In the digital age, it seems like Millennial workers are the direct personification of the transient, disruptive tech trends that are changing traditional business practices. Millennials are shifting workplace needs and expectations, but as a result, small business owners are still struggling to maintain Millennial talent

According to a recent Gallup poll, 55% of Millennial workers are not engaged at work which may be leading to their job-hopping tendencies. But a 2017 CNBC poll shows that nearly 90% of Millennials would stay at a job for the next 10 years if they knew they’d receive yearly raises and opportunities for career advancement.

It’s clear that there’s a generational gap between knowing how to appeal and retain Millennial talent, but research suggests that small businesses can solve the problem by hiring underrated and underrepresented talent and catering their work culture towards these demographics. Here are some ways that small businesses can retain Millennial talent while catering to both company-wide and Gen Y interests: 

1. Create Development Programs

Continued education or in-house development programs help younger employees become more experienced, confident professionals. A 2016 Deloitte University Study reports that Millennials are more likely to stay longer at a business when they have learning opportunities and professional development programs. Plus, further training allows employees to feel like they are in control of their future careers. 

How to implement: 

Small business can create their own development programs by offering research, books, mentors, and in-house workshops that supports the organizational structure of the company. As a guide, small entrepreneurs can create career maps for its employees to define roles and to identify roles that your business needs now and in the future.

In addition, small business leaders can engage Millennials and create development programs by applying through U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program

2. Include a Flexible Life/Work Balance 

Strong sense of purpose, inclusiveness, and open communications are higher where employees intend to stay longer. The Deloitte Millennial survey also found that 95% of Millennial respondents report that work/life balance is important to them with 70% saying it’s a very important aspect of their careers. During the recruitment process, small business might offer unrealistic expectations which often lead to dissatisfied employees. 

How to implement: 

Small business can offer more flexible work environments by allowing later arrival times or remote work. With the advent of advanced technologies, mobile devices allow tech-savvy Millennials to work from home more easily while still being able to conference with coworkers, managers, and clients. 

3. Provide an Inclusive Work Environment

Millennials want to work in an environment that is inclusive and understanding. Part of an inclusive environment is to create clear goals and transparent communication with Millennial employees. According to the PwC Millennials at Work report, the Gen Y generation doesn’t need high amounts of monetary compensation, but rather an ability to feel a sense of belonging to a company that provides long-term relationships and investment in their skills. 

but rather on our ability to create a sense of belonging to an organisation that offers a long-term relationship and a professional development opportunity, and that has a clear conception of itself, of what it wants to be, and of how to achieve it.” 

How to implement: 

Team building activities and cross-generational training sessions can help In addition, Millennials want regular feedback and encouragement from their managers and mentors. In a small knit business environment, emotional intelligence and support is a key to helping Millennials help themselves, feel happier in the office, and demonstrate more professional and emotional ties to the work they're doing. In addition, even rewards systems may help Millennials feel more appreciated in their roles.

Overall, solidifying employee relationships can save money in the short-term while also increasing long-term performance of a small business. So, the amount you spend on resources and training is a major investment for a more efficient workplace. With a more healthy workplace that focuses on employee health, well-being, and continued training, Millennials can build a better sense of community and purpose and ultimately remain loyal to small business communities.

About the Author(s)

 Jake   Croman

Jake Croman is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and college student who currently attends the University of Michigan. Jake Croman's networking experience and logistical know-how extends to his work fundraising on behalf of charitable organizations such as St Judes Children's Hospital and the Eddie Croman Foundation.

Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Student University of Michigan
3 Ways Small Businesses Can Achieve Loyalty from Millennials