Solving the Professional Service Industry’s Millennial Challenge.

Houston, we, the professional service industry, have a Millennial problem. Millennials can expect their initial years in the industry to involve “paying their dues” through unengaging grunt work and brutal work hours with few opportunities for professional growth or training. The reward for surviving those monotonous early years is greater earning potential later in their careers.

Or, said another way, the professional service industry offers the exact opposite of what we know Millennials want from their careers.

And it is costing the industry millions of dollars every year.

On average, Millennials leave their employers after only two years on the job. This is wildly expensive for companies and leaves them with no talent in the pipeline to groom for future success in the industry. Though professional service companies must own some of the blame for their lack of appeal to Millennials, the issue is complex and it isn’t all the fault of the professional service industry itself.  So what is really going on with professional Millennials and what can be done about it?

To Invest or Not to Invest in Training for Millennial Talent

Millennial turnover is no small problem. For mid to large professional service companies, a high rate of turnover costs millions of dollars in direct and indirect costs.  

Employers are understandably frustrated. They feel that Millennials are graduating college without the necessary skills to succeed as professionals. Employers could close that gap by investing in training and professional development. But out of fear their young talent will leave anyway, they hesitate to invest in proper training and professional development opportunities.

This has created an endless negative cycle. Millennials don’t receive the training opportunities they value forcing them to look elsewhere for opportunities where they can learn and grow. This gives them a reputation for job-hopping, making employers even more hesitant to invest the time and money to train their young staff.

This is already playing out in law firms, which some think will be forced to break apart over the next decade due to a lack of up and coming talent to hand established firms over to after longstanding Boomer partners retire.

For companies, Millennials are an expensive and seemingly unfixable problem. But they are not alone: Millennials think the situation is hopeless as well.

Why Are Millennials Leaving?

We know that Millennials value work that is meaningful, provides opportunities to learn and allows them to make an impact in areas that they are passionate about. Yet, professional service companies continue their tradition of giving young talent long hours, dull work, a lack of opportunities to make a significant impact, and limited opportunities to work in areas of interest.

Millennials also rank salary below training and schedule flexibility when it comes to workplace perks. Yet, most companies continue to pay high salaries, are unbudging when it comes to flexible work hours, skimp on providing valuable professional development opportunities, and then throw up their hands in exasperation when their Millennials walk out on them.  

It really should not come as a surprise that Millennials are quick to leave the professional service industry given that companies have shown little willingness to cater to the needs and wants of Millennial talent. Senior Boomer staff who have spent their lives working their way up the industry hierarchy will exclaim that this is how it has always been! These Millennials need to toughen up!

This is a losing mentality for individual companies and the industry as a whole.

The professional service industry simply cannot afford to pass up on entire generations of talent because of an unwillingness to adapt to the needs of up and coming talent. Just like in any other industry, companies can (and must) make small adjustments to how they operate and invest in young, up-and-coming talent.  

How The Professional Service Industry Can Retain Millennial Talent

If current trends continue, many companies in the next decade are going to be forced to deal with a shallow talent pool as the most talented Millennials become frustrated and move on to other more Millennial-focused industries. Thankfully, there are practical strategies that companies can use to satisfy Millennial’s professional development needs, keep them engaged in their work and increase the likelihood that they stick around long enough for companies to see a return on their investment in young talent.

Pay Less and Train More

This bears repeating: professional development opportunities are the number one workplace perk among Millennials across all industries. It is possible for companies to invest more in training and decrease their risk of losing that investment simultaneously. To do this, some companies are lowering starting salaries and offering an increased emphasis on training opportunities as a perk to attract young talent.

At the end of the day, indulging Millennials in their desire for professional development is hugely beneficial for companies. Providing training helps close the skills gap, increases Millennial retention rates, lowers turnovers costs, and helps attract top talent that companies can groom for success in the industry.       

Alternative Career Paths

Not everyone needs to pop champagne on a private jet to feel fulfilled by their career. Companies need to provide alternative career paths for Millennials who may not be striving to summit the peak of the industry in terms of money and status, but who are more than capable of bringing value and passion to an organization.  

