Why a Gen Y’s Average Time On Job Is 3 Years and What To Do About It

Cheryl Cran (a new addition to our SPEAK! roster and an expert on the future of work), recently wrote down a few thoughts and tips regarding retaining Millenials. I found it useful and thought you might as well, so I’m passing it along. Feel free to forward it to your franchisees if you find it applicable!

Here are some common statements made about Gen Y’s/Millennials:

  • They are disloyal
  • They are lazy
  • They don’t care

Are these statements true? Well, let’s break it down from a Gen Y’s perspective.

retaining-millennial-workforceA Gen Y/Millennial does not think that she or he are disloyal what they see is that the world is one big fat oyster and they have CHOICE. They stay on the job for as long as they are learning, growing and gaining opportunities.

Whereas a Traditionalist or a Baby Boomer might have had a job for ten or twenty years those days are gone and a Gen Y doesn’t even understand WHY someone would want to work in one place for that long.

Research confirms that the average time on the job for a Gen Y/Millennial is three years tops and that’s IF they like their leader, the brand and the ‘fun’ factor.

Gen Y’s resent the generalization that they are ‘lazy’ they prefer to be seen as the generation who wants to leverage technology to work ‘smarter’ not ‘harder’. Do they want to slug it out in a nine to five ho-hum job – heck no! What they do want is inspiration and interesting work. They want to have the latest technology to do their work and they want to be able to have a ‘life’ that work fits into.

Do Gen Y’s truly not care? Of course they care – just not in the same way that other generations care. Gen Y’s care about being a part of a brand that is doing good in the world, they care about being part of something that is dynamic and fun and they care about being treated as an equal, not an underling.

Want to keep a Gen Y for longer than 3 years? Here’s how:

  1. Be an amazing leader – an amazing leader is inspirational and is a transformational leader. A Gen Y wants to be inspired, to feel as if he/she is part of something bigger than himself or herself, and wants to feel like she/he is important to the business. People don’t leave jobs they leave leaders.
  2. Be willing to coach/guide and help a Gen Y excel and to grow. Rather than be afraid of losing a Gen Y after you have invested time and money switch your attitude to ‘investing’ for while you have the Gen Y with you. Every industry is going through the same challenges and they too are investing in their Gen Y’s. Don’t see it as a fruitless effort see it as investing in the overall pool of talent that is available.
  3. Have a philanthropic focus – Gen Y’s want to be a part of an organization that ‘gives back’ in some way. They want to change the world and if their work has an element of philanthropy a Gen Y will stick around longer.
  4. Stop the generalizations and the biases – see Gen Y’s/Millenials as refreshing, creative and agents of change. Be willing to learn from them and to involve them in your business. Focus on the value and the ideas that they bring and recognize them for their contributions.

Thanks so much for sharing your ideas, Cheryl. They have my mind churning and my attention on leadership.  🙂 

More soon…


P.S. Because we hear our franchise clients talk about the challenge of recruiting, engaging and retaining employees, we’d love to take an informal survey. What percentage of your franchisees’ front-line staff are Millennials?

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