The Key To Retaining Promising Young Employees

The key to retaining young employees is not offering them cash bonuses, but ensuring they have effective mentors. In a study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, millennials cited training, development and mentorship higher than cash bonuses in terms of benefits. Helping promising, young employees with effective career management is not only important, it is necessary in order to retain them.

The reasoning behind their choices can be explained by the way Generation Y employees judge organizations. Generation Y employees often measure successful organizations by their social media presence, innovative technology and organizational structure rather than the compensation an employee might be offered. Therefore, more traditional methods of motivation such as cash bonuses or salary raises do not have as much of an effect on young employees as they did in the past. Young employees value change and excitement in their professional life, and as many as one in four new employees will switch careers within the first twelve months of their professional life.

 Consider Mentorship over Money

Young professionals are seeking more than just a job. Generation Y professionals prefer mutual interests over structured hierarchies. This isn’t to say that young professionals don’t value leadership and loyalty – they just might not value authority as the Baby Boomers did. Young professionals thrive in a passionate environment with other motivated, driven professionals, regardless of rank. In this sense, mentorship, rather than financial compensation is the key to training and energizing young employees. Young employees don’t want a job that pays, they want to be a valued member of a passionate team of professionals. Mentorship doesn’t necessarily mean an older employee, it just means someone with experience that acts as an adviser. Often times, someone on the same level can even act as an effective teacher.

Reconsider Reward Strategies

The days of putting in hours to get noticed are gone. Young professionals don’t need to be putting in face time at the office to prove they are productive. After all, Generation Y have grown up online, and always connected. Productivity can occur from a mobile phone. In other words, Generation Y employees live in the now, not ten years from now. Offering a Gen Y employee a ten year compensation/promotion plan isn’t the best incentive if they have other opportunities and offers that are more attractive in the short term. Consider a shorter timeframe with a variety of promotional benefits; instead of a lump sum at the end of a period, consider smaller, unique rewards along the way.

Be Aware That Gen Ys Are Growing Up Later

Remember the days when business owners married at 21, sold their firms at age 24, and had kids at 25? Not anymore. Generation Y employees are growing up later – they move out of their parents’ house later, get married later (if ever) and divorce earlier and more often. Baby boomers spent decades climbing the corporate ladder while Gen Ys spend this time in university and masters programs. Young professionals might not enter their first career until their thirties. In other words, employers should be accepting of this generation gap, not adverse to it. In developing a career management plan, employers should embrace the fact that Gen Ys are more educated, rather than focusing on their age.

Career management is increasingly important when retaining potentially fleeting young employees. Developing a successful career plan is the first step in retention. Employers should consider these alternative approaches valuable, not different. Accommodating these differences will return tenfold – Generation Y employees have proven to be the most loyal generation yet.

(c) 2013 Human Resources Global Ltd.

Human Resources Global Ltd. is an international Human Resources Consultancy which offers tailor-made packages to meet individuals goals.  Email Nicole Le Maire at [email protected]


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