Creating alternative career paths often involves offering more diverse positions than were previously available. These new roles provide more opportunities for Millennials to focus on areas of the industry that interest them most and where they feel they can make the biggest impact. This is a draw to Millennials, even if that means they will be working for a lower salary. These alternative career paths may not offer the glitz and glamour of “making partner”, but they allow companies to appeal to a more diverse group of young talent and benefit from the value and passion they bring.

Adopt More Progressive Work Policies

No one is suggesting axing professional dress codes or adding ping pong tables and craft peer as office perks. But the service industry needs to begin to admit that if it is going to succeed, it needs to come out of the 1960s. That includes making greater efforts of inclusion, supporting greater work hour flexibility, and continued integration of digital and online tools that improve the experience of both the young staff and the company’s clients. The industry doesn’t need to be turned on its head, but it does need to work towards reflecting the world that its associates and clients live in.

The next decade is going to be critical for the  professional service industry. Gen Z, the generation after Millennials, has the job market in its sights, and the talent in Gen Z is going have similar expectations about the workplace as their slightly older Millennial colleagues. The professional service industry needs the best and brightest to succeed, but if it does not begin to evolve to appeal to young talent, it is going to be left fighting over the leftovers of the talent pool.

And for industry built around professionals, that is a scary thought.

The “M” Word (Millennial): Reverse Ageism at its worst…

We know that making sweeping generalizations about any group of people being “lazy,” “unprofessional,” “unreliable,” or “narcissistic” is repugnant. Unless we are talking about the dreaded “M” word,  Millennials. Then, apparently, it’s okay.    

After years of having their generation smeared by Baby Boomers, Gen X, and the media, Millennials are perceived negatively as professionals at first glance.

Millennials often enter a workplace climate in which it is okay to make negative assumptions about the quality of work they can produce, the professionalism they will display, and their dedication to their job.

It is called Reverse Ageism and it presents a serious hurdle to young talent in your office no matter how capable they actually are.

And the problem is not cost-free. The impact of these negative stereotypes contributes to high turnover rates of Millennials, costing the US economy billions of dollars every year and negatively impact the productivity and culture of individual organizations.  For an organization with 50,000 employees, 40% of which are Millennials, this can be a billion dollar problem annually – billion with a B.

With generational tensions already high, it is important to understand the extent of the negative stereotyping of Millennial professionals and how you can help rid your workplace of Reverse Ageism.

The Problem of Reverse Ageism

Regular stereotyping of Millennial workers in pop culture and offices alike has led to socially acceptable age-discrimination against younger staff. According to a report titled  Discriminating Against Millennials in the Workplace Analysis on Age Discrimination Against Young Adults, Millennials face a perception in the workplace from older staff of being “entitled, hard to train, and uncommitted to their position of employment.”

And this perception has real ramifications for the young talent in your office.

In their paper Too Old or Too Young? The Impact of Perceived Age Discrimination, authors Ed Snape and Tom Redman cite a study which found that “being seen as untrustworthy and being given less responsibility were common” among undergraduate business students. And that is if they are hired at all; experts now cite a hesitancy in employers over hiring younger staff.

Even worse, this is happening at the beginning of Millennial’s careers, right when they need opportunities to learn, develop, and hone their professional skills the most. But too often they are never given those opportunities, forcing them to leave their employer —re-confirming the ‘job-hunting’ stereotype— and continuing the negative cycle at their next job.  

Reverse Ageism Is a Million Dollar Problem for Companies

Ageism isn’t just a bummer deal for Millennials. If you are a mid to large sized company, reverse ageism could potentially be costing you millions of dollars, your most productive employees, and ruining your company culture.

On average, Millennials stay in a role for 1.3 years, which Gallup estimates costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. That’s a ton of coin.

And money isn’t the only loss for companies. Recruitment costs, onboarding costs, loss of productivity from watching colleagues leave, and lower productivity of new hires all negatively affect a company, its culture and its bottom line. Not to mention these young staff that are leaving are often more productive than senior staff and almost universally less expensive to hire, hurting your bottom line even further.

These are real costs to your company, but they are fixable. They require thought, time, investment and a commitment to emphasizing the strengths of your Millennial staff and helping the five generations working together today to bridge the gaps between them and leverage their unique strengths.

Millennials Have Unique Gifts and Gaps

Unlike the other four generations in the workplace, Millennials have a unique set of talents and disadvantages: what they may lack in interpersonal skills they make up for in fast research through collaboration, for example.  They have real strengths as employees. It is certainly true that they may not have the industry knowledge of a 30-year veteran, but that doesn’t mean they can’t bring powerful value to your organization.

