Why Companies Are Having Gen Y Retention Problems

Gen Y is typically identified as being a fickle and wavering group of individuals. Here today, gone tomorrow. On to the next job. Attributed to becoming bored, seeking enjoyment or following the road, Millennials are known for moving on. In fact, many of our studies show that millennials leave their corporations at the two year mark. In comparison, Gen X stays about five years and Baby Boomers stay about seven years at a company before leaving.

What is the cause of all of this? What are some of the reasons that Gen Y has seemingly lost their loyalty to long-term job commitment? Through experience and observation, these seem to suggest some causes:

  • An unstable economy has caused Gen Y to devalue the tenure of a position. Even if you stayed with the same company for 30 years, what’s the payoff for remaining when benefits, pensions and investments are not guaranteed?
  • The company gets what it gives. As companies become less loyal to their employees, employees become less loyal to the companies. Gen Y especially sees disloyalty as a major red flag and a cue to exit.
  • Millennials crave exploring the next opportunity to discover, create and expand. Sometimes called dreamers; this generation has an entrepreneurial nature that searches for freedom, limitlessness and fulfillment.
  • Suppressive, rigid, traditional corporate cultures don’t match the mindset of this generation. Gen Y workers are less tolerant of work environments that don’t reflect personal values, opinions and/or feelings toward change.
  • Much of this generation is still in search of the purpose of life. Either because they don’t know what they want to do when they grow up or they aren’t sure how to get there. Sometimes they’re just passing through in search of where they fit.
  • Gen Y is an entitled group. This group was raised to expect, receive and question everything. This sense of privilege has caused some in this group to lack patience in developing professionally, an unconcern with paying their dues and a different perception of how “work” should work.

What’s your opinion? Have you seen this happening in your organization? In what ways does your company counteracts these reasons for Gen Y’s lack of loyalty?

- This post written by Carrie Bowe, an Intern at Millennial Branding

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3 comments on “Why Companies Are Having Gen Y Retention Problems

  1. Nice article. I think gen y has a “grass is alwsys greener” mentality. They see so many successes broadcast and spotlighted but rarely see the effort and traction that was required.

  2. I understand Edddy’s comments already listed. I even agree to a large extent.
    But, there’s another component that can change the dynamic in a workplace. I’ve worked in two dramatically different environments to experience some of the points expressed in the article listed. Right now, even though I’ve been with the same company over twenty years, I’m now seeing the shift from a family owned company to a very structured large corporation. I know there’s no justice in over generalizing but, the reality is, the diference I’m seeing is the difference between night & day. Unfortunately it gets more discouraging on an almost weekly basis. There are several types of people that express themselves and perceive their work places through various spectacles. This requires the need for employers of various sizes to follow some simple principles that allow people of various types to succeed without the need to conform who they are as individuals. The balance is to promote creativity that made this country great. Unfortunately, without academia which has abandon creative thinking in the classroom and is not preparing the upcoming generations to value life beyond time and limiting thinking to value success through an ambitious bank roll. Facts need to point to truth. Truth is being reduced to something relative instead of something to embrace and worth fight for with passion. Your truth can contradict facts and that’s ok! The work place needs to have structure that will not compromise the facts or truth for profits. If our interests seeking to balance the needs of customers, internal customers and the companies that serve them, it will promote the right thinking. This is completely lost in many establishments. This should start in the home. Instead, parents are commonly pointing to “what a child enjoys and pleases them” without regard to perseverance and long suffering. We need to be reminded of how character is developed. Until we change our value systems Millennial’s, Generation’s X, Y and Z’s will continue to move toward what they want instead of what is right. There are bigger questions in this dialogue than the article is willing to surface. But, we have to be looking for answers before we are going to accept them.

  3. Steph Sharma on said:

    Thank you for the post and summary! From what I have learned across studies and trends, I agree with your list. I might also add that potentially we have two issues related to management and leadership that are more prevalent today than in previous generations: 1) Organizations have lost sight of their mission/purpose as part of our economic downturn and pressure to focus on profit – therefore they have “lost touch” with this key motivator for the Millennials, 2) Tolerance for managers that don’t have the talent to manage at the individual motivation level, has increased during these times of reduced voluntary turnover and pressures to reduce turnover overall and at the same time we have a generation of highly educated, talented workers entering jobs overqualified. Millennials who are over-qualified (but willing and appreciative of their having the job!) and report to a manager that should not be manager are likely to become disengaged or disenfranchised and leave.
    While I think your post points out that causes for Millennial turnover is likely unique to the turnover of other generations, I wanted to share an article and research that outlines that turnover at this ‘age’ within a generation is not unique: http://www.strategy-business.com/article/12102
    One reason is that young people of every generation change jobs more frequently than older people. Boomers changed jobs when they were in their 20s more frequently than they did when they were in their 30s and 40s (or 50s and 60s), and we saw the same pattern with Gen Xers. And there is no evidence to show that the pattern is changing with millennials.

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