Talent Management – The Millennial Challenge

In my first blog, we discussed talent management and some of the strategies used by companies to address the same. Within this realm, the Millennials pose a unique and interesting dilemma for many organizations. As their numbers grow in the workplace, the ability to attract, motivate and retain this generation has assumed even greater significance. Some interesting trends pertaining to these young professionals are as follows:

According to a 2012 HBR study, young top performers are mobile workers with the highest turnover ratesThe high achievers: are on average 30 years old and have good school and work credentials and leave employers after an average of 2.5 years

75% of these young professionals admit to the following:

  • Sending out resumes
  • Contacting search firms
  • Interviewing at least once a year during their first employment
  • 95% said they regularly watch for potential opportunities
  • Two of the biggest reasons cited for leaving are lack of training opportunities and mentors in the workplace
  • Their savvy social media skills help provide easy access to job postings via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

This raises the question of whether or not moving between jobs has now become the new norm? We find that frequent job changes carries far less stigma since the Great Recession and with the entry of this Generation into the workforce, people increasingly see themselves as free agents. Their perspective is that beyond loyalty and security, it’s about the portfolio of skills that they bring and the value that they deliver.

However, there is a fine line between job hoppers and fast-trackers. The former will be moving randomly on a fairly regular basis with an incoherent career story and driven by money. While the latter move to positions of increased responsibility that deepen their skills and are drawn by scope, culture and opportunities. The high potential Millennials get it that they’re responsible for their careers and take a proactive approach. Some of the questions we ask as they move forward are the following:

  • Are you “comfortable” or feeling complacent?
  • Are you taking the path of least resistance?
  • Willing to let your boss manage your career?
  • Do you seek out good leaders and mentors?
  • Are you getting too caught up with titles vs. skills/experience?
  • Are you taking responsibility for gaining new skills and stretch assignments?
  • Do you get that performing well at one level doesn’t guarantee progression?

Bottom line for them is that the breakneck pace of business notwithstanding, time is still on their side. They can take various paths as they advance and pick up critical skills that will prepare them for leadership roles. There’s no one right way to move upwards  their focus should be on building capabilities for the long haul.