For one, while it may be true Millennials lack some essential professional skills, they are happier than any other generation to develop and hone their skills given the chance. Gallup found that 87% of Millennials believe “development is important in a job” and development opportunities regularly score higher than pay when Millennials rank the benefits of a job.

Millennials are also fantastic when it comes to problem solving using technology, are very strong collaborators, and are professionally curious. The point being, while they may not be walking into your office on the first day of work as perfectly polished professionals, they have the eagerness and desire to learn that should allow you to sculpt them into the exact type professional you think will thrive in your organization.

The catch is that they know when they are liked, wanted, respected and valued.

Investment really is the key. Employers who want to put a stop to both the generational tensions in their office and the high turnover rate of Millennials need to take the time to train the enterprise to bridge generational gaps. That process starts with providing Millennials with the training opportunities that develop their professional skills and make them feel that they are valued in the workplace and gives them a sense of progressing as professionals.

We suspect you might even be surprised by what they can do.  

The 4 Top Solutions for Retaining Millennial Employees: Teach, Learn, Listen, and Guide

As a coach of CEOs and business leaders on how to retain Millennial talent, I am often presented with the same problem: in a desperate attempt to appeal to their Millennial staff, business owners buy Ping Pong tables, kegs of craft beer for the office kitchen, free food, or setup an Xbox in their office common area.

And low and behold their Millennial staff continue to walk out on them, but why?.  

Senior or seasoned staff see this generation of 20-30 somethings as being vastly different than any generation that came before them. They complain of Millennial’s need to be taught industry skills, their laziness, their incessant attempts to have their ideas heard, their utopian ideas about work life balance and their peculiar craving for a sense of professional progression.  

Nonetheless, the great Millennial secret is that they are more similar to every other generation of young and ambitious people throughout history.    

Universally, what Millennials want is to be taught what they don’t know so they can grow and progress. They want the chance to teach others to help improve those around them. When they speak, they want to be heard and valued. And they want guidance on how to be successful from people who have already walked the path they’re embarking on.

There is no mystery there.

Recognizing this similarity between Millennials and all generations is the easy part. The real solution  to retaining your millennial talent is easier said than done and comes in establishing an intergenerational office culture founded on teaching, learning, listening and guidance. Here’s why and how:

 

Teaching Millennials Benefits All Generations   

PayScale’s 2016 Workforce Report revealed a stark contrast between Millennial’s perception of their preparedness for their job and that of their senior (and older) hiring managers. PayScale’s report showed that 87% of Millennials thought they were prepared for their job, while only 50% of managers felt their Millennial staff were prepared.

While managers are quick to pick up on Millennial’s unpreparedness, “they should just know it, the thinking goes, because the senior folks all learned it themselves.” Can you say …bull….

Nonetheless, they seem to turn a blind eye to a far more important Millennial characteristic: their desire for professional development opportunities.

According to PWC’s Millennials at Work Reshaping the Workplace Report, professional development is “…their first choice benefit from employers,” ranking above flexible hours and pay.

To begin developing a teaching culture, you need to ask yourself honestly: do your Millennial employees have regular opportunities to work with and learn from your senior staff?

If the answer is no, the time to start creating those learning opportunities for Millennials is now.

For senior staff, it means building a rapport and genuine relationship with their younger staff, a chance to pass on their expertise, and the chance to help the younger generation progress professionally.

For Millennials, mentorship opportunities provide a sense that their team and company are invested in them. Mentorships are a chance for younger talent to learn from the wisdom of those with decades of experience in their industry, to improve their skills in the areas they are lacking, and provide a sense of professional progress.

According to the data, if you want loyalty from Millennials, you have to provide them these opportunities to learn and grow professionally. This is a savvy and ambitious generation. Their hunger to learn and grow needs be fed by employers. Otherwise, Millennials are happy to pack up and find opportunities to develop their skills elsewhere.  

 

You’ve Got a Lot to Learn From Millennials

Though older generations may only view Millennials as 50% prepared for the workplace, that 50% can be incredibly valuable to senior staff who now face a strange and intimidating new landscape where email is seen as being a bit outdated and popular trends change on a dime.

