Why They Quit: How To Retain Young Talent

As vaccines are being distributed, there is hope the worst of the pandemic is nearing an end. But if research is any indication, another kind of crisis may just be heating up.

As SHRM defines it, a “turnover tsunami” is brewing, with more than half of employees surveyed planning to look for a new job this year.

Employers were experiencing high rates of turnover prior to the pandemic. In fact, voluntary turnover had been steadily rising since 2010, and was cited as a chief global concern by both the UN and World Economic Forum.

When the pandemic hit, quit rates reached their lowest level in nine years – and now they’re bouncing back. Just this week, I’ve heard from three executives lamenting the loss of young talent.

The fact remains that professionals under the age of 39 account for more than half of all voluntary separations.

Why?

Increased employee turnover is the outcome of a shift in workforce needs and values, and it’s a shift that is here to stay.

This is a topic I’ve researched a great detail and the answer is quite complex. In brief, here are two reasons why young professionals are three times more likely than other generations to quit:

Inclusion

We’re observing an ever-widening gap between twentieth century managed organizations and twenty-first century raised workers. Young professionals don’t understand the management processes and hierarchies common throughout the past century.

These generations have only known a world powered by innovation, collaboration, globalization, instant gratification, knowledge, acceptance, and access. They struggle to comprehend why decisions can’t be made on the fly, why they can’t have a seat at the decision-making table, and why it’s always been done ‘that way.’

Stability

Millennials came of age during the Great Recession—the worst economic decline our country had experienced in 70 years. Gen Z has come of age during the most disruptive         decade in history.

These experiences have shaped the career trajectories of young professionals in more ways than one. Young people seek employers that tap into their values for education and collaboration, provide a sense of security, and support them financially and emotionally.

The loyalty of young professionals will waiver when they believe the business has no ambition beyond profit, or the opportunity to develop their skills plateaus or is non-existent.

More often than not, the values and needs of this generation aren’t aligning with their employee experiences. Increased employee turnover is the outcome of a shift in workforce needs and values, and it’s a shift that is here to stay.

Create a place where young people can be challenged and contribute in meaningful ways and turnover will decrease.

Today’s young people face enormous challenges due to globalization, new technologies, displacement, shrinking civic space, changing labor markets, and the impact of climate change, yet their participation is often ignored and overlooked.

If you want to know what the future will bring, ask a young person. If you want to engage young workers or build a better talent pipeline, invite young people to help.

Help is wanted – and needed – to make talent a priority and put an end to the workforce crisis. Don’t go it alone. Ask young people to help!

Contact me to discuss a strategic approach to retain young talent in your workforce.

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