Monday, March 21, 2011

Retaining Millenial Employees

Wise words from Clay Shirky on retaining millenials. It's a pet peave of mine when companies wait to promote or pay market rate to employees once the employee has already found another job. If you really valued that employee, you'd be pre-emptive. The thing that has really changed is that the costs of searching for a new job, or more accurately, being referred to a new job through your social networks, has dropped dramatically.

If I’m a 25-year-old and I’m sitting at my desk thinking, “I’ve been doing this job for two
years, it’s time to look around for something else. I wonder what’s next for me,” it would be
easier for me to find a better job in a different city, working for a different company, than
to go into my own company and say, “Where’s a new job for me? How do I get a promotion?” 
In part because companies just make the internal career path harder for all kinds of reasons—they don’t publish it as clearly, middle management is often worried about people trying to rise through the ranks. People think, “Oh, I can keep them there for a while because they’re useful in that position.” 
If the search costs for finding a new job are easier outside your company than inside your
company, you’re communicating something to them about loyalty as well. That’s another
place where a manager can say, “Look, here’s how career paths go at this institution. Here
are the skills you need, [and] here are the different departments we have.” 
But it’s culturally very hard, because it accepts the fact that the employees who are on your
front line, who may well be your best next employees in higher positions, have a much
greater ability to search for opportunity than they used to. And so you can’t rely on them
sticking around for however long you want them to stick around before you promote them.