There’s been a lot of talk about Gen Y’s and Millennials’ in general, but one topic that stands out to me, is how tough they are to hold on to!! Mix this with the high turnover we regularly see within the digital space and this has potential to create big challenges. Statistics show that it is very rare for Millennials to stay within their digital positions for more than 3 years and a young person who has stayed in their role for 18 months is considered a long stander. This statistic is also almost true to all Digital agency employees.
So what does today’s young digital talent really want!?
This question is nearly as difficult to answer as that of Mel Gibson’s movie “What Woman Want”. Will we ever know? Well we can certainly try!
In order to figure out what today’s young talent wants, I’ve gone to them directly surveying several of my young candidates asking the question many hiring and HR managers fail to: “What would make you want to stay in your current role”?
The most compelling statement I received was to “Give us a reason to stay”. Young people are inundated with temptation during the early stages of their careers including international travel, further study, alternate roles and even a change in mind of career or industry. As an employer, you need to ask yourself what your digital agency can offer that other agencies can’t.
The most common theme that young people want is to have a clear plan of where they are headed. Millennials aren’t the most patient generation so when it comes to crafting a clear career path for them it is specifically important to align their personal goals with your company values and for them to see the potential for growth. If there is no clear path every day is going to seem like Groundhog Day and they will eventually move on to an agency that can offer them future growth. It’s very important to have action plans in place, as Millennials want the opportunity to rise up quickly. They are aware and willing to perform well, provided they see the training and mentorship opportunities, and have genuinely bought into your company’s vision.
Talented individuals are also very aware of their talent and they are looking for agencies willing to invest in them and recognize their hard work! When dealing with Millennials something that can be very easily overlooked is praise. This proved to be a very important theme in responses I received and their message was clear. If you don’t appreciate your employees, they will find another agency that will.
The suggestions above may seem like very simple and obvious solutions to retain top talent, however you would be surprised at how many agencies think they are doing the most they can but are in actuality missing one or many key elements in the equation. Now on the other hand of the spectrum, if you happen to be over achieving the suggestions above and would like to take your retention rates to the next level, start thinking about perks!
Perks, oh the perks I’ve heard of in agency land!
Us young folk love, and I mean LOVE perks. My experience of working with a lot of today’s digital agencies has exposed me to some truly amazing workplace perks! From “doona days”, summer Fridays, fully paid gym memberships, flexible working time and place, birthday days off, the most amazing workspaces, the list goes on, and today’s agencies that are successful at retaining talent are constantly finding new ways to innovate to attract these individuals.
The most successful perks I have seen that resonate exceptionally well with young talent are incentivised perks, perks you have to work for.
The best agency incentive I have heard of comes from Host, an agency we work with, who has offices in Sydney and Singapore. Along with an amazing retention rate for their staff, Host awards staff who have been with the agency for over 3 years with a “Host Sabbatical”. This is an opportunity to take an extra three weeks paid leave and $2,000 to pursue a lifelong ambition. Some recent sabbaticals have included, cycling 11340km from Adelaide to Melbourne in 20 days and kicking off a (second) music career as a solo recording artist in Europe
xAs much as young candidates enjoy staying around for pool tables and beer fridges in the office, incentivized perks take rewards & recognition to a new level. Young people are more likely to stick around and work for their perks through exceptional work or from earning their stripes within a business.
The bottom-line here for agencies to remember is that talk is sweet, but actions really do speak louder than words. Don’t just promise career progression but deliver on this and make it a clear path with actions and a plan in place. If you want your young talent to stick around for longer than 12 months give them a reason to stay!
Michaela Kennedy is our Nakama Sydney Social Media & Digital Client Services Consultant. If you’re looking for a new role, or for help resourcing your Social Media team, Michaela can be reached +61 (0) 432 220 289 or email@example.com