Last month we opened The 2016 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat with a review of the findings from The 2016 OPEN MINDS Executive Compensation & Retention Survey – which showed that about 36% of all health and human service executives (CEOs, other C-suite executives, and managers/directors) are planning to leave their organization within the next five years. The majority of these executives said they’ll be retiring.
So what’s the strategy for replacing these departing executives? Recruitment is one avenue – but that brings it own set of challenges. Our survey found that about 30% of all executives believe that they could not be replaced at the same compensation (see Are You Prepared To Lose Your CEO?).
The other avenue is the growth and development of employees from within your own organization. But to do that, health and human service organizations need to get better at growing their millennial workforce. Who are the millennials? Currently the largest generational cohort, millennials are between 18 and 34 years-old and numbered around 75.4 million in 2015. Generation X, on the other hand, are Americans between the ages of 35 and 50 and totaled around 66 million in 2015 (see Millennials Overtake Baby Boomers as America’s Largest Generation).
How to develop and grow this generation was the topic of the panel discussion, How To Retain & Grow Employees: A Group Discussion On Turning The Millennial Generation Into The Leaders Of Tomorrow, featuring OPEN MINDS Senior Associate James Gargiulo, author Misti Burmeister, and Megan R. McCarron, human capital consulting manager at Deloitte Consulting LLP. During the discussion, the panel had four key strategies for organizations to consider:
1. Express The Organization’s Mission Early & Often
Providing purpose to the work, according to Ms. McCarron, is key to engaging millennials. According to research from Deloitte, one of the top reasons they leave an employer is that they lack an understanding of the organization’s purpose or mission. It’s also important to find ways remind them of that mission to keep them employed with the organization longer.
2. Offer More Than Just A Salary
Millennials care about work-life balance and flexibility, according to Mr. Gargiulo. While a competitive salary is essential, it’s also important to offer a benefits package that includes things like vacation time, parental leave, and flexible schedules. The millennial generation is more tech savvy and sees the use of technology as a means to aid in productivity and allow or more flexibility with schedules. Additionally, millennials look for other benefits that create a more supportive workplace culture, such as continuing education and sponsored volunteer work. Employees who participated in a “volunteer day” program (in which employees can volunteer at a charitable organization of their choosing on one workday a year) have been found to stay at their organization longer on average than employees who did not take part in this kind of initiative. For more on millennial work priorities, see Millennials Place Work/Life Balance Before Career Progression.
3. Provide Mentors
Mentoring can come in two forms: through a formal organizational program, or by simply and informally displaying the type of behavior required by the organization. Millennials are looking for opportunities for growth, and mentorship programs show a commitment to employee development. Modeling positive, professional behavior for millennials can be an effective way to keep them on board.
4. Don’t Focus Exclusively On Younger Staff
Constantly drawing attention to generational differences can build resentments and cause discord within the office. Focusing exclusively on younger staff causes other personnel to pay attention to the differences between them, Ms. Burmeister noted. Instead, try to build a culture that is supportive of all employee’s values and priorities. Though these are differences among generational cohorts, the reality is there are more commonalities – all employees want a fair workplace, a healthy work-life balance, and to feel supported in their work.
Demographics show us that millennials are the future of the workforce, which means that your organization’s next generation of leaders are already at work. As your current leaders start retiring, now is the time to build a workplace culture and employee development strategy that will best position your organization for the future. For more on , see Reinventing HR – With Some Tech Help and Meta-Leadership – A New & Tall Order.