Thankfully for senior staff, their Millennial colleagues present a unique learning opportunity on how to operate in the digital age.

From more efficient in-office communication tools, to new platforms to exploit, to understanding the ideas, motivations and mindset of 83  million of their fellow Millennials, the younger generation has a lot to teach the seasoned professionals in the office.

And Millennials want to teach.

They are aware that in the complex digital age, it is only those that innovate, adapt and evolve that survive. Millennial complaints about antiquated meeting schedules or dated sales tactics don’t come from a sense of entitlement; they come from a sense of urgency. They have taken part in the digital age since they were born. They know how fast the world moves. And they want you and your organization to keep up.

The reward for senior staff who take the time to learn from them? A crash course in the latest trends, tools, and platforms, in addition to that much sought after millennial loyalty.

But to learn, senior staff first have to be willing to listen.  

 

For Millennials, To Be Heard is to Be Valued

Millennial workers overwhelmingly enjoy working with the other older generations. In the same PWC study, 76% of Millennials said that they enjoyed working with “older senior management” and only 4% disagreed. It isn’t about being needy or entitled. Millennials want the opportunity to have their ideas heard, to get feedback on those ideas from senior staff, and to feel valued by the companies they work for.

And senior or seasoned staff may do well by listening.

Millennials are responsible for many of the recent positive trends in workplace environments. They facilitate more collaborative work environments, introduce communication tools that limit the need for inefficient meetings, emphasize the importance of having a sense of purpose at work, and have made CSR an essential company perk.  

They also represent a huge chunk of the US economy, “spending more than $650 billion each year and influencing upward of $1 trillion in total consumer spending.” Listening to how they think, the things they like, and the values they hold can help senior staff with decisions on everything from marketing strategies to product design.  

Start Doing This to Benefit from Millennial Engagement

Engagement. Engagement. Engagement.

It’s all the hype these days, especially with the workplace changing and remote working situations on the rise. And rightfully so.

A five-point increase in employee engagement is linked to a 3% growth in revenue, according to a recent report by Aon. The study also revealed that global employee engagement levels dropped for the first time in five years. This isn’t good for businesses. As engagement falls, so does financial performance.

This isn’t due to a lack of engagements surveys and information. We spend at least $1B a year on employee engagement surveys.[1] Yet accordingly to Forbes, most companies say they aren’t getting the value they want.  The Workplace Genome Project estimates that 40% of HR professionals rarely do anything meaningful with engagement data results. Why?

Because these studies don’t measure underlying, root causes. These studies measure symptoms and outcomes. So, while the data may be interesting, it gives no insight into where a problem should be addressed, or what to do about it. Engagement doesn’t necessarily mean employee satisfaction. However, by understanding your millennial employees and getting to know them, you can engage them in ways that lead to feeling satisfied in the workplace.

According to research by the Teleos Leadership Institute, employees want 3 things:

  1. A meaningful vision of the future
  2. A sense of purpose
  3. Great relationships

An effective system of monitoring employee engagement will measure all 3 of these components. There are a lot of different factors and data points that can be analyzed and dissected. You want to make sure you are measuring the ones that are relevant and have a direct relationship with your employee engagement. Gallup has what they call the Q12 to measure engagement which include the following questions:

  • I know what is expected of me at work.
  • At work, my opinions seem to count.
  • I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  • The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  • At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  • My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  • In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • I have a best friend at work.
  • My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  • In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  • There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  • This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Once you understand engagement levels, you can then work to improve them. The only way to do that is by understanding your millennials employees, and what specific strategies lead to better engagement. Here are some strategies that will improve millennial employee engagement.

Ask Tough Questions to Understand Your Millennials

While perks and benefits may appeal to millennials, by themselves they will not engage and keep them over a long period of time. From the day you interview your millennial employees and onward, be proactive. Ask them questions in order to understand what drives them personally. Why does this matter?

Knowing what motivates or demoralizes certain employees allows you to create an ideal workplace environment and keep an eye on your employees. You can be strategic in what tasks you give to who, how often you show appreciation, whether or not to give them tough love, and when give them more space. Some of your millennials may value flexible hours over pay, while others are more motivated by commission opportunities. You can increase engagement among your millennial employees by asking tough questions. Learn what drives them.

