Retaining and Motivating Millennials as Future Leaders of Our Business
By Joy Rothschild Chief Human Resources Officer, Omni Hotels and Resorts | April 24, 2016
High potential talent retention is the thing that keeps me up at night. And nowhere is this a greater challenge than with millennials. I am thrilled when they stay and grow with us, and heartbroken when I have invested in them and they leave. Our industry needs new paradigms to attract, motivate and retain millennials. The expectation that they will manage their careers "the way we did" must be cast aside.
Millennials are quickly becoming the foundation of successful companies today surpassing Gen Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. Labor Force according to Pew Research Center. In 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce! In addition, 70 million baby boomers are expected to retire this year. With their fresh innovative ideas and eager work ethic, it is crucial senior executives recognize millennials' value in order to retain them long term. We also need to understand what drives them as they are also our customers.
Millennials have very different expectations of their workplace in comparison to other generations. Speaking as a boomer, it was a badge of honor to be with the same company for your entire career. Fast forward to 2016, millennials are less patient, less loyal, more confident and more entitled. If we don't offer them what they want, they will find it somewhere else. This generation has grown accustomed to hopping from job to job to achieve the "next best thing." It is important for company leaders to recognize the trend and develop a strategy to reduce this urge to jump ship.
Millennials on my team say they want freedom and responsibility, hands off management, rapid career growth and work/life balance. I believe they also crave constant feedback and recognition. Their desires for perks are also different from other generations. The benefits most important to millennials in my company are not health and dental insurance. In order of importance they cite vacation time, flexible work schedules, travel opportunities, 401(k) and medical insurance.
So how do we satisfy them in an industry that operates around the clock?
For Omni Hotels, freedom, responsibility, autonomy and rapid career growth are something you earn. However if we feel there is potential, we offer career growth at their pace - if they have demonstrated they are ready for it. Training programs need to be offered in a way that millennials prefer. It is one reason we have designed our management development programs to be self-paced. If someone has the skill and ability to move rapidly through their program, we can move as quickly as they can.