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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Engage millennial workers with a strong development scheme 11-04

Engage millennial workers with a strong development scheme

The key to engaging millennial workers is a strong development programme, which is clearly communicated to staff, Sophie Relf says

Young people sharing a tablet
Over the last year Jobsite has been asked by multiple recruiters what millennial candidates are looking for from an employer. To help answer this we’ve conducted research with nearly 5,000 millennials to uncover exactly what they are seeking and what drives them to work everyday.
The research found that millennial workers (those aged between 18 and 31) are seeking more than money from their employers, with almost two-thirds (62 per cent) prepared to leave their jobs for reasons other than salary. In fact, the biggest driver for millennials is development opportunities. Over a third (38 per cent) would leave due to lack of opportunity and 32 per cent have chosen one organisation over another based on its professional development scheme.
After speaking to a number of HR experts, recruiters and millennial workers, we believe that a development scheme with a clear performance review process, mentorship program and regular career discussions is key to attracting, retaining and showing value to this generation of workers.
Jo Harman, head of HR at advertising agency Karmarama, has created a formal performance review process for all staff. She explained that having a median age of 28, the demands of the millennial generation are extremely important to the company.
“We use an online system that allows both parties to input their feedback, such as areas where they feel they are doing well, what they need to improve on and how they feel they are contributing to the agencies culture. This helps us to identify the employee’s motivational drivers, which guides us to create opportunities that they are seeking.”
Using the data that is collected, Jo and her team create training programmes based on the wants and needs of staff. A large proportion of Karmarama’s younger team said they would like to improve their presenting skills, leading to the creation of a unique program titled ‘communicating with impact’, which is available for all staff who want to improve and develop this skill.
She adds: “The system ensures that a formal review takes place every 12 months, with a shorter catch up every six months. This means no review is forgotten and millennial workers are given the regular feedback they need to develop without loads of paperwork to discuss their career plans.”
Frances McCord, a 26 year-old civil engineer at Atkins, says that despite the tough job market, she would never accept a role that didn’t offer the right development opportunities. She says: “Atkins provided a formal development programme, which is aligned with the Institute of Civil Engineers and will continue to help me realise my career plan of becoming a chartered engineer.”  
When going through the results of the survey with the team at Jobsite, no one was surprised that almost all millennial workers (94 per cent) state that their career path is a priority for them. Gordon Rennie, also a graduate at engineer at Atkins, believes that having a plan for your career that you and your employer are aware of is incredibly important both for individual motivation and for driving the business forward.  He says: “I’ve created a plan with the support of Atkins. As a medium-term career goal I want to gain the experience to satisfy the requirements of Chartered Engineer status from my professional institution, the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and in the long-term I am looking to advance to senior and, later, Principal Process Engineer. I believe these particular roles and this clear route for progression help to keep me motivated and enagaged within the company.”
Our research also found that twice as many millennials compared to non-millennials have a workplace mentor. Jo Harman recognises this as an interest for millennials and recently created a mentor program within the company. She says: “The programme aims to help drive integration within the agency and encourages staff to share and learn from each other’s skills. It helps give our staff responsibility for their own development and fosters the conversations between senior and junior members of staff that create better understanding and hopefully learning”.
Atkins runs a similar mentoring programme and Frances McCord has regular meetings with her mentor. “We organise quarterly meetings to discuss process and identify ‘gaps’ in my development that we then work on together. This means I always know which opportunities and experiences I need to pursue to continue developing and I can set targets for my personal development plan. I really value my sessions with my mentor - she is very supportive, and keeps me on track with my career ambitions.”
Karamarama also offers employees a wealth of ‘perks’ that range from health insurance, a pension scheme and gym membership to a subsidised staff ski trip. Jo explains that while these are important for the agencies culture and contribute to the happiness of the staff, they are not usually the reason staff are pulled or pushed to another agency. The main reason, especially amongst millennial workers, is a new opportunity or further development that Karmarama cannot offer.
Within the human resources industry, there are multiple stats that connect staff engagement to productivity. Looking at these and speaking to our HR experts we believe engaged staff will on average be 20 per cent more productive. As our research shows, the key to engaging millennial workers is a strong development programme, which is clearly communicated to staff. 

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