How Are You Building Loyalty with Millennial Team Members?

Research shows that millennials, which represent the largest segment of the workforce in the United States, aren’t very loyal to their current employers. According to the executive summary of the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited’s Fifth Annual Millennial Survey, “Millennials, in general, express little loyalty to their current employers, and many are planning near-term exits.” What’s more, 44% say that if given the choice, they would leave their current organization within the next two years. Depending on the size of your business, and whether you hire a limited number of millennials or a lot of them, turnaround could be quite costly if you take that statistic to heart. The good news, however, is that “most young professionals choose organizations that share their personal values,” the summary states. This means it’s not too late for employers to get creative about how to overcome this “loyalty challenge.”

Suspect you’ve got some millennials who already have one foot out the door? Here are three ways to cultivate greater loyalty and keep them working longer for you:

  1. Invest in their professional development. When people feel empowered and valued for both who they are and their potential to become even better, they’re less likely to go somewhere else to seek out this kind of support. As we discuss in MAP’s recent book, “The Disciplined Leader,” start by making sure you’re aligning your workers strengths to their responsibilities and never overlook this strategy when it comes to your millennials. Next, note any gaps and opportunities for development and improvement, then provide appropriate training, education and mentorship that will address any shortcomings. Also, don’t just view these employees as they are today but for what many of them will become tomorrow: future leaders. Always use this lens to choose the right support and resources for these hires.
  2. Understand their values. In general, millennials want to feel their jobs and lives have a sense of meaning beyond sheer profitability. “Corporate values that are shared with and believed by Millennials also promote loyalty—particularly when employers demonstrate a strong sense of company purpose beyond financial success,” the study states. Also, “millennials intending to stay with their organizations for at least five years are far more likely than others to report a positive culture and focus on the needs of the individual.” No doubt, as a leader, you’ve got to make sure you’re sustaining a healthy bottom line for your organization. Yet performance, morale and productivity of your millennials will naturally become stronger if you’re also demonstrating a commitment to what they value (beyond money).
  3. Support their sense of control. It’s a crazy world, filled with countless uncertainties—and millennials get this. What’s more, their fears around this fact drive their desire to gain and sustain control of their worlds. Employees will feel more in control if they can trust their environment, those who are in it, and the strategies used to sustain it. Among a number of tactics for building trust: Be transparent and honest with your people, leading by example. Use accountability to measure performance and growth in a systematic, equitable manner. And honor your commitments, taking appropriate action or corrective action when necessary and following through with your promises. These and many other methods for building trust will nurture cultures in which people will feel safe and empowered, which will accelerate their feelings of being and staying in control of their lives.

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