Far from shying away from Millennial employees, SMEs should embrace the skills and talents of the younger generation, writes Peter Harte, managing director of Kronos Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
‘Self-centred’, ‘lazy’, ‘too big for their boots’ – all familiar terms used to describe Millennials. This generation has been the focus of scrutiny over recent years as small business owners and managers grapple with the understanding of what motivates them and what incentives will retain them.
Today, Kronos and Galaxy Research launched a research report – titled Motivating Millennials: Managing Tomorrow’s Workforce, Today – highlighting how small businesses should embrace this generation and feel comfortable managing their higher attrition and rotation levels, harnessing their youthful exuberance and complementing their enthusiasm with training/education to boost their experience.
The report reveals how pursuing a ‘retention at all costs’ approach contradicts Millennial working habits. Consequently, SMEs must consider a ‘motivate and rotate’ hiring practice, which focuses on employee engagement, education and rewarding peak performance over length of service.
Millennials job-hop twice as quickly as other generations, averaging 3.4 years in a role, compared to 5.8 years for Gen X and 7.3 years for baby boomers, while one in seven spend less than two years on average in the same place.
These findings indicate Millennials aren’t just more comfortable with career change, they actively pursue it.
However, this contemporary hiring practice presents a wealth of benefits to SMEs. Small to medium organisations can remain agile, scaling up and down more easily than with a more mature workforce.
When asked to share his opinion on the theory that young people are lazy and present little dedication to their roles, George Playfair, a 23-year-old mortgage broker, believes that the idea is nonsense.
In fact, he believed the contrary, stating: “There are greater benefits for businesses in hiring young people, as we provide a fresh approach, are more willing to learn immediately and are keen to experience greater levels of responsibility.
“Additionally, with the openness to staying in a role for a shorter period of time, we want to excel more quickly and therefore have a stronger work ethic.”
The report supports this view, finding that engagement is crucial for Millennials. Some 60 per cent leave a position within a year of feeling they are no longer giving their best, compared to 40 per cent of Gen X and just 21 per cent of baby boomers: 32 per cent left within three months.
I would urge Australian SMEs to embrace hiring this generation, which is often unfairly misrepresented.
Everything Kronos has found supports the concept that Millennials are more engaged, willing to learn new skills and long to prove themselves.
I can’t think of a better skill more suited to SMEs, which themselves need to move fast, be agile and scale rapidly to compete in to today’s global economy.
Peter Harte is managing director of Kronos Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. He has more than 25 years’ experience in the IT sector, including 18 years at the workforce management solutions provider. Peter has also worked with global brands AT&T and DHL International, across the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.