As an employee retention speaker and employee retention author, I realize how tough it is to keep people in general but millennials in particular. I have heard that millennials will have some crazy number of jobs during their career. They have seen their parents lack of job security and think it’s only a matter of time before their current employer tells them to hit the street. But, what if as an employer you are different? They won’t believe you if you just say “we’re different.” You have to show them because all the press, societal pressure etc. that bombards them says that you won’t be. I have found that asking one key question and then helping them chart a career course works wonders for breaking through that revolving door mindset. That questions is; “Where do you see yourself going?”
I was blessed as a 25-year-old employee relations supervisor because I had a general manager that asked me that question. At 25, regardless of the generation, most people don’t have a clue where they are going and probably haven’t given it much thought. They tend to take a job and maybe have career goals in mind. This general manager asked me that question and got me thinking. Then he asked how could he help me to achieve my goals. Then we talked and during that conversation I realized that if I stuck around for a while, my career could really start to move forward…not by moving to another company.
People do a horrible job of managing their careers. Help them. They will see that it’s beneficial to have that advice, talk to friends who don’t get it and realize that maybe, just maybe they are better off staying where they are because it’s advantageous to do so. They may not stay forever, but they will stay far longer than if you didn’t help them chart their career course. Not only will you get a more engaged employee, you will also get an employee who appreciates what they have and are far more willing to stay with you.
Your job is not to manage their career. Your job is to help them start thinking about their career and how your organization fits into that. We are paranoid about asking a question like this for fear people will “get the idea of quitting in their head.” Wake up. It already is in their head. Your job as a leader on employee retention is to get them thinking about how your organization can help them achieve their career goals by sticking around.