Keeping Up-and-Coming Managers

Young people tend to be more mobile than ever as a way of actively managing their careers. A survey cited by Forbes observes, for example, that 30% of companies lost 15% of their Millennial employees in the year prior to the study.

Millennials leave for more challenging responsibilities.

That’s a lot of movement. As the proportion of Millennials is rapidly growing worldwide and expected to hit half of the total workforce in 2020, it’s more important than ever to know how to motivate and keep top young managers.

Why They Go

It’s not hard to figure out what makes younger managers look elsewhere. A study by the MIT Sloan Management Review, for example, found that the number one reason younger employees leave is salary.

They have ample reason to believe that leaving companies is the way to increase their paycheck. People who stay receive an average yearly pay increase of 11%. Nice enough.

But people who leave? The salary of people with two employers rises 13%, on average, each year. And with three or more employers, the salary boost is 15% on average every year.

The second reason younger people leave is that they want more responsibility.

The study stresses, though, that these reasons and others indicate that younger employees are not necessarily unhappy with their companies. They are simply determined to manage their careers by finding greater opportunities.

How to Get Them to Stay

Once you’ve pinpointed why young managers leave, it is fairly clear how to get them to stay. Robust salary increases, perhaps to match what they might receive elsewhere, is one way.

More responsibility is another. Millennials are hungry for all the things that more responsibility brings:

  • the chance to interact with and learn from senior managers
  • challenging and stretch assignments
  • new projects.

In fact, more responsibility might make them willing to stay even if you have firm salary brackets that make large boosts unlikely.

Specific developmental paths are also highly appealing to Millennials.

Forbes also suggests that companies be proactive in communicating their benefits. Millennials are not always fully aware of the importance of using company tools to manage their health, so health benefits are particularly important.

Other items important to Millennials? One is transparency of information. This generation has grown up with information at their fingertips. They tend to be impatient about unclear procedures and company culture shrouded in secrecy.

The other is steady and constant feedback. Again, this is a reflection of their interconnectivity, not simply impatience. Many companies have instituted feedback more frequently than the standard yearly performance review. Nimbleness matters in employee feedback as well.

Worried that your talented and ambitious managers may leave? The fear is not unfounded given the frequency of Millennials leaving the workplace. They seek active management of their careers in the form of increased salary and more responsibility. The key is to provide a better overall situation that outside firms can’t. In addition, provide development paths, proactive information about company benefits, and frequent feedback.