I think we might need to accept that things have changed, and millennials just don’t stay in a job for that long. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying it’s true.
Right now, “9 in 10 millennials expect to stay in a job for only three years.” (Barna Research)
So it begs the question, how much should we pour into millennials if they’re going to leave soon?
I’m a millennial so I know I’m biased, but my advice to business leaders would be to throw more money towards training and coaching so you can spend less money on recruiting and hiring. Here are 3 reasons to invest a ton in the millennial workforce, even if they may not stay long.
1. LEADERS GO WHERE THEY GROW
Millennials have received a lot of coddling or a lot of criticism, but they haven’t got a lot of coaching.
Unlike criticism, which just tells you what you've done wrong, coaching shows you what to do differently. Unlike coddling, which won’t let you fail, coaches do let you fail, forward.
Critics throw insults from the stands. A coach is in the game. A coach isn’t just for you. He’s with you. But he won’t do the work for you.
If you don’t take a coach mentality with millennial employees your staff will be tempted to be critics. Many negative things are said about millennials but one thing they’re good at is telling if someone is real or not. If young people sense they are being treated like projects instead of people, you might just be accelerating their departure.
Create a culture with a long runway of coaching and growth and you’ll be offering them something that’s hard to find anywhere else. They may just stay longer than you think.
2. GREAT COACHES ATTRACT GREAT PLAYERS
Don’t believe me? Just look at high school football, and how parents move their star athletes to specific schools to play for specific coaches. Notice that the same schools always seem to do well even though the athletes constantly change.
On the EntreLeadership Podcast, Jon Acuff asked Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick fil a (78% of the 60,000 employees are young people), “How are you able to consistently get teenagers excited to serve?”
He said, “First off, we are dealing with an employment base that is very different than we’ve had in prior generations in that we’ve got children who are being raised in single parent homes. We know this inherently presents a lot of issues for society.
We’ve lost the opportunity to build the emotional strength of character and values that were intended to be built inside of the family. It presents some real challenges for us. So we have to kind of make up for that as an employer.
We select operators that would provide the kind of role modeling we would like for our own children.
That’s really where it starts is a strong competent business person as the operator who becomes a kind of de facto parent, coach, and mentor. That’s why we have such great talent coming in the door to begin with.”
3. DEADLINES DRIVE DECISIONS
I’ve noticed a significant difference between the approach of churches and nonprofit college ministries towards millennials.
Churches tend to focus on answering the question, “How do we get young people in our building to get saved and become members?”
Nonprofit college ministries tend to focus on answering the question, “How do we get young people on campus saved and discipled?”
Both are noble and necessary but why the nuance between the two?
The church is use to people joining as members and staying a while. College ministries don’t have that luxury. They get four years, at best. The church tends to be more focused on reaching and retaining while time has forced college ministries to focus on training and sending.
So maybe there’s a silver lining to the lack of time? The great thing about urgency is that it makes you abandon the non-essentials and double down on the non-negotiables.
TO FELLOW MILLENNIALS
All your life you’re climbing ladders. The less ladders the better. It’s better to climb significant heights to a few meaningful places than climbing insignificant heights to a ton of great opportunities.
You’ll never sharpen your craft and achieve your 10,000 hours in a specific work if you’re constantly changing what you feel called to do.
Just to get an idea, it would take around 5 years to reach 10,000 hours if you work 40 hours a week. That’s if you’re spending 100% of those 40-hour work weeks pushing yourself in your craft. Not just showing up to work every day for 5 years. You don’t gain muscle by showing up to the gym. You gain muscle by pushing yourself to new limits.
Wisely choose a few ladders, put them on the right walls, and ferociously climb even when it gets difficult. In time, I promise you will see results.