Friday, October 9, 2015

Keeping A Millennial: What does it take?

I was talking with a friend of mine recently about the lack of longevity in our generation.  While the baby boomers are still fond of long-term marriages and jobs, the millennial generation is known for experience based retention.  Millennials tend to leave a bad situation over staying and finding alternative solutions to their needs. 

Let’s think for a moment, besides family members, what is your longest relationship that you currently have in your life?  Sorry guys, relationships with your cat don’t count.  According to Siri and her link to Time Magazine, the average marriage in 2015 has a 57% success rate and divorce rates are moving in the upwards of 70% if you are in a remarriage.  In my own circle of friends, I know only a few couples that have made it to the six year mark, and none of them are thinking about getting married.  The majority of them can be found dating people off and on throughout the year with no real commitment in site.  Even more so, open relationships have become the trend of our generation and the idea of settling down tends to cause us to break out into hives and run for the nearest pub for a beer to wash the taste of commitment out of our mouths.

In the work force, millennials on average will stay on about 4.6 years before moving on to their next opportunity.  While the perception is that millennials are impatient and flighty, it is actually the opposite.  This generation has been raised on instant gratification, but they are not above hard work to meet important goals.  What the millennial employee is looking for is the engagement.  They want to work on something meaningful and worthy of praise, while maintaining the need to have the equal balanced personal life as well.  Because they live in a state of constant engagement, the need to disconnect becomes a need for most millennials.  The down time allows for them to process each activity and even allows for new ideas to formulate without feeling over stimulated.

What makes a millennial so different from the rest of the world; everything.  While earlier generations were raised on Boy/Girl scout outdoor activities, nightly family dinners and Lawrence Welk on the black and white, millennial were raised on Apple computers, iPads, smart phones and google glasses.  Their generation knew how to code before they could comb their own hair. They don’t use Thomas Guides to figure out how to get from point A to point B, they have Siri, who can tell them to turn left at the light, while sounding like Yoda or even Gordon Ramsey, should they choose to enjoy the verbal abuse while taking that left.

The millennial are all about options and opportunity.  They want to be part of something big, and feel like their voice matters in the big picture.  That can be applied to both personal and work situations.  In their personal relationships, the millennial are searching for that feeling of wholeness while maintaining their separateness.  In the workplace, they search for an exchange of energies and ideas to create meaningful action.  Millennials are never satisfied by just getting by.

So how do we keep millennial from running for the door?  Get them engaged.  Millennials thrive on other people’s energy and intelligence.  They know the importance of understanding past situations to better future ones.  Sharing ideas and thought processes is one of the most gratifying experiences for the Millennials.  This generation isn’t as concerned about what they do, but rather how they do it and who they are sharing that experience with.  Millennials require mentor-ship mentality in their relationships, be it personal or professional, allowing for the exchange of ideas and the ability to search out new ways of thinking.  If they feel they are not learning and growing from the experience, the engagement is lost and they move on.