Employee Retention: Y You Need a Strategy


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Employee reten­tion has become a com­mon topic in call cen­ters as the econ­omy starts to improve. Accord­ing to a 2011 sur­vey included in an arti­cle writ­ten by Cal­abrio, 70 per­cent of Gen­er­a­tion Y con­tact cen­ter agents are con­tem­plat­ing leav­ing their cur­rent role when the econ­omy improves.

In addi­tion to agents leav­ing for higher pay­ing jobs, Gen Y is moti­vated by bet­ter perks and ben­e­fits and more oppor­tu­ni­ties for advancement.

If you’re not already con­vinced your efforts need to lie in employee reten­tion, con­sider this: the Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics reported that employ­ees aged 25–34 stayed on the job 3.1 years on aver­age com­pared to baby boomers who stayed 10 years. Are you pre­pared to retain your top Gen Y talent?

Below are top strate­gies to get employee reten­tion efforts rolling:

Get to Know Gen Y

Every gen­er­a­tion has unique char­ac­ter­is­tics in the way they view the world and how they oper­ate. Below are Gen Y char­ac­ter­is­tics to help you adjust the way you man­age this group:

Gen Y Wants Fre­quent Com­mu­ni­ca­tion: Accord­ing to a sur­vey of Gen Y, 35% want to com­mu­ni­cate with their man­ager sev­eral times a day. The report from this sur­vey says, “They seek man­agers who are will­ing to let them fig­ure out their own strate­gies for get­ting the job done while at the same time being approach­able and avail­able to pro­vide advice, assis­tance, and support.”

Gen Y Needs to Feel Val­ued: Gen Yers are just start­ing their careers and they want to know they have the skills to suc­ceed and that their work mat­ters. This gen­er­a­tion is used to con­stant feed­back, so they will crave it from their manager.

Gen Y Wants Men­tors: Gen Y wants to learn from their man­agers. They want their man­ager to share their knowl­edge. Are there quick tips you can share on a weekly basis?

Employee reten­tion takes get­ting to know your staff.

Appeal to Gen Y Strengths

Now that you’re a lit­tle more famil­iar with Gen Y, uncover strengths you can use to the company’s advan­tage. Accord­ing to an arti­cle from Melissa Kovace­vic, Gen Y employ­ees have high integrity, the abil­ity to pri­or­i­tize and deliver results, and tech­ni­cal skills. How can you make the most of these strengths? What addi­tional tasks can you assign Gen Y employees?

For exam­ple, if an employee exhibits strength in under­stand­ing the soft­ware you use in the call cen­ter, empower him or her to men­tor new employ­ees. This will reduce your work-load train­ing new agents and make cur­rent agents feel like val­ued mem­bers of the company.

Cre­ate a Flex­i­ble Work Environment

The work envi­ron­ment is extremely impor­tant to the morale and pro­duc­tiv­ity of employ­ees. What fac­tors can you adjust to help Gen Y to be suc­cess­ful? Accord­ing to the sur­vey of Gen Y, “Work­place fac­tors that are most impor­tant to Gen Y are work­ing with a man­ager they respect and peo­ple that they enjoy, and strik­ing a bal­ance between per­sonal and work obligations.”

Under­stand­ing these aspects is the first step. The next step is to see what you can do to help employ­ees cre­ate their ideal work envi­ron­ment. Encour­age employ­ees to get to know each other. Try pair­ing two employ­ees to take a lunch break at the same time. This may be an oppor­tu­nity to start a men­tor­ship program.

Offer Com­pany Perks

Many perks come at a min­i­mal cost to a com­pany, but speak vol­umes to employ­ees. What kind of perks would appeal to your Gen Y staff?

“Employee of the Month” – Gen Y likes to feel appre­ci­ated as men­tioned in the “Get to Know Gen Y” sec­tion above. Start an “employee of the month” pro­gram to spot­light top performers.

Tuition Reim­burse­ment – Gen Y looks for oppor­tu­ni­ties to grow and advance their skills. Inform employ­ees about train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties or tuition reim­burse­ment pro­grams. Employ­ees will feel you are invested in them and they will learn new skills to apply to their jobs.

Work­ing Lunches –Offer a free lunch once a month or once a quar­ter, what­ever is fea­si­ble for your com­pany. This gives employ­ees an oppor­tu­nity to social­ize and get to know their co-workers (an attribute that con­tributes to an ideal Gen Y work environment).

If you’re uncer­tain these perks would appeal to Gen Y, offer an anony­mous sur­vey! Give employ­ees an oppor­tu­nity to tell you what perks they want to see offered.

Employee reten­tion is an ini­tia­tive to start imme­di­ately. Your staff wants to feel com­fort­able in their work envi­ron­ment and you want them to stay, so make adjust­ments now to keep your staff engaged. If you’re inter­ested in learn­ing more about employee reten­tion, down­load this free white paper on Best Prac­tices for Reduc­ing Employee Turnover.


  1. I read something the other day that talked about “quiet and informal” recognition and I really identified with it. Companies that take the time to recognize employees in quiet moments and in a informal way have found a more lasting motivation among their employees. I think that it speaks to the fact that people just need to feel that they contribute and if they are recognized in a sincere way, then employees are more apt to respond to it in a sustainable way.


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