What To Do Before Your Best Gen Ys Start Leaving

If you have stars among your staff, and you’re concerned about retaining them, here are some tips to implement. Based on a few interviews we conducted with several Gen Ys’ from various industries, we noticed that Gen Ys’ concerns are beyond money (surprise, surprise), and more about the culture and leadership of the company. Read on to find out what you can start paying attention to, before your best Gen Ys start leaving.

1. Place the Gen Ys with leaders, not managers.

To the Gen Ys, a manager tells them what to do; but a leader has the capacity to incite growth in them in a very short time. A leader is also someone who has the heart to see them succeed.

Believe it or not, this generation does expect their early years to be tough. Like previous generations, they understand that a career start WILL mean lower salaries, longer working hours, menial tasks once in a while. The big question they’re asking is : Why should I work hard for you?

“I’d leave for somewhere else where I can be mentored and be groomed.”

– 25-year-old at a logistics MNC.

This is the generation that was indoctrinated by their parents to believe they can accomplish anything, be anyone they want. Gen Ys don’t take much interest in becoming a photocopy of yourself or simply achieving X more than you ever could. What they’re looking for is a leader to bring out the best in them, even if they bring a different brush to your painting.

2. Articulate the strengths of each Gen Y you have, and place on projects that will allow those strengths to surface.

Companies with great culture have leaders who understand deeply what their people are capable of, and work hard at providing opportunities for their people to shine.

As much as Gen Ys may have the tendency of being arrogant or know-it-all, they are still in the midst of finding themselves. When they are in that stage, a lot of insecurities surfaces in the form of questions and uncertainty. This is where your leaders can play a difference.

Have your leaders constantly pointing out specific strengths, place them in projects where they can shine and explain to them clearly why they have been selected. This demonstrates the leaders’ special interest to see them succeed.

Offer a generous amount of encouragement and autonomy over tasks. This gives them room to explore and have results to show. This causes them to be invested in the work. After all, who doesn’t love experiencing themselves being winners?

When you overhear a Gen Y at a café say, “My company has great culture!” This is what they mean.

3. Let them grow by being ready to let them go.

The truth is that managers hire great Gen Y talent with a ticking time bomb. They’re not going to stay. What speeds up that time bomb is aiming to reap as much value from their best talent before they leave.

“I hate my goals being micro-managed. If we’re gonna have leaders, they’ve gotta be able to trust.”

– 23-year-old at a major oil & gas company.

To keep Gen Ys longer, your energy and attention should shift from getting them to do their jobs well, to growing them for the next big step in their career.

This comes with open conversations about how long they’d like to learn and build something of great value in your organisation.

When you’ve moved from developing Gen Ys for your own goals to enabling them to experience growth, you create a place where the possibilities for them are endless.

That’s when your best Gen Y talent will have reason to stay.

“I have a fear of staying more than 3 years in the same company. I’m afraid that it will make me complacent, and thus, less competitive than my peers. At mid-20s, there seems to be so much more out there to see, learn, and achieve. I won’t get to do all that if I stayed in the same company forever.”

– 24-year-old at a broadcasting media company, every 20-something in your company.

Gen Ys are not driven by the same things as their seniors. They are always looking for the next big thing, but this may not be within your company. When you focus on providing them great leaders, opportunities to shine, and development for their future (which may not include your organisation), they will reward your intention to grow them by staying longer. And that’s how you keep your best Gen Ys from leaving.

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