Some examples of questions to ask are:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • Do you prefer working in a structured, or more casual environment?
  • Where do you think you can add the most value?
  • What are your goals?

Provide Feedback on a Regular Basis

Performance management and senior leadership were the two weakest engagement points for companies in North America, according to Aon’s 2017 Trends in Global Employee Engagement. Focus on improving these “weak points” by improving your communication with millennial employees. Consider designing a system or schedule to ensure you are proactive in engaging with your millennials. A feedback strategy is a great way to stay updated with your millennials. By doing this, you can better recognize pain points and solve them, address certain needs, and more.

Leadership and management can be improved by providing consistent feedback to your millennials. A feedback strategy will make it 10 x easier. This isn’t to say you will only engage with them when your schedule says too. However, it will help you stay relevant and engaged in your relationships, which will therefore improve your leadership and management, which will improve engagement.

Data is useless if you don’t know what it means, or don’t know what to do with it. Understand that millennial engagement in the workplace is directly correlated with revenue growth. Make an effort to engage your millennials by measuring the aspects of engagement that matter most. Learn about what drives your millennials. Get to know them by asking tough questions. Communicate with them on a regular basis. Be strategic and create a feedback system to make sure you’re on top of it. By focusing on your millennial engagement, your company will benefit.

 

[1] http://www.workxo.com/blog/post/177-engagement-not-about-how-you-work

5 Quick Ways to Keep Millennials by Compensating Them the Way they want to be Compensated

The workplace in 2017 is changing at lightning speed. Millennials play a huge role in the major shift that is happening. The way companies conduct business is drastically different than just a decade ago. Millennials, who currently make up half of the workplace, are estimated to be 75% of the working economy in the next eight years.

An eye-opening research study by HUB International called, The Essential Guide to Compensation and Performance Practices: The Millennial Influence, illustrates important findings about what drives this generation.

Why does this matter to you? And how does this affect your company?

If you want to stay relevant, profitable, and affect change, understanding how millennials perform and how they want to be compensated matters…a lot. After looking at the key findings, we highlighted the top 5 ways to compensate millennials based on the success and feedback we’ve received at Launchbox working with over 5,000 millennials. Here they are:

1. Have Competitive Base Pay

Compensation matters to all employees, regardless of age. However, traditional compensation programs don’t motivate millennials. 68% of millennials strongly agree that their company “pays for the value and results I being to the company.”

Millennials actually want to be paid based on the value they bring. A compensation plan that includes value-based increases, instead of annual merit increases, is much more appealing to millennials. 60% of millennials say competitive base pay is the #1 factor for staying with their employer. If your company is not creating value-based incentives and compensation based on individual performance, your millennials will leave.

During our strengths and stories workshops, we hyper focus on how millennials can understand their strengths, improve upon them, and then communicate their value effectively in in WIFTthem (“What’s in it for them?”) fashion, so their employer understands the value they provide. As a millennial coach or manager, make it clear how your millennials can add value to your company, articulate it well, and therefore be paid more as a result.

2. Make Work Interesting and Challenging

Millennials are hungry for growth and development. They value career advancement, learning, and like to be challenged. Millennials, unlike previous generations, don’t see the value in merely “grinding it out” for years, and then rising to the op. They want to see a clear path to the top, and be engaged, challenged, and interested along the way.

As a millennial coach, you can create interesting and challenging work for your employees by tapping into their “intreprenuer.” Almost two-thirds of millennials wish to start their own business. They are hungry to innovate, and this can be a huge asset to any organization. Provide the structure so that millennials can experiment with new ideas and create new solutions within the company. A culture that promotes a healthy balance of structure, freedom, and feedback is attractive to millennials.

Working with thousands of millennials, we’ve found huge success in helping millennials learn to communicate their desire to innovate and improve certain areas in their company. As a manager in the workplace, make sure your millennials are comfortable coming forward with new ideas and feedback. After all, these ideas are will help your company succeed!

3. Show them a clear path to career advancement

It’s not enough to just tell millennials to work hard now and wait for success later. They need to know and be shown the opportunities available to them if you want them to stay with your company. Almost half of the HUB survey respondents said they were likely to leave their job within the next six months. The cost of this turnover is insane, and takes a heavy toll on your company.

