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Retaining Millennial Talent: Why Corporate Culture is Essential

By Craig Powell October 22, 2015

Categories: Company Culture

You might call the generation born between 1980 and 2000 Millennials, Gen Y, the “Me Generation,” or whatever else you like, but more likely than not, you are also calling them your co-workers.

They are already the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. By 2025, Millennials could make up as much as 75% of the global workforce. This generation finds corporate culture particularly important, and making them happy is more than just good office etiquette.

According to a recent study by Deloitte, young workers cost between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace. Other estimates put the costs of replacing and training employees at upwards of twice their annual salary. Get your corporate culture wrong, and these costs could skyrocket when your young workers head for the door.

Millennials want ethical work and room for advancement in their careers, and they have different expectations for their office environments—wherever work takes them—than past generations. Knowing how to meet these needs will only grow in importance as this generation continues to overtake the workforce.

Doing “Good” at Work

Young workers prefer ethical employment and value helping others more than having a high-paying career. They can’t all work jobs that are actively saving the world, of course, but they will appreciate contributing to a company aligned with their own worldview.

Genuinely prioritizing community service, offering volunteer opportunities, and aligning the company vision with altruistic goals will go a long way in appealing to Gen Y. Millennial workers expect more from their employers than simply a paycheck, and they begin evaluating companies well before day one. As many as 60% of Millennials say a sense of purpose influences where they choose to work. If you are not declaring your values loudly on the digital, video-driven social media channels Millennials love, these high-value candidates will likely ignore your company for your competitors.
Motus911ServiceDayOur September 11th Day of Service was spent serving lunch to local fire stations

Opportunities for Advancement

There is nothing a young worker fears more than a dead-end job. In fact, lack of career advancement has been cited as the number one reason young workers change jobs. Because of this, the average tenure for a Millennial employee is just over two years, while as many as 25% expect to stay at a job for just one year or even less before moving on.

These workers are not flaky job-hoppers, but are committed to advancing themselves more than their employers often seem to be. They need steps, trainings, and titles to know they are not spinning their wheels at your office. Since as many as 80% report they want regular feedback, meeting with them more often to reassure them of their progress and goals is a good start.

The New Office

The generation that combines work and life more than any past generation needs more from their offices than just four walls and a ceiling. Still stuffing your young workers into a cubicle farm for their first few years? Millennials won’t stay long enough to earn the corner office (nor will they want to).

They prefer open office designs and collaborative cultures. Although some older workers may scoff at this change, the new generation knows that the modern office is not confined to one work location, but rather can be found wherever workers access their resources (home, coffee shop, the beach). Work life doesn’t end at 5 PM either, and Millennials expect an infrastructure that will let them connect to their projects, colleagues, and supervisors regardless of the time of day (or night).

MotusLobbyOur new office space was designed with an open layout to foster collaboration

Strong Corporate Culture, Good Business Sense

Millennials are particularly sensitive to cultural factors at the office, but building a strong corporate culture benefits all employees. Companies with strong cultures generally have greater revenues, increased stock value, and larger net incomes than their cultureless competitors (by as much as 20-30%).

Offering purpose-driven work, room for advancement, and collaborative, digitally-integrated offices will go a long way toward retaining workers of all generations, but will attract young workers in particular. At Motus, we’re constantly striving to meet the needs of the evolving workforce, but we’re by no means perfect – few companies are. For us, nothing is more important than the people we work with. Our people are our culture, and our culture is what keeps us working together every day. Our culture is why we win.

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