Talent Management in the Millennial Era (and Beyond)

By Christian Golden, PhD, August 1, 2018

It’s a cliché, but the young and the restless really are precisely that. This is especially true in today’s events industry culture, where fast voluntary turnover—defined as workers leaving their position after less than a year on the job—is a growing phenomenon.

What’s happening?

According to data by the workforce research arm of Equifax, nearly half of employees who left their jobs in 2013 did so in the first six months, and more than half left within the first year. Crucially, this wasn’t due to financial factors, since nearly as many departing employees did not leave for greater pay as did. Instead, workplace culture seems to play an outsized role in turnover and therefore retention.

Data from 2018 has found that the turnover rate continues to increase, with 1 in 4 employees leaving their jobs this year. The study also found that over three-quarters of that turnover, and therefore about  75% of the $600 billion in turnover costs to companies in 2018, is preventable by employers. Though voluntary turnover can be seen as a positive sign of health for the economy, companies should monitor these developments so they can manage the rate at which they must invest in rehiring and training. But despite the facts on the ground, the American Management Association found that most companies aren’t concerned about losing their employees.

Who (or what) is Responsible?

Blame for declining employee retention is often passed around, from HR executives to line managers to the training team and so on down the line. But there is no single cause of voluntary turnover, and so no one culprit. Instead, turnover is driven by multiple factors, with employees leaving because they care about:

> Work-life balance: more favorable and flexible schedules and shorter commute times
> Career development opportunities: chances to grow along a preferred career path
> Proper management: professional and supportive managers
> Personal well-being: individual or family health issues

Perhaps surprisingly, in 2018, all of these factors account for more turnover than compensation and benefits—something event companies, CVBs and DMOs are surely noticing.

Talent Management

What must change in order for employers to reduce the costly and growing cycle of rehiring? The answer is that companies must reinvest in their most valuable asset—their people. Talent management includes a broad set of practices for cultivating and retaining your best talent by investing in their long-term satisfaction and growth within your organization.

Modern talent management begins with mindful recruitment. Today’s recruitment strategy should aim for a seamless integration of the incoming talent and existing workplace culture. And in addition to sourcing new outside talent, smart organizations are concentrating their efforts internally to cultivate the potential already on board.

Onboarding efforts should also focus on offering engaging, often immersive experiences that invite new folks into an active relationship with the organization’s culture and values.

Another best practice involves upgrading employees’ skill sets through structured programs that allow workers to participate in defining their own roles. Personalized trainings and hands-on relationships with managers who provide timely feedback are critical tools here. Something else to be mindful of is the poor track record of the drawn-out classroom training sessions of antiquity. Generations raised in a digital environment engage and retain information more effectively with video- and social learning modalities like those offered by Deloitte and Cisco.

Our main takeaway is that targeted talent management practices like those we discussed are among the most effective tools for combatting voluntary turnover rates that will end up costing your organization in the long-run. Retaining Millennials and Gen-Zers requires helping them to achieve their potential for job satisfaction, performance, and professional growth.


Christian Golden, PhD, writes about tips and trends in digital marketing and social media for TrustRadius. He is a philosopher by day who loves teaching and digging into the big questions. His extracurricular interests include making music, reading comics, watching (really old) movies, and being in the great outdoors.

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