turnover mythMillennial employees, those born between 1980 and 2000, have a bad reputation when it comes to loyalty to their employer. They have been called the “Job Hopping” generation. At any given time, 60% of millennials are open to a new job and 21% have changed jobs within the past year (Gallup 2016). Millennial turnover is estimated to cost $30.5 billion annually. You might have experienced it first hand in your organization.

However, employee turnover isn’t something you have to accept. Let’s examine the misconceptions surrounding employee turnover and what can be done minimize with an emphasis on millennials.

Myth 1: You Can’t Control Employee Turnover

Reality: Many variables drive turnover. Bad management style, low compensation, and the lack of opportunity for professional advancement are among the top reasons millennials cite for leaving a position. Although some factors are beyond your control, ensuring all employees are engaged and rewarded are factors that you can control as an employer.

  • Get recruitment right: Curbing turnover actually begins at recruitment. Bringing the right candidate for the position, outlining your expectations are paramount to early success. Remember, getting the first six months right is critical to long-term engagement. Spend time revamping your on-boarding and early performance feedback.
  • Set realistic expectations for career advancement. The disappointing reality is that not everyone gets promoted. Millennials are learning it the hard way. Help young workers see alternative paths for development. Not all professional development means an upward move. Open their eyes to lateral moves and a chance for broadening their skill set.
  • Invest in the people skills of frontline supervisors before it’s too late. “You join a company but you quit your boss.” Supervisors have an enormous impact on employee performance and morale. They are a key driver of employee tenure. In my work with clients, I notice that millennials are less likely to put up with bad management. They expect respect and fair dealings. Bad managers are being called out.
  • Focus on feedback. Millennials crave feedback. Schedule a weekly touchpoint with all your employees at least once a week to review the work, provide feedback and set expectations. And while you are at it, set time aside every quarter to discuss career goals and professional development. Millennials are more likely to stay with employers who spend the time and effort to invest in their professional development.
  • Money matters. However, it is generally one of many factors employees consider when weighing their employment options. It’s important to understand your talent market. Know how your pay rates compare with other employers who go after the same talent. Remember millennials have high college debt load. A debt assistance programs is a benefit valued by millennials which doesn’t cost much out of pocket to the employer.

Myth #2: Exit Interviews are a waste of time

Reality: The exit interview is an opportunity to gain insight into what drives employee turnover. Making an assumption, even an educated guess about the reasons employees leave compromises your understanding of why employee leave.

The best way to make sure you understand the drivers of turnover is to ask departing employees for their feedback. Consider switching the in-person interview to an online survey. Many organizations use free survey tools like Survey Monkey. It allows capturing consistent data points. Use open fields for free response to get additional comments. Analyze the survey results every 6 to 12 months to identify trends and patterns. Using employee’s comments for added context, you get useful data to identify improvement areas.

The ultimate objective of turnover analysis is to stop holding exit interviews. Instead, start doing “stay interviews.” Millennials love to be asked “What skills are you looking to develop?” and “how can I help you grow?”

Schedule your first stay interviews and see what happens with your turnover.