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An engaged and active audience of over 40 Chamber members and other professional from around the greater Columbia/Montour region heard a presentation on recruiting and retaining millennials from Tina Welch of Welch Performance Consulting on Thursday morning, Aug. 23, at LCBC Church. The breakfast seminar, sponsored by PPL Electric Utilities and put on by the Chamber and PA CareerLink Columbia/Montour Counties, provided a forum for local leaders to gather and hear from a local business consultant and former human resources professional about some of the best practices for recruiting and retaining millennials, as well as some underlying facts and generalizations about the various different generations currently in the workplace. The seminar was catered by That Kitchen Witch, with coffee from one of the Chamber’s newest members, Profile Coffee and Roasters.
The presentation began with some basic facts and statistics, including a table with some general identifying characteristics about the various generations currently in the workplace, including baby boomers, Gen X and Gen Y (millennials), as well as the startling fact (for some) that millennials on average only stay in their jobs for 2.6 years. Obviously, this has created turnover and recruiting problems for several organizations, both of which can cost money. On average, turnover can cost an organization five times the position’s salary. Attendees were asked what someone that stays in a job on average 2.6 years has been called – to which the group unanimously answered “job hoppers.” While that may have been the case in the past, the audience was advised to stop thinking that way, and that is now called career progression.
It then went into what millennials generally want in a job, keeping in mind that as with all generalizations, it won’t apply to everyone, as there is always a bell curve, but if organizations want to be able to successfully recruit and retain millennials, they need to adjust to what they are looking for. For example, millennials generally want to know that they have opportunities for advancement and want to know what they need to do to get there. They also want constant feedback – both positive and negative – about how they’re doing at work and what, if anything, needs to change in order for them to be successful. Young professionals also want to know that they’re making a difference with their work, and what they’re doing is part of a bigger purpose, not just within the organization, but beyond as well. They also require job flexibility. With the advent of modern technology, having the freedom to complete their work outside of the traditional 9-5 workday, if appropriate, is something they value and work/life balance is also important.
In the end, being able to successful recruit and retain millennials, as well as the next generation (called Generation ‘Z’ – those born in approximately 2000 and later), isn’t something that will happen overnight. It is in incremental shift in the hiring and operational practices of each employer, made to adjust to the evolving different generations in the workplace. Those organizations that are able to change when needed and those that get out in front of this issue and are proactive rather than reactive, will be the organizations that are the most successful.
The entire seminar can be viewed below.