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Why Gen Y’s Are Leaving Good Companies And How To Keep Them Longer

July 19, 2017

In the past week I have had conversations with leaders in companies in industries ranging from legal to finance to healthcare and every single leader lamented to me that they were going through a period of many Millenials/ Gen Y’s leaving their company.

In the case of the legal firm they had over eight Millenial lawyers leave them in the last year to go to a competitors firm. Given that the legal firm had invested in training and mentoring of their Millenial lawyers the leadership team was very concerned. And they should be! Statistically most Millenials/Gen Y’s will stay with a company for an average of three years and that’s if they like the culture of the company, they like their leaders and they have work life balance.

When Millenials/Gen Y’s find themselves in companies that give lip service to work life balance but do not provide opportunities for employees to ‘have a life’ Millenials/Gen Y’s will most definitely look for opportunities elsewhere.

The legal industry is an example of an industry that traditionally rewards long hours, and many years to make partner which can create challenges for Millenials who want to have more freedom and flexibility over schedules, work flow and future potential.

If you tell a Millenial that he or she have to work the long hours and put in the many years to get to a level of success often a Millenial will ‘check out’. Its not that the Gen Y’s/Millenials are lazy (they resent this generalization – they just don’t see why working longer hours equates to working harder).

Here’s how good companies can keep their GREAT Millenials/Gen Y’s longer than three years:

  • Focus on the structures of employee work and compensation (Millenials in law firms and financial firms do not like or understand the benefits of billable hours)
  • Survey and ask your Millenial/Gen Y employees for their ideas on how to structure the workplace in a way that would increase engagement for all employees
  • Set up reverse mentoring as a strategy for getting information from Millenial employees directly to senior executive and senior leadership levels
  • Provide relevant leadership training to all leaders – non traditional leadership training focused on future of work and being future ready will help shift culture from traditional leadership approach to relevant to future leadership approach
  • Set up ‘red flag’ systems for leaders to notice when employees are ‘checking out’ which is a sign that he or she may be talking to recruiters or is being head hunted for a new opportunity
  • Frequent performance discussions are far more impactful than the traditional annual performance review – real time performance measurement is the ideal and catches any challenges with employee satisfaction early
  • Focus on the worker experience – happy employees lead to happy customers – does your company have the most up to date technology to help employees do their best job?
  • Conduct exit interviews for all employees and use the information to make changes – communicate to employees that you are open to their ideas and reward ideas

There is an urgency right now to be future of work ready – often its not until a company loses a number of top performers that they look at what they could be doing differently. The time to be future ready is now – the time to be ready to lead changes that challenge the traditional approaches is now.

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