How to Retain Millennials

How to Retain Millennials

Leaders and managers are very worried about high levels of turnover among Millennials, and they are right to be. In most organizations, turnover among new employees has been going up ever so slightly but steadily over the past two decades.

Turnover is by far the highest among employees with up to two years’ tenure, and next highest among employees between two and five years’ tenure. Some of this is a function of youth, but there are also generational issues at play. Millennials are coming of age in a labor market that presumes total job mobility. Meanwhile, they are more likely than those of earlier generations to see their job as just one piece in their life puzzle, rather than as the first, indispensable anchor piece without which they cannot build a happy life and family. To Millennials seeking to customize the perfect life and career, the job is a less important puzzle piece than, say, where they live, what schedule they keep, opportunities to participate in certain activities, or proximity to friends or family. Add all these factors together, and it’s easy to see that Millennials are likely to have the highest early-career-stage turnover of any generation in history.

But is it impossible to retain the best of the Millennials? No. You can retain the best people indefinitely, one day at a time, as long as you are willing to keep making it work for them. You can even turn many of the best into long-term employees and some of the very best into new leaders.

You have no choice. They are the future of your organization.


Your goal should not be to eliminate turnover among Millennials. That’s never going to happen. Your goal should be to take control of the turnover among Millennials. You want the high performers to stay and the low performers to go. How do you achieve that?

One key is the prestige factor. Millennials are highly aware of prestige and status, and they want to be associated with them. A Millennial recently told me, “I want to be part of a prestige group. I don’t want to be associated with some second-rate anything.”

In order to retain the best, you need to send the message that not everyone gets to work at your firm, and that it is a privilege and an honor to work there. What can you do to increase the status and prestige of working for you on your team? Read more on Accounting Today