ATD Blog

3 Reasons We Leave Organizations – From the Mind of a Millennial

Thursday, September 8, 2016

It’s no secret by now that Millennials are becoming the predominant population in the global workforce. In fact, according to a study conducted by Millennial Branding, 40 percent of companies currently employ 50 or more Millennial workers. More and more companies are hiring young workers for their innovative mindsets and fresh perspectives.

But there is one problem: According to the 2016 Millennial Survey conducted by Deloitte, 66 percent expect to leave their current organizations by 2020, costing employers hundreds of thousands of dollars in rehiring, training, and lost productivity trends. Why are these employees leaving and what can managers do to reverse the trend? 

As a Millennial myself, I’ve gotten the opportunity to engage with my peer network and review the latest research studies to find out some of the biggest reasons our generation “plays hopscotch” when it comes to jobs and careers. Based on my research, here are three reasons Millennials leave organizations and what managers can do to boost retention rates. 

Lack of Purpose Beyond Profit  

According to a research report developed by Grovo, 75 percent of Millennials believe businesses are too fixated on their own agenda, and not focused enough using their capabilities to benefit society. This statistic is also supported by Deloitte’s research. While our generation recognizes that financial success is critical in an organization, it’s not enough on its own. 

What can managers do? Communicate your greater purpose as an organization and “paint the picture” on how the four Ps (profit, people, products, and purpose) work together to form a successful business model.  


Minimal Leadership Development Opportunities 

Deloitte’s Millennial Survey revealed that 71 percent of those likely to leave their current organization in the next two years are unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed. Our generation recognizes that we may not have the experience of formal leaders and may not be able to be placed in a leadership position right away, but would like to see more initiatives dedicated to developing our skills as leaders (both formal and non-formal) in the workplace. 

What can managers do? Start taking the time to develop Ground Floor Leaders and empower employees to lead one other in the workplace. Put programs in place that help employees develop themselves as leaders.  


Poor Training Programs 

Recent studies have shown that training and development is the #1 perk Millennials value in a potential employer. Our generation is eager to grow and develop our skills to add value to the workplace and improve ourselves as individuals and professionals. We get excited about opportunities to challenge ourselves and go beyond our comfort zones. When organizations don’t offer programs that enable growth and professional development, it may lead Millennials to look elsewhere for a better opportunity.

What can managers do? Training programs don’t have to be fancy and have a high cost attached to them. As a manager, you can initiate your own informal learning and development strategies within your own team. Take the time to intentionally discuss growth and development opportunities with your people, and especially the Millennials.

Need some more ideas on how to create the ideal millennial workplace? Check out this article for some other suggestions on perks that our generation finds attractive in an organization. While this article has focused on the reasons why Millennials leave organizations and what managers can do to improve retention rates, don’t forget that these are great strategies to use to retain ALL your employees, regardless of their generation. Studies have shown that all employees appreciate a company with a driven purpose, excellent leadership development programs, and leading training and development strategies.

Consider these suggestions as action items to improve your overall employee retention strategy and build a multi-generational workforce that is engaged, productive, and results-driven—and watch the success unfold!

About the Author

Dan Schwartz is an HR communications manager with BKD CPAs and Advisors. In his role, Dan is focused on executing communication initiatives for BKD to support the firm’s culture and communicate the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). He is responsible for developing, writing and overseeing the release of internal and external communication documents and programs that promote the firm's key people initiatives. Dan has published articles, books, videos, and podcasts related to career development and leadership development. He is the author of TD at Work: Managing as a Ground Floor Leader, Winning Strategies: Achieving Success in the Classroom, Career and Life and is a contributing author to Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing a Job You'll Love.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.