At Talent Tap we are in the trenches every day speaking with super-stars who are looking for new employment as well as companies who are looking for that top-tier hire.

Every week we work with hiring managers who are looking for better ways to lead, engage, and retain their young staff…members of the “Millennial” generation.

I’m what you would call a “Gen Xer.”

And while I hate labels like that, it does make it a bit easier to speak about an entire generation.  It’s true that every generation has unique values, perspectives, and ideals – all shaped by the times they grew up in and who raised them.  But when they grew up shouldn’t lump them into the “challenging” category.  Instead, maybe it’s best to challenge your organization’s thoughts on fostering employee engagement and retention.

If you’re looking to hold onto to the brightest of early-career stars, there are a few things that your company may want to consider:

  1. Manage from people’s strengths, not their weaknesses.  Celebrate accomplishments and work together to improve where goals have fallen short.  Millennials want to be rewarded for accomplishing their goals.  If they don’t feel valued, they’ll be moving on and leaving you short handed and coping with the expensive price of turnover.
  2. Generally, super-talented people early in their career are more attracted to small businesses and start-ups.  On the surface, it’s the flexible work schedules that do the trick, but if you dig a bit deeper it proves to be the more outcome driven management style that eschews office politics.  Consider pairing their drive with technology that allows for a looser work schedule…and please, keep office drama to a minimum.
  3. Almost everyone wants a seat at the table when it comes to being a part of the organization while far fewer want to be treated as if they are nothing more than cogs in a much larger machine.  Many Millennials favor companies that are either employee owned or have some element of profit sharing.  Begin making the talent that you’ve attracted part of key organizational decisions if you want to begin seeing positive returns on your investment.
  4. Once you’ve got the talent, grow the talent within your organization – foster a strong promotion-from-within culture.  There are just not enough of us Gen Xers to fill all of the needed leadership positions that exist, especially as members of the Boomer generation begin to retire.  Enable super-stars to grow their career with you and not a competitor.

I know, I know…these are four pretty high-level ideas about making your company culture “sticky”, but you’ve got to start somewhere and it should be with the group of employees who are most likely to seek employment elsewhere when they aren’t satisfied.

Keep coming back and we’ll begin digging deeper on other ways to help create a solid culture for your talent.