Millennial Management: How might employers retain talent? First, understand their needs

Shared by B Lab Hong Kong & Macau

Every era has a problem of generational change, and a new generation has always said that the ideas of the previous generation are old-fashioned, and the older generation will say that today’s young people are hard to accept. But in any case, as baby boomers retire, millennials in Hong Kong and around the globe begin to grow in the workforce. In order to attract or retain a new generation of talent, they must also be understood before they can remain competitive and develop.

Baby boomers are the most active generation in the current workforce, and their advantages include being organized, optimistic and accepting of long hours rather than teamwork. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, on the other hand, clearly have a very different work pattern and lifestyle.

With a well-educated, confident, high expectation of themselves and a greater emphasis on teamwork than individualism, millennials like to seek new challenges, and it is more important to maintain a work-life balance, a model they believe will enable them to be curious and creative about the things around them, thereby maintaining good physical and mental health and work.

In addition, millennials yearn for social interaction and attention to the results of their work in the hopes of making rapid progress. But baby boomers often see these mindsets as shortcomings. In response to the millennial mentality, employers need to change the way they treat their employees in the past to attract, nurture, and retain those who are valuable to the present or the future.

What strategies may employers employ to manage millennials? 

Make room for innovation

Millennials are changing the way they work and want to solve problems in innovative ways. At the same time, they expect these ideas to be accepted by top management, but the previous generation has established a model that makes it difficult for millennials to develop its advantages. In order for a new generation to have enough workspace, employers or senior management can try to communicate more with them, understand their ideas, and give a chance to their opinions to flourish in freedom. This approach will make millennials feel respected, deepening their sense of belonging to attract them to stay in the company. It is important for employers to remember that getting things right isn’t as important as trying.

Provide clear, flexible guidance
Millennials are eager to make rapid progress, but because of their shallow experience, clear guidance is needed to determine exactly which areas can be improved. As a new person in the workplace, there may be few mistakes at work. Employers need to be more clear, specific, and effective in guiding millennials, with both positive and negative reinforcement, to avoid misunderstandings. It is important to make them more aware of what needs to be improved and make progress in a clear direction.

Adopt generation-suitable strategies
People have different ages, and each age has different imaginations about work. These differences have a direct impact on the company’s participation. Employees should develop different strategies for groups of employees of different ages, whether they are millennials, Gen Z, or Baby Boomers. This approach allows cross-generational employees to become more involved in their work and feel that employers are doing their best to improve results.

Increased transparency
At all levels, employers need to identify the company’s operations and results to individual employees. Millennials have the option to let employees know more about their work and what they want to do to make matters transparent. Companies can create various feedback system and channels to share opinions and ideas openly. Open forums, presentations, classroom learnings make space for employees and employers to come together and exchange information and news. 

In short, as long as the company can show employees that they understand the differences between ages and take different actions to show respect, this will effectively help retain talent. The B Corp governance structure provides millennials the opportunities for growth. For more information, please see some of the guidelines for protecting workers here.

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Shared by B Lab Hong Kong & Macau

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