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2 Keys to Millennial Retention: Personality Assessments and People Analytics


Tue May 03 2016

2 Keys to Millennial Retention: Personality Assessments and People Analytics

“At least 40 percent of Millennials see themselves staying at their current organization for a minimum of nine years”.

—Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson (2016) 


I know what you are thinking: “That can’t be right. Millennials see themselves staying with their current employer for nine years?” Indeed, many people think that Millennials are only focused on job hopping and taking the next excellent adventure, but it is time to dispel these generational generalities.

Myths vs. Reality

There is little doubt that Millennials are smart, talented, and ambitious. What’s more, they are often misunderstood by those of us responsible for selecting, hiring, developing, and retaining them. Today’s workforce is more diverse, complex, and challenging than ever before. Over the next 10 years, organizations big and small may succeed or fail based on how they embrace Millennial workers. 

In their recent book What Millennials Want from Work: How to Maximize Engagement in Today’s Workforce, Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson dispel many of the stereotypes about Millennials, such as that they are inherently disloyal to their employers. Deal and Levenson studied 25,000 Millennials in 22 countries, and 78 percent held professional, managerial, or executive positions. Through our surveys, interviews, and focus groups, they found that many Millennials “are perfectly willing—even eager—to stay.” 

The authors go on to say that “...at least 40 percent of Millennials see themselves staying at their current organization for a minimum of nine years.” In fact, like many of us in the workforce, Deal and Levenson indicate that Millennials “are concerned about financial security, and they believe work-life integration is easier to attain when you stay with one organization for many years.” 

To drive business forward in 2016 and beyond, organizations need to modify the way they inspire, motivate, and connect with Millennials—increasing engagement and retention. Adopting a different approach to understanding what drives Millennials and how to engage, lead, and work with them will positively contribute to your corporate culture, strategic direction, and bottom line. As part of this unique approach, it’s helpful to dig deep to uncover Millennials’ motivations, natural tendencies, and personalities.


Enter Assessments and Analytics

Valid and reliable assessments enable organizations to assemble the building blocks that can help reduce turnover, increase job satisfaction, improve alignment with career expectations, and increase effectiveness across multi-generational teams. Once managers have a unique personality profile for individual employees, they can leverage people analytics to align the fit between each employee and their work environment.  

Effectively pairing information obtained from personality assessments with people analytics presents talent leaders with four ways to reduce Millennial turnover and improve long-term organizational fit. 

Job Fit, Customized Onboarding, and Team Fit 

Armed with the personality profile in a people analytics platform, you can ensure a tight fit with the first position a Millennial accepts as she enters the organization. This will be critical to establishing the proper connection and foundation. After all, every Millennial wants to make sure that they are making a meaningful contribution. Talent leaders can use the people analytics platform to formulate a customized onboarding plan that will point to specific competencies that can help the employee build on or strengthen. In addition, managers can start to predict the critical fit with their team. 

Career Path 


Many Millennials are interested in finding that “perfect first job” while also planning their next career move. A people analytics platform powered by personality data can be used to predict which future positions in the organization are a good fit with the Millennials skills and align with his career interests.  This may help the Millennial adopt a long-term vision of future without the need to job hop. 

Flexible Work Environment 

Deal and Levenson found that among their Millennials respondents, 95 percent said that they wanted the option to occasionally work from home or some other location other than the office. Employers will increase their confidence in supporting this flexibility if they can predict the degree to which an individual is capable of working in an unstructured environment. Again, the combination of a personality profile and people analytics can reduce the risk associated with a flexible work environment by predicting the level of structure and guidance the Millennial employee will require to be productive when working off-site. 

Management Style 

Dean and Levenson explain that “managers have a substantial role to play in Millennials’ understanding that staying with the organization may be in their best long-term interests.” They add that much depends on the manager’s ability to adopt engaging management practices that connect with Millennials. 

Personality profiles combined with the power of people analytics can be used by the manager to better understand the motivations of their Millennial team members and how to foster deeper engagement. This combination will allow the manager to create a game plan or road map that will help pinpoint the optimal management strategies that contribute to a long-term commitment and mutual advantage for all.

The Future

As Millennials start to become the majority of the workforce, there is potential for a bright future. The path may have a few bumps, but there is major motivation to make their transition into leadership roles seamless and meaningful. Prior to making the offer to your next Millennial, consider the benefits associated with proper job placement, onboarding, and team fit, combined with proactive career planning—all in a flexible work environment with managers who are truly tuned into Millennials.

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