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Professional Growth and Development Number One Driver for Millennials in 2014 Employee Engagement Trends Report

The 2014 Employee Engagement Trends Report, produced by Quantum Workplace, looked at over 400,000 employees of nearly 5,000 organizations and determined that professional growth and career development was the number one driver of successful engagement and retention among Millennial (1980-2001) employees.

Additional research, conducted by The Ken Blanchard Companies, found that there was a gap of nearly 40% between how often employees had career conversations with their leader versus how often they desired these conversations.  The survey broke down job development (a 29% gap between actual and desired conversations) and career development (a 39% gap between actual and desired conversations) respectively.

And, in yet another report that analyzed the cost of Millennial retention, companies reported that it costs between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace each Millennial employee they lose.  It also showed that it takes between 3 to 7 weeks to hire a fully productive Millennial in a new role.

We know that there is a retention war going on, as well as a war for talent.  Thirty percent of companies report that they lost fifteen percent of their Millennials in the past year with ten percent going to a direct competitor.

So as you begin to look at your 2015 game plan for employee development and how to retain the young professionals in your organization here are a couple areas to focus on:

  • Retention Programs: Some companies have already assembled Retention Teams to focus on things like workplace flexibility, mentoring programs, internal hiring, intra-preneurship programs, and community engagement and service as ways to provide a full range of development opportunities.
  • Leadership Lattice: What used to be the Leadership Ladder is now a Lattice in that growth can happen more organically, socially, and cross-functionally.  Adjacent projects, cross functional teams, start up committees, and volunteer opportunities, perhaps out of the normal realm of a young employee’s job description, is what makes this well-rounded approach very powerful.  Sit down with your Millennial workers and begin to build a Career or Leadership Lattice that focuses on their Purpose & Meaning in the Organization, Competency & Commitment, Cross-Functional Team Membership, Mentorship and Sponsorship Opportunities, Community Engagement and Service, and their Overall Goals.  This should be a plan, put on paper, that the Millennial can refer back to as a way to show how committed your organization is to their development.
  • CAMP Conversations: The CAMP Conversation is a great, quick ‘checking the pulse’ assessment that focuses on the Millennials Competency level, Autonomy level, Meaningfulness level, and Progress level. If any of these get too low or become stagnant, you’ll start to see the Millennial’s motivation lower and therefore their commitment to stay.
  • GML Workshops: We offer a great program, Growing Millennial Leadership, which focuses on quick 4 hour bursts of training around managerial competencies.  Some of these include Presentation Skills, Conflict Resolution Skills, Decision Making Skills and Goal Setting Skills.  Of course you don’t have to use our program, but find something comparable that 1) educates and builds competency in the Millennial 2) meets their need for modern and engaging training and development.
  • 360 Feedback Assessment and Development Plan: A powerful tool, the 360 provides a holistic, data-driven assessment of a young leader’s impact and influence in the organization.  The 360 is a compilation of feedback from numerous raters who provide a broad perspective for the Millennial with raters representing people above, below and horizontal in authority to the individual.  From those results a development plan is built to focus on strengths and neutralize weaker areas.  This works well with Millennials as it provides feedback, realistic expectations and a commitment from the organization to provide additional learning and expertise in many different areas.
  • Culture Fit: What is the main indicator of whether Millennial workers stay or go? According to the Millennial Retention Survey a majority responded that it is whether there is a “good cultural fit” or not.  Two thoughts come to mind:  is your culture ready to have Millennials as its primary workforce( 75% by 2030)?  And, if it is ready what are you doing to showcase your culture?  Check out our other post on Millennials and culture fits to learn more.

If we could encourage you to look at one thing as we wind down the year and look ahead it would be to think about where your professional growth and development platform is in your own organization (especially if you’re a senior leader or can make executive decisions).  Many people we’ve talked to already have some system set up.  Is it ready to handle more Millennials?  Is it ready to attract, engage and retain the young professional?  Is it more than just a check in the box under development?  We are at a critical point as time is running out (roughly 17% of Baby Boomers now report that they are retired, up from 10% in 2010).  Now is the time, as organizations gain strength in the aftermath of the Recession, to realign their ship and work towards a future that has a much more robust employee development focus. It is an absolute must for Millennials.

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An innovative training and employee development firm located in southern Vermont since 1984, we specialize in helping organizations get the most out of their people by raising the bar, inspiring potential and partnering with organizations to build a people-centered, high-engagement culture.

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