Why HR Will Take The Blame For Losing Millennial Talent

At least it could be if  you aren’t ready for the millennial storm that’s coming. You might be thinking “but why HR?”.  By 2025, it’s predicted that millennials will make up more than 75% of the workforce. Companies who aren’t ready are in for some stormy seas. Chances are you’ve already been in a meeting or two where a discussion of attracting and retaining the millennial generation has come up or been the central topic. You might be revamping your training to make it more engaging, interactive, or collaborative. Or you might be connecting with the future workforce with fancy new videos that show how exciting it can be to work at your organization. All the while you’re a little nervous because you know they have flighty feet and in some circles a bad reputation. Man Overboard!

Still you may be wondering “okay, but why HR?”.

Here’s why you might end up in the water. Because like a surrogate, you only get millennials through the door. Then you hand them off to their ‘Master and Commander’. Except they don’t get Russell Crowe, they get ‘Captain Ron’ because today’s millennial isn’t satisfied with their leadership and more than 50% of them meet with their manager “less than monthly” (a point that has significant ties to engagement and performance). Maybe you are thinking “that’s not my problem, I’ve given them to their new boss.” but the reality is, that this group of disconnected, aloof leadership that spends more time outside of their department than in, isn’t taking responsibility for losing talent. Hardly. When things fall apart they’re thinking about books like “good to great” and diagnosing the problem with having the wrong people on the bus. After a few cycles of this, someone has to be accountable and more than likely this will fall back on who is sourcing candidates and training new hires to begin with. That’s when they collectively pick up the hatchet and start hacking at the rigging. Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed leaders at every level give the advice to “hire right”, which isn’t bad advice, accept they would say it while they came into work late, took long lunches, left early and simultaneously walked employee after employee out the door.

What HR Can Done From a leadership perspective, what has been tolerated in the past won’t be tolerated in the future. Research shows that millennials anticipate having more jobs in their career than previous generations. They also expect greater flexibility in their work and more of a ‘mentor-coach’ relationship with supervisors. They demand constant feedback founded on knowledge and insight that leads to personal growth and development.  They want to add value through their work and be part of something more than simply a 9-5 job. If this doesn’t describe the leadership behaviors of your organization or the structures you have in place today then take a deep breath and roll up your sleeves. There is a lot of merit to overhauling learning to make it more interactive, more engaging and more digestible. But in parallel to what will attract incoming millennial talent, HR would be wise to look at development efforts for existing leadership. I recommend you ask these three questions

1) Does my leadership development program drive individual accountability?

2) Does this program equip leaders with the ability to change mindsets? and

3) Does this program enable leaders to pin-point how and when to be engaged?

Take great care, HR. There’s a storm coming, batten down the hatches.

Greer Method Complete Coaching provides one on one coaching for executives and business owners. Through expert coaches, habit locking technology, and proven processes we help leaders create, manage, and sustain personal and professional performance. Jared J. Greer is the founder of Greer Method Complete Coaching. He is an executive coach, 6-time Ironman finisher, marathoner, ultra-marathoner, husband, and father of four.

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