This post is part of a series on creating the kind of high-performance workplace that attracts and engages the passions of high-performing employees.
The millennial generation has changed how corporate executives think about attracting and keeping talented employees engaged since millennials started entering the workforce in the middle of the last decade. According to Pew Research, those born between 1981 and 1996 became the workforce majority in the United States in 2015.
I won’t claim to be an expert on millennials (I am a boomer), but attracting talented people is one of the most important parts of my job. As I’ve written before, my company is a service company, and our people—their talents, skills, creativity, and dedication—set us apart from our competitors.
Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey offers some interesting insights into what businesses must do to retain millennial employees. Of course, attraction and retention are closely intertwined because retention programs play important roles in employees’ choices of employers.
The Deloitte study found that across cultures and countries, “Pay and financial benefits drive Millennials’ choice of organization more than anything else.” Millennials, like all talented people, want to be rewarded for their expertise and experience.
Given equal pay packages, the study found the primary factors affecting millennials’ job choices centered around (in no particular order):
A company’s use of technology, in contrast, was close to the bottom of millennials’ priorities, in spite of the fact that, having grown up with it, this generation is more accustomed than any other generation to using technology.
Not All Millennials Are the Same
The Deloitte study points out the differences between millennials in emerging and developed economies, world regions, and specific countries. Even within a single country, economic circumstances and education levels have affected millennials’ abilities to find meaningful work that matches their interests and abilities. Across cultures, the picture is even more complex.
For a global company, the challenge is to take into account regional differences and tailor its employment offerings to specific regions or countries. For example, Indian millennials, like their global peers, are tech-savvy and ambitious and seek work-life balance. One difference stands out, however—according to a recent article in Engage for Change, more than 80 percent of Indian millennials want to work for a company that has a strong sense of purpose—that’s 20 percent higher than the figure for global millennials.
A good starting place for a company looking to engage Indian millennials would be to look at what programs are already in place that could be expanded and made specific to the needs of these employees.
As employees of a company engaged in research that improves human health, we at PAREXEL have another advantage. Our work is inherently important, and everyone—whether working in the clinical research space, developing new computer programs to capture and process data, or managing the logistics of sending medications to trial sites around the world—contributes to our mission. For millennials looking for work that contributes to the world, that makes us a natural choice.
Mentorship Is Highly Prized
I was glad to see that, according to Deloitte, mentorship is one tool for professional development that is highly valued by millennials around the world.
Mentorship should be a priority at every company, especially as senior-level executives engage younger workers. Mentorship programs can help to identify needs for support and development specific to individuals in different economies and countries.
In India, for example, my company has developed robust mentoring plans to help leverage the talent that millennials bring to the table. I believe this extra exposure builds people’s confidence both locally and globally, which benefits our company now and in the future.
Pathways to Success
According to Deloitte, millennials also value opportunities to develop and advance in their careers. Global corporations have the advantage of being able to offer many roles, functions, and locations in which millennials can contribute. They also offer opportunities to develop professional skills that allow for advancement.
By creating clear pathways to move from one role to another, and building adaptability and the expectation of career change into processes and systems, companies increase the potential for keeping all employees engaged and retaining top performers longer.
I’m very pleased to note that we obviously are having some success in our attempts to make PAREXEL the kind of high-performance workplace that employees, including millennials, find rewarding. Earlier this year, we were honored to make the 2016 Forbes list of America’s Best Employers and be named Company of the Year for the Pharmaceutical Industry by the 14th Annual American Business AwardsSM.
Workforce Management, Talent Management, Human Resources