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Building a millennial flytrap – attracting and retaining the next generation of workers


Millennials have never been more important to Australian companies than today. In fact by 2020, millennials are expected to make up half of the Australian workforce, with their numbers set to reach 75 per cent by 2025. With this in mind, what do business owners need to know about this generation?

Millennials are known to be adaptable, creative and impactful. From an employer view, they bring a unique set of skills and a different perspective to the workplace. Within my organisation, a senior executive is currently being reversed mentored by a millennial employee. Why? Because we’ve found that younger employees have become natural advocates for the brand.

With all this said, millennials are known to show little loyalty to their current employer. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016, 66 per cent of millennials expect to leave their organisation by the end of 2020.

This lack of loyalty to a specific company could potentially relate back to millennials feeling underutilised, believing they’re not being developed as leaders. Millennials have a strong connection to values, and need their managers to show interest in them as an individual.

Considering the above, businesses need to be mindful when it comes to recruiting millennials. Not only is the recruitment industry’s competitive nature growing, but the high turnover rate of millennials within the workforce can be potentially damaging to a business’ bottom line. With this in mind, it’s crucial for businesses to think about the best ways to recruit millennials, but more importantly, the best way to retain millennials.

  1. Provide appropriate growth opportunities

Like many of us, Millennials are known to look for jobs where there is maximum opportunity for career growth. More specifically however, this generation are looking for leadership skills as an addition to the skills that get the everyday jobs done. Millennials want to ensure that the company they are with are making an effort to build the next generation of business leaders. Ideally, employers should ensure there is significant time put side for coaching and mentoring their millennial employees, and developing their leadership skills.

  1. Offer flexible working arrangements

Flexible working is high on the list of priorities for millennials when it comes time to enter the workforce or move on to the next challenge. Millennials expect their jobs to be designed to accommodate their personal lives and needs. In return, businesses can expect increased levels of satisfaction and a boost in productivity from their employees.

With that said, flexible working isn’t just about working from home and leaving early on Fridays, businesses should go a step further and create initiatives that will ensure employees are not becoming bored in their repetitive daily work. This could include encouraging employees to choose an area of interest within the organisation (e.g. technology, recruitment,product development) and then connecting them with an employee from the relevant department who can mentor them.

Businesses that proactively accommodate the needs of millennials will reap the rewards in the long run. Not only will they retain their best talent, but they will also create a working environment where employees are motivated and feel appreciated.

  1. Encourage entrepreneurship

Millennials are known as the entrepreneur generation. This is a great quality that many employers are looking for, and one that can be fostered within a business. Businesses have an opportunity to provide a training ground for these entrepreneurial employees.

Allow your millennials to be entrepreneurs within your business. Those with the ‘entrepreneurial twitch’ need to feel that their employer is making full use of the skills they have to offer. Ideally, businesses should ensure there is significant time put aside to discuss new ideas and develop new strategies. Employers can capitalise on these conversations by providing millennials the opportunity to develop and implement new programs, products and ideas within the business.

There is no doubt that millennials are set to be an influential generation of workers in Australia, and moreover –  If businesses ignore millennials needs and working style, it’s most likely they’ll look elsewhere for a job role that provides the right opportunities and working environment. However, if they are put in a position to succeed, they have the characteristics that can prove to be incredibly rewarding for businesses.

About the author

Alla Keogh is Head of People and Performance at business software company MYOB.