A value-based compensation plan that rewards individual performance is a great way to appeal to millennials. It shows that they matter, and lets them understand that the sky is the limit. The more value they bring and communicate, the more money they earn. Then they get more responsibility, and more opportunities come their way. What business leader wouldn’t be excited by this?

4. Show the Connection Between Personal Impact and Success

Your millennials could be helping millions of people and earning your company millions of dollars. But if they aren’t seeing the connection between their results and the success, they will leave. Social impact and personal development are important to millennials. When they don’t feel the connection between the work they’re doing and the results they’re achieving, they feel dissatisfied. They start looking for other jobs. They leave

The cost of this disconnect and lack of engagement costs a whopping $30.5 billion to the U.S. economy.

Over half of millennials rated understanding how their own personal job directly impacts the success of the company as “very important.” Make sure your millennials can see the direct impact they are having in your company. By engaging your millennial employees in entertaining, challenging, and interesting work, they will find the purpose and challenge they are seeking. As a millennial coach, it’s up to YOU to make sure this happens…and make sure they know it’s happening.

5. Be Transparent about Compensation, Performance, and Feedback

Traditional compensation, annual merit increases, job/grade bands, and equity adjustments are NOT cutting it in 2017. As a leader in the workforce, you must change the formula if you want to succeed, and make it 100% clear to your millennials that they will be rewarded based on the value they bring to the company.

By having a transparent compensation and performance program in place from the get-go, you eliminate any confusion. Millennials need feedback. And they expect it quickly and in real time, just how they operate outside of work with social media. As a millennial expert, make it your job to engage with them regularly. Annual reviews won’t cut it. By having a clear plan in place, they will understand how their actions are direct related to their results, both personally (pay) and as a whole (company impact and success.)

Without frequent communication, millennial engagement levels drop to the floor. Over two thirds of millennials rank feedback directly from their manager as most valuable. Engagement plummets to 20% for millennials who don’t have regular meetings with their managers. As a millennial coach, make sure you are continuously engaging with your millennials and improving your relationship with them. Millennials want feedback in real time, not a month later. The quicker you can give them feedback, the better. Be real with them and give it to them straight. They appreciate tough love, as long as you show that you care.

The ways of the past aren’t working to engage and retain millennials in 2017. If you want to stay relevant, attract the top talent, and keep your successful millennial workers, compensate them the way they want to be compensated. Have competitive base pay. Have a clear compensation and performance plan in place from day one so millennials know they’ll be rewarded based on the value they bring to the company. Keep them engaged in challenging, interesting work by tapping into their “intreprenuer” and creating the space for them to excel within your company. Show them the exciting career path that lies ahead. Allow them to see and feel the impact they are directly having on both the company and the world. Be real. Be authentic. Communicate openly and often with your millennials. This is how you WIN and create kickass results.

How Can Your Company Brand Itself So Millennials Not Only Want to Work for Your Company, But Also Buy From It?

The days of stock tips on the golf course and ringing up brokers on the phone are long gone.

In the digital age, Millennials are swiping through apps and checking their digital devices not only for tips, but also for making actual investments. Growing up in the midst of the 2008 recession, millennials were wary of diving straight into investments. However, the rise of apps and social media tools has made the learning curve and ease of investing much less intimidating.

Robinhood, the almost free stock trading app, is incredibly popular among millennials. The app, which allows you to invest in publicly traded companies and exchange-traded funds listed on U.S. exchanges without paying a commission, gained a lot of attention recently due to Snap’s (parent company of Snapchat) recent IPO. Snap sold shares at $17 a piece in its IPO on March 1. The next day, on the first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the stock shot as high as $26.05.Trading activity on Robinhood skyrocketed by 50% on the day of Snap’s debut, with more than 40% of those who traded that day buying Snap shares. The median age of Snap shareholders on the platform? Just twenty-six years of age, the same age as Snap Chief Executive Evan Spiegel.

Millennials, who grew up with and love the instant, impermanent version of communication, are hungry for shares in one of their favorite apps, Snapchat. With over 158 million users (many being millennials) companies should start taking note of how millennials are investing in companies they admire, like Snapchat.

A recent Reuters article, featuring interviews with various millennials, revealed that for some millennial investors, loyalty is more important than financial details. The case of Snapchat is the perfect example.

