Retention and a Sense of Purpose with the Young Professionals of Today

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Andy and team - photo courtesy of Matthew Gunn

By Andy Nixon, STN Reporter

In retaining employees today, the importance of career satisfaction heavily outweighs financial compensation. 90% of millennials would trade money for a workplace purpose.

What is sense of purpose? This term comes up often while speaking with young professionals (YoPros) about career fulfillment. Today, individuals work hard - driven by the goals he or she has; not because they “must work”. For the younger generation, that purpose may simply be volunteering somewhere with the company’s support. We have witnessed too many organizations flushing long-term employees for reasons deemed irresponsible.

With dependable labor hard to come by, many companies dangle financial incentives in hiring or retention bonuses. Keep in mind, that incentives can stretch well beyond monetary rewards. Teach the younger generation life skills many of us lacked. Can you imagine being a YoPro and working for a company that provides financial education, tips on taxes, or other useful information they fail to teach you in school? One incentive we initiated with our team linked employee performance to flying lessons. Our closing rate increased, the team members went flying, and we brought something enjoyable to the table.

Carve a path for the YoPros in your organization. Provide a road map that will unlock new responsibilities and challenges if followed. Keep in mind that adding items mentioned above should also include a PTO or pay increase to accompany it.

As a business, do you express interest in what your employees want? When employees leave, do you take the exit interview seriously or just wave a hand at the quitter? Not all who leave are disgruntled. The value of feedback is vast. Unfortunately, many leaders surround themselves with “yes men or women” who agree with everything said. Although it may boost the ego, company health will suffer. On the YoPro side, they leave due to being pigeon-holed or frankly don’t find the job rewarding.

The drive from the younger generation will make long-time employees feel pressured to perform at a higher level. Don’t be surprised when the older folks speak out against the “drive”. In many industries, we leave people in key positions because finding a replacement takes work. Give the YoPros a path to leadership and management. Will they make mistakes? Of course, we all do. The key is allowing people to learn and grow from those mistakes.

Autonomy is another management technique that can do wonders for your organization. By providing autonomy, leadership steps back and becomes a guiding hand when needed. Leadership will find themselves dishing out genuine compliments on the work being completed, without micromanagement. Our team knows they can do almost anything to make our customers happy, and they do.

Loyalty is a great thing for any business but providing a work environment and career path that is exciting, challenging, and rewarding will have employees sticking around. They will share your vision and excitement and carry those forward. My employees make me look good.

On the employee side, be aware that leadership is busy during these challenging times. Take the initiative to find out what works and what needs work. Present it to leadership through communication and you will be surprised by the responsiveness. If they aren’t responsive, polish your resume. It takes a village to run a successful business. If people are willing to pitch in and share the goal, changes can be made that will increase happiness which increases productivity. A true win-win.

Allow the YoPros within your organization to have a voice and opinion on what comes next. Look down the road in years, not months. Make them feel included. Acknowledge their ideas. With a few simple steps, you will build an organization the younger generation flock to. After all, they are the future.

Aaron the YoPro - photo courtesy of Total Air Group
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