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Millennial retention: 5 ways to keep young talent

(MoneyWatch) Recently, a study conducted by Gen Y consulting firm Millennial Branding and career site found that millennials -- loosely defined as those born in the 80s and 90s -- are some of the toughest talent to retain. Their research found that almost a third of companies responded losing 15 percent or more of their workers in this category within the past year. One out of 10 of those companies said they thought they jumped ship to join a competitor's ranks.

Many responded that hiring new Generation Y talent was extremely expensive, with over half of employers responding that it takes between three and seven weeks to fully on-board someone in this group into a new position. The best solution, of course, is to retain rising young stars in the first place. But how? Here are 5 suggestions from Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of "Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success."

Give back

Millennials want to do well (financially) while doing good (for their community), says Schawbel: "Only 10% of companies have a community service program, and Millennials are all about giving back and turn away from greedy companies."

Embrace entrepreneurship

Schawbel says Millennials want to be part of a company that will help them launch new products or improve current ones. "Quicken Loans, for example, has 'Bullet Time', which is a weekly four-hour period every Monday in which employees can work on any personal project," notes Schawbel.

Allow flexible schedules

Much has said about flexible work schedules making a workplace family-friendly, but are they Gen Y-friendly too? Schawbel says yes. "Millennials don't want to be forced to work at cubicles from 9 to 5 each day. They don't see a point to being in the office and want to work from home whenever possible," says Schawbel, who notes that American Express, who he collaborates with, has "BlueWork," a program designed to support this type of work environment.

Support their internal career

Almost one-third of Millennials that left their job gave getting a better offer from another company as their main reason for leaving. "They don't want to be stuck in the same job for two years and want to learn other areas of your company," says Schawbel. Nurturing existing talent (and promoting when possible) can build employee retention, particularly among Millennials.

Mentor them

Shawbel commends PepsiCo for its "Conn3ct" program, which connects executive sponsors with Millennial mentees. "If they don't have mentors, they get lost and aren't as engaged," says Schawbel. "With mentors, they feel like the company cares enough about them to invest in their career."

Does your company have an issue with Millennial retention?

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Joxemai

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