6 Old School Ideas to Retain Millennials

6 Old School Ideas to Retain Millennials

(Image: iStock.com/Alija)

According to the Supply Chain Digest’s 2015 3PL study, retaining and training labor ranked among the most important challenges of the previous year. The infusion and maturation of millennials in the workforce amplifies the labor issue. According to Gallup, millennials are the most likely to switch jobs and are the least likely to be engaged.  Leaders, according to Gallup, must “understand how to retain their existing millennial employees.”

Some classic leadership and business management authors have discussed employee retention techniques in the past. Time-honored thoughts and attitudes have influenced generations of managers when it comes to retaining capable employees. You must adjust your thinking in a world where 71% of young employees are reported to be either not engaged or actively disengaged at work. To combat this generational trend, we need to address two sides of the solution. It takes a blend of time-honored wisdom and a realistic awareness of current social conditions to retain the modern day workforce.

“Remember the goose and the golden egg.”

The aggressive pursuit of the golden eggs before they were ready to be collected killed the goose. Stephen Covey noted that the most successful managers among us are able to get quality production from our workers while preserving the safety and morale of the staff.

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.”

Covey wrote that thoughtful managers would not think of treating customers in a manner that would burn them out on their products or services in the short term. Why, then, would you do that to the people who are in the best position to satisfy your customers?

“Abilities wither under criticism, they blossom under praise.”

Dale Carnegie spoke about the importance of supporting staff to keep them performing above the standards set. The Gallup summary states that “60% of millennials say they are open to a different job opportunity.” It makes sense to help them blossom under your praise before they find that different job opportunity.

“If you want to improve a person in a certain respect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics.”

Carnegie’s statement is much older than the Expectancy theory, but the point is clear. Do whatever you can to show the pathway to success for the 29% who truly care about their work.

“How are you able to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant?”

Peter Drucker believed that management should get to know their people and build the best team possible. Each of them has something to bring to the table, but what counts is getting the most out of those talents. You may not be in a position to choose everybody, but you are definitely in a position to develop everybody.

“Decide if you are really providing your people the means to achieve maximum effectiveness.”

Drucker issued the challenge to look at your team and determine if you are truly rewarding desired behaviors. Are you rewarding people to compete against one another? If so, you may miss out on the great collaborations that the team could generate.


This process may seem a little “touchy-feely”, but we must accept that times constantly change and that the most intelligent baby boomers created environments for motivated and talented young “Gen Xers” to thrive during the 90s. I wish you much success in recruiting, developing, and retaining, the strong young talent you in your work environment.