Connect and Collaborate: 6 reasons why millennials are more likely to switch jobs and how HR teams can contain attrition

The modern workspace is abuzz with a new catch-phrase – “This is the era of the millennial employee’. In fact, this is a rising global trend, even as a dynamic, vibrant, and young workforce takes the reins of jobs and roles, cutting across sectors and industry verticals.

Born between 1980 and 1996, the millennial worker is an interesting, and hitherto, unseen professional. Eager for growth, hungry for change, millennial workers aren’t scared to experiment, or shift from one new job to another, looking for new heights to conquer, fresh goals, driven by a desire for learning and self-development.

A recent Gallup report suggests that around 21% of millennial employees have changed jobs in the last one year.

Why are millennials so keen to keep moving, from one situation of permanence to another? Is there a way to identify principal causes for dissatisfaction, and carve out a strategy to keep them engaged and involved?

Let’s look at the broad trends impacting the millennial attrition rates, and consider possible resolution scenarios.

1. Decreasing engagement, a spike in isolation

Typically, millennials are individuals who operate within a sphere of the self, with a limited need for immediate connections. The survey by Gallup, suggests that only 29% of millennial workers, are genuinely engaged at their workplace, which goes to say that only 3 of every 10 workers, feel any actual link with their work.

Now, this doesn’t imply that the millennial employee is a ‘cold, hard individual, bereft of any feelings, needs, or emotional responses’. What’s important to understand, is that they require a more nuanced, smarter, and layered creation of value and involvement.

Companies, must then, rethink how they approach employee engagement as a whole, and offer reimagined and recalibrated portfolios, which can truly enthuse the millennial employee.

Enriching employee compensation, learning & development, and growth plans will help to keep the millennial employee, motivated and involved, with a focus on personalization and bespoke portfolios.

2. The ‘I’ in the individual, and ‘me’ factor

A millennial employee, today walks on a highly sensitive territory. With complex personal and professional lives, most of them must tread several grounds, each impacting his/her job decisions.

These could range from family issues, interpersonal challenges with co-workers, problems with dependents, relationship difficulties, or even a sense of being unfulfilled and dissatisfied, with ‘currently, where life is’.

For HR teams, Employee Assistance Programs or EAP, can hugely help in this context, allowing workers to air their thoughts, share feedback, and offer them the space or assistance, they need.

Working as a sounding and navigating board, an EAP will stand by the employee, demonstrating that the company really cares for his/her goodwill, and is steadfastly committed to a healthy work-life balance.

3. Benefits beyond, merely a salary slip

Most employees are now looking at a portfolio of benefits, which extends far ahead of merely a fat paycheque. Today, there are so many ways for a young employee to earn his/her keep, and companies must look at a wider spectrum of compensation packages.

These could range from healthcare, work-life balance, work from home, BYOD, holiday/leave rosters, E-SOPs, personal check-ups, family appreciation initiatives, and a host of other such approaches.

Further, gathering employee feedback, carefully considering overarching office sentiment, and offering regular training, learning & development sessions, will all aid this process, making an employee realize the value of staying on.

4. The trouble with ineffective managers

That old axiom, ‘people don’t leave their jobs, they leave their bosses’, continues to hold true.

If a sudden sense of resentment has grown within a team, if more and more employees are exiting a certain division, there must be something that’s wrong right at the top.

Favoritism, spite, office gossip, lack of understanding, the inability to recognize an employee’s efforts, or the lack of support or sensitivity, for an employee’s personal or professional issues, could lead to disappointment, gradual isolation, and ultimately, the need to leave, at the earliest.

As an HR leader, it’s vital to maintain a prejudice-free, diverse, and rewarding work environment. Employees must feel acknowledged for what they achieve, and managers must be able to connect with them, and remain empathetic to a team member’s concerns.

5. The inherent toxicity of a workplace

Sometimes, there’s no way to argue around a rot in the system. Workplaces that are rife with rumour mongering, interpersonal dissensions, hostile or overbearing managers, even poorly organized workspaces and unclean washrooms, will always cause a deep-rooted antipathy for the company, and will lead to attrition, sooner or later.

That’s why, it’s so important for HR managers to have a firm control on a work floor, clearly assessing what’s working and what isn’t, reading tell-tale movements, and creating a clean, focused, bias-free, and open-minded office landscape.

6. The negative effect of improper/non-competitive wages

Makes no mistake, the millennial employee is conscious of what he/she brings to the table. Even though salaries aren’t the only thing that matters when it comes to a benefits package, it is still at the core of a compensation plan.

If the employee senses, that he/she is paid a remuneration that’s not in-sync with market standards, or unaligned to one’s capabilities and responsibilities, there will be a desire to look outside, and locate a better situation.

HR teams, must study compensation trends, adequately evaluate an employee’s package, and make an offer that adequately articulates value, and is competitive, benchmarked to industry standardization.

There you have it. These 6 common value-drivers and touchpoints will help companies shape real relationships with millennial employees, keeping them engaged, pushing productivity and profitability, in line with business targets and goals.


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