Technology has bridged the gap, allowing millennials to feel more comfortable and intrigued by investing. A report in the Wall Street Journal revealed that over 30% of millennials surveyed say they are more loyal to brands that are relevant in terms of technology. Millennials can see through the BS of inauthenticity. They appreciate brands that stand for something, are up-to-date with technology, and show transparency.

How can your company brand itself so millennials not only want to work for your company, but also buy from it? Looking at the success of how Snapchat has swayed millennials and gained their trust, your business can emulate the following strategies.

Be Relevant

Millennials love Snapchat for many reasons: it’s familiar, it’s easy to use, and it’s relevant to how they communicate in 2017. Millennials have enormous faith in investing in Snapchat because of its prevalence in their every day life. A 29 year old HR consultant and investor in Snapchat explained, “There are a lot of companies I don’t know or recognize, but Snap, I use the product, and know everyone – my friends, my co-workers, even my parents – uses it.”[1]

Millennials have two paradigms, both equally as real: online and offline. Is your company prevalent in both worlds? If not, how can you find ways to increase your prevalence, and gain trust among millennials? Millennials spend three hours per day on their phones.[2] Today more than ever, companies must have a strong presence online (a.k.a social media.)

Shelby Seyrafi, manageing director at FBN Securities, reveals that “One of the non-fundamental reasons driving the stock is that many millennials purchased Snap shares at inflated levels due to their preference for the product. That is, not due to a real understanding of the number or valuation.”

How is your company seen from a millennial POV? Are you transparent and authentic in what you stand for, what you provide, and how you deliver? The Snapchat-millennial romance shows that you must deliver a great product or service that millennials appreciate. Speak and communicate in a way that they understand.

Communicate In Modern Times

Nontraditional work schedules are becoming more common as companies are embracing digital communication. The 24/7 constant communication is normal for millennials. As a millennial employer or vendor, understand that millennials aren’t “turned off” before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Utilize different mediums of communication.

Within your organization, consider apps like Slack, WhatsApp, or Zoom for communication. These apps allow for instant group and individual communication, minus the bore and turn-off of email. Be frequent in your interaction and engagement. Give feedback often, and make it brief, yet meaningful. Provide detailed instructions when needed.

When communicating to millennials as a brand, speak in the language they can understand. Emphasize what your company stands for; be transparent in the social impact you’re creating; be clear about your company values; and show how you nurture passion. By being authentic and providing a great product or service, you build trust. As Snapchat has shown, millennials are more willing to invest in companies they frequently use and trust.

Takeaway on Millennial Investing Trends and How Your Company Can Benefit

Apps and social media continue to play a huge role in the lives of millennials—and that includes how they invest. Millennials are more willing to invest in (and purchase products/services from) companies they trust and use frequently. As a company, make sure the way you communicate is relevant to millennials. Within your organization, use short, meaningful, impermanent methods of communication. Communicating your brand to millennials, be authentic, have a strong online presence, and make it clear what you stand for.

Want to learn more about how your company can bridge the generational divide in the workplace? We can help with that. Also, check out our most recent launchbox article, “A Short Lesson In Coaching Millennials How to Ask The Right Questions.”

 

 

 

 

[1] http://fortune.com/2017/03/12/millennils-buy-snapchat-stock/

[2] http://www.tnsglobal.com/us/press-release/tns-millenials_study_111915

How to Hire Millennials That Stay

Is it possible to hire millennials who don’t “bounce” in less than a year?

Millennials are job-hoppers, and are more likely than any other generation to move from company to company. A Gallup report revealed that 1 in 5 millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year alone.[1]  However, is it just youth?  And, if it is what can we do?

As a hiring manager or leader in the workforce, this is concerning. Not to mention that the U.S. Department of Labor estimates the price of a bad hire to be 30% of the employees first year earnings.[2] So what’s the deal? Are millennials disloyal, uncommitted and unappreciative? Maybe some millennials, yes, but how will adopting that mentality help your business? That’s right, it won’t.

As a millennial expert who has worked with thousands of millennials and organizations like Qualcomm, Intuit and KPMG, a common concern we hear from managers is how to hire the right millennial employees so that they’ll stay. It is a valid fear, and a question we receive all the time. After all, the millennial turnover costs the U.S economy over $30 billion annually.

