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Retaining talent: Millennials seek leadership development, flexibility, ‘sense of purpose’

Adrian M. Reodique | Jan. 26, 2016
Deloitte survey shows that 66 percent of millennials are likely to leave their companies by 2020.

According to Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO: "A generation ago, many professionals sought long-term relationships with employers, and most would never dream of saying 'no' to supervisors who asked them to take on projects."

"Millennials are more independent and more likely to put their personal values ahead of organisational goals. They are re-defining professional success, they're proactively managing their careers, and it appears that their values do not change as they progress professionally, which could have a dramatic impact on how business is done in the future," he added.

On top of that, nine in 10 of millennials think that the success of a business does not only rely on its financial performance. Though lower than last year's 75 percent, majority of respondents (64 percent) think that businesses are still "focused on their own agenda rather than considering wider society."

In contrast with the stereotype, the survey said millennials are not particularly influenced by the "buzz" around an organisation. They also have traditional priorities like having their own homes, a partner for life, and financial security that will allow them to save adequate money for their retirement.  

"Millennials place great importance on their organisation's purpose beyond financial success, remaining true to their values and opportunities for professional development. Leaders need to demonstrate they appreciate these priorities, or their organisations will continue to be at risk of losing a large percentage of their workforce," said Renjen.  

Bridging the gap

Deloitte survey shows that employers who provide leadership development opportunities, mentorship, work-life balance, work flexibility, control over their careers; as well as foster a culture of reward through open communications, and displays ethical behaviour and inclusiveness, will be the most successful in retaining millennial staff.

To retain millennial talents, the survey suggests that businesses must firstly identify, understand, and align with the values of millennials. Additionally, businesses must work on satisfying their demands, and support their ambitions and professional development.

Mentorship also contributes to the loyalty of an employee. According to the survey, employees who intend to stay in the company for more than five years are likely to have a mentor (68 percent).

In the SEA region, employees who will stay more than five years in the company said that their organisations provide a lot of training to those who wished to take on leadership roles.

Recognising their good work is also important for millennials. According to Seng: "Millennials generally need to feel valued or they're likely to lose interest in their work, even if they are paid well. Local managers also say that it helps to give encouraging comments to keep them motivated, but agree that Singaporeans, and Asians in general, are less likely to pay compliments to employees even when duly deserved. Local leaders should be encouraged and reminded to give due verbal recognition for a job well done." 


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