Just like the iPhone crushed the Palm Pilot (many reading this may not even know what I’m talking about – Palm Pilot??), Millennials are going to force a reinvention of work as we know it. They ARE the majority at 92M strong – bigger than the Boomer population, and will make up 75% of the workforce in 10 years.
Looking the other way, pretending they don’t exist, or that they will ‘adapt’ to the way things are or have been, is a huge mistake. Business as we have known it is going to morph and reinvent itself into a much different reality from where it has been. As a millennial leadership and engagement consultant, I see and hear the ripples across every industry – even into the government and military.
Recruiters are struggling to connect employers with talent joining the work force, and once hired human resources and management are struggling to retain millennial talent more than a year or two. The traditional process and trajectory of hiring talent and keeping them engaged and growing with a business is off the charts. This equates to an incredibly costly reality for the bottom line of any business tracking and trending employee attrition and costs of hiring. The time to reinvent this process of hiring, engaging and retaining has come.
The average employee cost of replacement hovers anywhere between $15,000-$25,000 per employee. Even on a good day, the lowest estimates for replacing an entry-level employee who voluntarily leaves, is close to $10,000. With a team of 200-300 employees at the typical turnover rates in the industry, attrition is costing you $1,000,000-$1,5000,000 right to your bottom line. And this is an example of the cost to maintain a relatively small team, attrition and hiring costs for larger teams can be even more staggering.
The cost of turnover is only one factor to consider. Other more difficult to quantify factors include team, office and company morale as employees roll in and out of your organization. Next consider the effect on client or customer service as you may have to reintroduce new employees every few months to your clients or customers. If this isn’t taxing enough, consider the company and customer or client knowledge and intelligence that walks out the door when employees leave. All of these factors contribute to employee turnover becoming a huge issue that must be addressed.
Another factor to consider is that the boomer employee population is on their way out. When you consider the future state and stability of talent in your organization, whatever changes and modifications that need to be made to your work environment and leadership processes, should be in the works now.
If I were to speak with you 1:1, how clearly have you communicated the answers to the following questions to not just millennial employees, but all employees on your team? How do you handle promotions, salary treatment, training and development, and succession planning. Do you have a successful approach to level setting expectations around how quickly millennial or new employees can expect to move from one position to another, or be promoted, in a way that secures their buy-in?
Do employees know what your values are as a leader and as an organization?What expectations and norms are in place around goal setting, giving feedback, leadership receiving feedback, and myriad other factors that play into team alignment. What about your mission statement? What is your purpose – and what are you doing as an organization and company to contribute to something bigger in the world than your bottom line? Do your millennial employees know about it?
The millennial generation is transparent in what they care about and what is important to them. This is the most researched generation in history. They believe in culture and like to be involved in creating it. They also work best and thrive in a collaborative work environment. The good news is that you don’t need to have all the answers, they are happy to contribute their ideas and experience to problem solve business challenges. The fact is – whether you want to admit it or not, you don’t have all the answers anyway.
Millennials appreciate the ability to be creative with how they get their work done. Their innovative spirit and drive, given the right environment, allows them to create new solutions to old problems. They also value training and development. Being hired into one role with no view to ‘what’s next’ will encourage roving eyes just as fast as poor pay.
They are also the most educated generation to enter the job market and many have highly entrepreneurial spirits. Many may have student debt, but that won’t stop them from creatively laying out a plan to chart their course into the future. A perfect combination of business and life forces have created the ideal environment for the entrepreneurial millennial to emerge with the next million or billion dollar digital business.
The internet is the great equalizer, and millennials are not ingrained with the ideal of pursuing a long career with one company – especially with what they just walked through with their parents. They witnessed the collapse of the housing market – many of them personally affected. Millennials also walked through the recession with their parents. They witnessed their parents pursuing the ‘American dream’, while most millennials are worse off than their parents were at the same age.
So as a business leader, if you have read this far, you have the opportunity to create the change needed for your business to grow and thrive with the entree of millennials into your work environment. If you are a millennial, carry on and stay true to your values. The world needs you and the ideals you are bringing to the forefront of business and humanity.
LuRae Lumpkin bridges the leadership gap between millennials and established organizations to facilitate the change we need in the workplace and in the world. She helps millennials and those in leadership understand what they need to know to succeed together.
For business, I would love to help you facilitate the changes necessary for your team, organization or company. For the Millennial, I can help you make sense of what ‘is’ and how you can help facilitate and influence the change we need in business today.