So how do you know if a millennial will stay or leave? In some ways, it’s impossible to know. At launchbox, we shift the focus of the question: How do you hire millennials that stay? There are certain traits that, as a millennial coach, you should pay specific attention to during your hiring process. By using these three key attributes, you can weed out prospective millennial employees who will do more harm to your company than good, and thus retain the right millennials for your company.

1.) Use Your Own Millennials to Find the Right Millennials

The biggest challenge a manager faces is determining how to retain and engage millennials in the workplace. However, it starts with how you attract them. It starts with the millennial employees you have right now. There were probably a variety of factors involved that determined how your millennials wanted to work in your company: pay, company culture, benefits, work/life balance, social impact, opportunity for growth, etc. Engage with your current successful millennial employees and have them play a part in recruiting more millennial talent who will stay the course.

Like attracts like. Use your millennials to find the right millennials. Encourage your millennials to use referrals to find the right friends that will fit right into your company culture. This will accomplish two great goals: 1.) You will attract the same type of employees who are already doing an awesome job 2.) You will actively involve your current millennial employees in the hiring process, creating better engagement and involvement within your company and eventually culture.

2.) Be Smart: Ask Really Tough Questions Before They Start

If your current hiring process is a breeze, what kind of millennials do you think will end up working for you? In order to attract talented millennials who align with your culture and values, ask tough questions during hiring interviews and test the character and personality of your potential employees.

Create role-play scenarios that don’t have black and white answers. For example, frame a situation where an important presentation is due for the company on a Friday morning, yet Maroon 5 is performing Thursday night and “everyone is going.” Ask your millennial, “What would you do?” See how they manage their work/life balance. Maybe they find a way to balance both. Maybe they choose one, over the other. Either way, create a tough role-play situation where you can test the values, work ethic, and character of your potential millennial employees.

Ask them why they want the job. Other than expected answers (i.e. pay), do they have an intrinsic motivator for the job or in life? Do they have a passion, belief, or familial tie that overlaps with your company’s mission? Most will be pretty honest with you and if not, work harder at asking tough questions. Make an effort to get potential millennial hires to open up and reveal their true colors. Obviously it’s an interview, so they will be putting on the best version of themselves. Make an effort to really know them and test them.

3.) Be 100% Transparent

Does your company have freedom and flexibility options for employees? For example, can millennials work from home 1-2 days a week? Is attending weekly Wednesday meetings a non-negotiable? There are certain things you and your company will not tolerate. Let them know. If the millennial is turned off, great! You’re not avoiding future conflict and a quick turnover by weeding out someone who won’t fit the company culture. And likewise, be transparent about what your company does allow, that maybe other companies don’t. Whether it’s cool travel opportunities, yearly summits, internal innovation ideas, etc., let them know upfront.

 

By being 100% transparent, you will attract the right millennial employees who want to stay at your company. The more authentic you are in your hiring process, the more authentic the relationship will be with future employees. As a millennial coach, you set the tone. By representing your company’ authentic self and culture during the hiring process, you will be sure to attract and hire millennials that stay.

The cost of replacing a millennial employees range, typically from $15,000 – $20,000 and that is for a non-technical position.[3] Imagine what you could do with that money, investing it into the growth and improvement of your company, instead of having to constantly hire new employees. As a millennial guide and mentor, you have a secret weapon: your current, talented millennial employees, Use them for referrals to attract their friends. And when you begin interviews, ask the tough, uncomfortable questions. Test your millennials by putting them on the spot with role-play scenarios. Make them sweat a little and ask questions designed to gage their work ethic, internal drive to be at your company, values, and beliefs. Be 100% transparent about your company and culture, what you stand for, and what you will and will not tolerate. This way, you will weed out the wrong millennial candidates and attract the right fit for your company.

Just because millennials are dubbed as job-hoppers doesn’t mean that has to be the case for your company. You can hire the right millennials that stay. Be authentic, engage your current millennials to attract their friends, and ask tough questions

Looking to bridge the generational divide in the workplace and engage your millennials? Check out the recent Launchbox article, “Could Good-ole Fashioned Millennial Parenting Techniques Pave the New Way to Coach Millennial Employees?”

 

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/191459/millennials-job-hopping-generation.aspx

[2] http://www.humanresourcesiq.com/hr-talent-aquisition/articles/what-s-the-real-cost-of-a-bad-hire

[3] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253605