Companies that are looking for ways to attract, retain and motivate their younger workers need to make sure they can keep these individuals on staff once the economic recovery is over.
According to a survey which questioned 1,147 individuals born between 1980 and 1989 conducted last spring by SBR Consulting, an employee retention consulting firm based in Charlotte, N.C., 70% of those surveyed said that they are likely to look for a new job once the economy and job market improve. In addition, 48% say that they are doing a job that they do not want to be in and 37% say that they do not trust big businesses.
"This doesn't mean that 70% of your younger employees are going to get up one day and walk out the door," says Stacey Randall, the founder of SBR Consulting. However, simply wanting to leave a job or company has important implications for ongoing employee productivity and long-term employee retention.
Surviving the recession caused many companies to make significant changes within their workforces, including layoffs, benefit cutbacks, increasing workloads, and so on. How well a company has managed these changes and their impact on employees has a significant impact on the workplace and the bottom line. For example, poorly managed layoffs of any size can damage morale and leave remaining employees overworked and burned out.
When this happens, companies don't necessarily face a mass exodus, but lower energy and morale among workers and, eventually, higher turnover. "The effect is more subtle when people are unhappy where they are," says Randall. "It can have a ripple effect on a company's standing as a good place to work and its reputation in the hiring marketplace." If turnover does creep up, current and prospective employees can start wondering if something is wrong.
Randall also notes that this generation—the so-called Millennials—is still shaping its attitudes and perceptions about their work lives. For example, thanks to the recession and the layoffs it generated, she predicts that younger workers, even recent college graduates, will start asking for information about severance pay and policies during job interviews. "No one from Generation X would ever have asked about severance policy or tried to truly understand what happens during a layoff in the middle of a job interview," she says. "However, Millennials are already learning some hard business truths." Employers need to be ready to deal with that mindset.
"It's important for companies to recognize what'ss different about this generation," she says. "Their connectedness to their social networks and technology is a way to share their experiences with specific companies." For companies, this can work both ways. Much has been said about employers mining Facebook and other online data and information to evaluate prospective employees. That approach also works with the other way as younger job seekers use social media and other online information to evaluate prospective employers.