Reap the seeds you sow: Keeping your high performers around

by Cameron Edmond10 Feb 2014
One of the trickiest tasks for HRDs is ensuring their gen-y and millennial staffers are productive, happy and not tempted to take their hard-won skills elsewhere once they realise how qualified they are. As such, organisations need to home in on what they can continue to offer this new generation of workers to keep them around and – most importantly – growing.

Frank Lonergan, chief executive of ANCILE Solutions, an enterprise learning company, stated the key to engaging, developing and ultimately keeping these employees is through just-in-time learning (JIT). Lonergan told HC this refers to learning which is done through disseminating ‘nuggets’ of information when it is needed, as opposed to lengthier training courses.

“Today’s approach to learning is much less structured than traditional learning paradigms. Large volumes of learning content are often unavailable or go out of date very quickly. In addition, new and old workers find this type of information difficult to digest,” he explained.“Your organisation should look to harness micro-learning … to break down information into digestible chunks. This practice provides for greater comprehension and more flexibility.”
Lonergan acknowledged traditional learning still has its place, but expressed a great belief in the usefulness of JIT in organisations with a youthful employee base. However, companies should ensure whatever learning structure they put in place works for the organisation.
“Ways to do this include conducting a whiteboard discussion with employees to explore “what works” for each group. Make sure there is a general understanding of the evolving state of technology and adjust your learning programs to reflect this,” he said.

Key HR takeaways
There is more to keeping your young talent around than just JIT. Lonergan advised HR keep the following in mind:
  • Work/Life Balance
    “While Generation Y is interested in securing a career, they won’t let work rule their life. They work to live rather than live to work.”
  • Workplace Culture
    “For Millennials and Gen Y social connections are a priority in their day to day lives. They want a community, not a workplace and are often looking for friends as well as colleagues.”
  • Job variety
    “Gen Y has grown up in a world of change – offering variety that has responsibility and accountability will go a long way towards helping to ensure they stick around.”
  • Management style
    “Gen Y won’t respond well to authority and control, they like openness and transparency. Offer support, mentoring, positive feedback and public recognition.”
  • Training
    “Ninety per cent of Generation Y’s who receive regular training are motivated to stay with their employer. This means training is not just a productivity tool but also one for retention.”


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