Millennial employees swap jobs twice as quickly as Gen X and Baby Boomers, and businesses need different strategies to manage the higher attrition and rotation levels of the Millennial generation.

Millennials aren’t just more comfortable with career change, they actively pursue it, according to a new research report, which said organisations pursuing a ‘retention at all costs’ approach actually contradicts Millennial working habits.

The report found that Millennials averaged 3.4 years in their roles, compared to 5.8 years for Gen X and 7.3 years for Baby Boomers, while one in seven spend less than two years on average.

Furthermore, engagement is crucial for Millennials: 60 per cent leave a position within a year of feeling they are no longer given their best, compared to 40 per cent of Gen X and 21 per cent of Baby Boomers, while 32 per cent left within three months.

However, 62 per cent of Millennials will stay in a role as long as they are acquiring the skills and training to leapfrog them onto their next position.

“The traditional yearly review and bell-curve performance measurement process won’t cut it for these savvy job-hoppers”

As such, organisations need to consider the advantages of a “motivate and rotate” hiring practice, which focuses on greater employee engagement, continuing education and rewarding peak performance over length of service.

“HR strategies and plans need to be reimagined to address tomorrow’s workforce, today,” said Peter Harte, managing director, Kronos Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia, which released the research report.

“The traditional yearly review and bell-curve performance measurement process won’t cut it for these savvy job-hoppers.

“Millennials respond to open conversations conducted at more regular intervals, as well as ongoing personalised plans incorporating prompt reward for performance peaks.”

Harte said its important that Millennials feel their plan addresses their individual needs and takes into account their future career/development plans – whether these plans are within their current organisation or not.

“HR executives should look at encouraging open conversations will benefit both the individual and the business,” he said.

Given Millennials are the most mobile generation in the workforce, the answer to optimising this generation’s talent may not lie in numbers, but in words, according to the report, which suggested that “managing in the moment” can provide a workplace alternative to cultivating a “job for life”.

“They aren’t sentimental enough to make that a legacy and become part of the wallpaper”

Born between 1981 and 2000, the aptly named ‘Millennials’ are investing new ideas, new behaviours, and new motivations into the traditional workplace.

Their numbers are also on the increase – in five years’ time they will make up half the Australian workforce, and by 2025 this figure will increase to 75 per cent.

“Millennials are keen to make an impact and be remembered for the positive results they delivered for an organisation, but they aren’t sentimental enough to make that a legacy and become part of the wallpaper,” said Harte.

A further 65 per cent of Millennials said would have stayed longer if management had shown interest in them as an individual, or simply asked what they needed to keep them there.

“Employee engagement begets employer engagement, if a Millennial feels they’re listened to, their opinions valued and change actually happens when and where it’s needed, they will stay engaged for longer and think twice before choosing to leave,” said Harte.

Being well paid does help keep 84 per cent of Millennials, 75 per cent of Gen X and 69 per cent of Baby Boomers in their jobs.

However this extension comes with a shelf life; 1.5 years for Millennials, 1.9 years for Gen X and 2.1 years for Baby Boomers. Interestingly, investing in wider and often more affordable programs focussed on social culture, training or mentoring offer similar levels of ‘additional’ time.

The report was conducted for Kronos by Galaxy Research, which surveyed a representative sample of Australians, aged between 18 and 64, of which 50 per cent were Millennials, asking in-depth questions about their employment history and habits, to cover the reality of employee behaviours, expectations, motivations, and retention levels.

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