tions. Despite all of the press, millennials
are hard-workers when motivated, and
many feel like their work is a large part
of their identity (something they have in
common with the retiring baby boomers.) These younger workers are willing to
start at the bottom, work hard and gain
experience, but only if they can see a clear
path to the career they want. If they don’t,
they’re willing to move on to a job that
does offer one.
To attract and retain millennials, employers should focus on providing job-based training and personal development
opportunities. Firms might consider
showing their commitment to and investment in their millennial employees
by sending them for external training or
to conferences, or encouraging them to
enroll in leadership or business courses.
With many millennials starting families later in life, having a company culture
that encourages teamwork and offers opportunities for employees to socialize can
be a real perk for younger employees.
Having frequent discussions with millennial employees about performance and
career opportunities, as well as how their
individual role fits into the success of the
company will help provide them with the
personal validation they want.
Striking the right balance
The key to effectively managing a multigenerational workforce is to recognize
the value that each group brings to the
organization. An all-millennial agency
may lack industry knowledge and the
insight customers want, while an all-Generation X agency may not be able to
quickly capitalize on the opportunities
new technology offers.
Consider this: A millennial employee’s
social media savvy can help build the
company’s online presence, while a Gen
Xer’s expertise may result in opportunities for speaking engagements that
increase brand awareness among key
customer groups. Both skillsets offer opportunities to increase the agency’s exposure, just in different ways.
Companies seeking to retain employees
from multiple generations should begin
by looking at strategies that allow them
to meet the needs of these groups. These
guidelines can provide some direction:
1. Reward both performance and tenure.
It’s customary for employers to recognize and reward employees differently
based on seniority. This strategy may
backfire in a multigenerational work
environment, as highly productive,
younger employees may start to feel
resentful of the time it takes to reap rewards they may feel they’ve earned. A
company with multiple incentive strategies will ensure that all employees feel
equally rewarded for their work.
2. Tailor reward and recognition efforts
appropriately. When recognizing a
Gen Xer, do so in private since they prefer a little less fanfare. Rewards should
include professional development opportunities or extra time off. Millennials prefer experiences to certificates, but
tend to like the fanfare that goes along
with a company-wide awards ceremony.
If possible, allow high-performing employees the opportunity to choose their
own reward from a pre-determined
list, or offer enough varied recognition
events to appeal to both groups.
3. Mirror communication to employee
preferences. Millennials tend to value
accessibility and constant communica-
tion in the workplace, and have a need
for consistent validation from manag-
ers. However, Gen Xers prefer to operate
more independently and don’t want or
need as much “face-time” with manag-
ers. Leaders working with both groups
should be aware of their communication
styles, and try to accommodate those
preferences whenever possible.
4.Offer some flexibility. Flexibility is
one benefit that is important to both
generations and they will seek out employers who offer the ability to work
from home, control their own hours
and provide generous leave policies.
Companies that find a way to create
work environments that appeal to employees from multiple generations will
not only have an advantage when they
need to recruit new employees, but will
also have lower employee turnover and
greater employee retention.
Deanna Bretado has worked in the San
Antonio, Texas office of G&A Partners as
a human resources client advisor for more
than 5 years. She holds a degree in human
resource management, as well as an SPHR
Certification from the HR Certification Institute and an SHRM-SCP certification from the
Society of Human Resource Management.
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