover a solution or action plan that works for both parties

Millennials respond positively to personalized plans. Two-thirds (65%) say they'd have stayed longer if management had shown interest in them as an individual. Implementing a plan that shows clear progression and regular review points will satisfy their thirst for feedback and reward.

What do you think? Weigh-in by posting a comment below.

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