What Keeps Millennials From Job-Hopping?

June 4, 2015 8:58 pm

By Barbara Frankel

Photo by Shutterstock

Photo by Shutterstock

More optimistic workers, especially Millennials, are looking at all their options – including new employers, according to a recent Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study. And what counts most for them is trust that their senior management is respectful and inclusive.

“An improved economy may give workers the confidence to seek out opportunities that they wouldn’t have before. This might increase job satisfaction as workers find positions that better fit their needs, whether it is advancing their career, more pay, or other benefits,” said SHRM researcher Christina Lee in an article. SHRM surveyed 600 randomly selected employees in November 2014.

The survey showed that 86% of all U.S. employees said they were satisfied with their jobs in 2014, an improvement of 5 percentage points over 2013. SHRM said the last time it had job satisfaction at this level was in 2009.

The most important factor they cited in job satisfaction was respectful treatment of all employees – rated very important by almost 75% of respondents. Trust between employees and senior management rated second at 64%.

Pay was less important. That is especially true for Millennials, according to recent Pew research.  Only 19% said high pay was “extremely important” while 50% said a job they enjoy was most critical.

Referencing younger workers, SHRM’s Lee stated: “What’s important to employees now is a collaborative environment that encourages feedback and interaction among co-workers and between employees and their supervisors.”

With this data in mind, what can companies do to get the clear message across to Millennials and all employees that they have respectful and inclusive atmospheres?

• Involve senior leadership with employees and in diversity messaging. Analysis of the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity shows increasing prevalence of the CEO and senior leaders meeting with resource-group members, serving as cross-cultural mentors, and visibly communicating the important of diversity to business goals.  Ninety-two % of the CEOs of Top 50 companies meet regularly with employee-resource groups, more than double the percentage in 2005.

Senior Leadership Involvement


Top 10 Top 50
ERG sponsor 58% 41%
Cross-cultural mentor 67% 90%
CEO chairs diversity council 62% 80%

• Uphold stated values and have a reputation as a good citizen. Recent academic research links a company’s ability to recruit the most desirable talent to its reputation as a good corporate citizen. And the research finds prospective employees, especially Millennials, often look at corporate codes of conduct and stated values – and how they are enforced.

“Gen Y’ers are very interested in this. We find they check this out before they decide,” said Karyn Twaronite, Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer at EY, No. 4 on the 2015 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity.

EY’s Global Code of Conduct is shared with all 183,185 employees as they are hired. Everyone at the manger and above level must sign annually that they have read the document and are committed to it.

“That’s incredibly important because there is human behavior and science around signing your name,” Twaronite said.

“We have a global code of business that really outlines in very specific terms how employees interact with each other, with suppliers, vendors and chief stakeholders. It’s how we respect and value each other,” said Belinda Grant-Anderson, Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion, AT&T, No. 7.

All AT&T employees have to view the code and acknowledge that they read it and understand it. Supervisors also have to acknowledge that their employees are current on ethics and all relevant trainings, Grant-Anderson said.