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.