My father's generation was raised with the expectation that they would learn and hone one expertise and work in one company for most of their lives. Most of them did.
My generation had much the same expectation, but instead we worked with a number of different companies throughout our careers and even changed vocations a few times.
Today, young talent entering the workforce has altogether different expectations. They are expected to work and gain experience in a number of different jobs and to have general business skills that make them more adaptable to the rapidly changing environment.
Moreover, millennials and subsequent generations will find it easier to swap business cards because of the flexibility and ease by which their jobs, particularly technology related jobs, allow them to work in a variety of different capacities and different locations.
While entrepreneurs and business managers may value these skills, they are also aware of the significant costs associated with employee turnover. So what is the best way to retain top talent?
Turning mercenaries into loyalists, as described by technology venture capitalist Fred Wilson, comes down to providing your team members validation and inspiration. Here are a few ways to assure your best team members don’t jump ship.
Employees and young talent in particular want to have significance and validation, so you have to demonstrate that your business is making an impact. Take time to craft a meaningful mission statement for your business that encapsulates your goals and will provide inspiration to your team every day.
Your business will be led by its mission, but your company culture is derived and driven by your core values and those of your team. Engage your young talent when defining your company values, and allow them to cultivate and nurture your business culture.
With high speed Internet, most tech and creative jobs can be done from anywhere. Consider setting up shop in undervalued and underutilized places, such as Myrtle Beach, S.C., which has existing fiber, an affordable cost of living and new initiatives that are attracting top tech talent and companies. Keep in mind as well that if you are located in highly competitive cities, such as New York, Boston or San Francisco, then your best talent is likely to get recruited by companies with much more capital.
If you are providing a workplace for your team, planning the space is important. It should come as no surprise that many of the " best places to work" are companies with the most creative workplaces. Your young talent has options, so consider providing a space that promotes productivity, inspires creativity and innovation, and ultimately makes your team comfortable and happy.
Salary, bonuses and retirement funds were all the default set of company benefits when I was beginning my career. Today, young, ambitious employees have different priorities, such as flex time, upward mobility and even convenient concierge services. Understand what motivates your employees and never assume you know what is best for them.
The one thing that binds all of these things together is leadership, without which even the best businesses will fail. Leadership skills can be learned and should be constantly refined, but be sure to hone those skills before you start, because nothing will kill employee motivation faster than a lack of leadership.
In the end, entrepreneurs need to understand that employees come and go -- it’s nothing personal -- and for the most part, broad experience can be good for both employees and employers alike. The more you work with younger talent, the more you will come to understand what drives them and, consequently, what you need to retain them.
What tips do you have for retaining talent in your organization? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.