The three As of retaining high-performing millennials and Gen Z in the workplace

Millennials and Gen Zers are more prone to moving jobs, but with the right tactics, companies can retain them for future promotions.

Millennials and Gen Zers in the workplace is a curious study. They are hardworking and driven, yet more prone to move jobs. With this, the question arises: How can companies support their ever-growing demands and retain them for future promotions?

Millennials, or those born between 1980 and 1995, ranging from 25 to 40 years old, currently comprise the largest portion of the U.S. workforce. However, they have already acquired the reputation for job-hopping more so than any other generation. A Gallup report showed 21 percent of millennials said they changed jobs within the past year – more than three times the number of non-millennials who reported the same.

On the other hand, people belonging to Generation Z or those born between 1996 and the early 2010s, ranging from 16 to 25 years old, have a different, bolder reputation: They want it all. A recent BBC report showed that Gen Zers expect bigger paychecks, more time off, the flexibility to work remotely, and greater social and environmental responsibility. An SHRM study also found Gen Zers wouldn’t tolerate being forced to work when they don’t want to.

Given all these attitude complexities of millennials and Gen Zers in the workplace, companies must face the challenge of improving their retention numbers. How do they avoid losing high performers to a competitive job market? How do they provide the new demands of their younger employees? And how do they effectively hone them to be their future leaders?

The three As to drive employee retention and loyalty

It cannot be stressed enough that companies must already be proactive in upskilling and retaining their employees, particularly the millennials and Gen Zers. It is a no-brainer that the next leaders of any company will highly likely come from these generations, so it pays to invest in their training and development as early as possible.

Upskilling and retaining millennials and Gen Zers is no easy task, but not impossible, especially if they follow the three As of employee retention:

  1. Assess. Companies must constantly assess their learning experience (LX) environment and capabilities to benchmark against cross-industry best practices. Are their LX curricula updated and effective in supporting their employees’ growth and loyalty? From here, they can create a strategic plan and roadmap with specific initiatives to build leading LX capabilities. This roadmap will help prioritize areas of development to deliver greater value through their people.
  1. Assemble. Once an organization has already assessed its strategic plan and roadmap, the next step is upskilling its talent pool through internal mobility programs. A CLO Magazine article said companies must give employees the option to look at and apply to open positions before external candidates; offer them the skill development, training and resources they need to obtain new skills needed by a higher position; and encourage multi-direction movement, or letting employees test out the waters in different departments. Through these ways, organizations will be able to assemble their roadmap with high-performing employees’ retention considered.
  1. Aim. Finally, once upskilling and cross-skilling have already been emphasized and prioritized, a company can aim at its growth more effectively because it knows that its loyal employees are in for the long haul. This allows an organization to scale operations and make more impactful decisions – all while increasing revenue and longevity in the market.

Challenges continue to abound in the workplace, especially now that the world is still adjusting not only to a global pandemic and inflation but also to shifting mindsets by the younger generations. Millennials and Gen Zers are rewriting the rules and denying these would have a huge impact on a company’s growth.  

Building change leadership from the ground up is cited as the No. 1 priority for human resources according to Talent Management, and rightfully so: DDI’s 2021 Global Leadership Forecast said only three in 10 leaders are effectively prepared to handle the complexity and speed of change today.

Organizations must be supported in rallying teams during a crisis, reducing burnout, and improving work and leadership skills. By following the three As, a company can more effectively prosper in this competitive market.