How can we keep our millennials?

Some millennials plan to grow at their companies, picturing graduation from their entry-level cube to a corner office. Others have short tenures already in motion, using their cube as a launching pad to a new position, a new company, and maybe even a new industry. Can you influence how many of your millennials stay?

You know the stats – millennials have an average tenure of 3 years, which means they have an average of 15 jobs in their lifetimes, and can cost you up to $25,000 to onboard, when everything is said and done. As a generation, they’re quite costly and really don’t like to stick around the same job for long.

Here at Aspire, we think we know quite a bit about millennials. We are, after all, from the generation (and a few of us have even left jobs in – wait for it – under three years). But, we wanted to know even more about what’s driving this new generation of workers out of their cubes. So we hit the ground to interview and survey hundreds of 20- and 30-somethings.

The good news is that your millennials are generally quite pleased with your company! Sixty-six percent of the respondents reported being “happy” or “very happy” at their jobs. Whatever you’re doing, they’re loving. Whether that means you’re hosting happy hours, or providing strong mentorship programs, you’re creating an environment that your employees like coming to every day.

The bad news, unfortunately, is that even these happy employees are job hunting. Of our respondents, nearly two-thirds of millennial employees are actively seeking another job or have searched for one in the last 6 months. Even crazier, more of the employees who are job hunting report being happy than report being unhappy at their current positions. It’s demoralizing as a boss if even your happy top-performers are willing to look elsewhere.

If you’re one of the lucky few whose newest millennial hire isn’t job hunting, he’s probably going to change that soon. We found the vast majority of millennials plan to stay at a job fewer than 5 years. Only 13% plan to stay longer than five years.

So, maybe it’s not you. Maybe you should just accept that your newest hires will be rotating through the door quickly, and that there’s nothing you can do to save them. After all, if they are constantly rotating in and out of the office, you aren’t able to build meaningful relationships with them in order to inspire investment in your company’s success or to incentivize them to stay at their job. Transience is a part of the millennial lifestyle and the grass sure does look greener over that at that startup with the jeans policy. Maybe you should just give up.

But what if you could find the silver bullet? What if your company was the one that could break the cycle of millennial employee turnover? The cost savings and cultural boon to your company would be huge. To kick off your hunt for the silver bullet, 57% of our survey respondents said that there was something specific that their company could do to keep them at their job longer.

The “something” companies can do varied. Some millennials said they wanted their place of work to “help make work a more social and holistic part of life” and others suggested “better rewards and compensation for high achievers.”  Still others requested “forced” office fun activities, health and fitness subsidies, “Take-out Tuesdays,” and per-employee networking allowances for social outings with co-workers.

The consensus among the millennials we surveyed was that you can keep them around. You’re just going to have to know who each of them is in order to do so. Maybe Liz in Accounting was a D1 soccer player and would give anything to leave on Thursday afternoons for her club league games. If soccer really makes a difference to Liz and you’re able to accommodate her request, Liz will likely stick around your company for about another year.

You’ll have to figure out what makes your millennials tick to incentivize them to stay longer. You’ll need to parse out their individual needs, and reward those appropriately, to avoid being a turnover statistic.

The rewards are great for this type of flexible culture, though. We all want to feel individually known regardless of our generational classification. Your oldest Baby Boomer and your intern who might be on the cusp of Generation Z (yeah, we know you feel old now) all want to know that their work is important. Giving each person this recognition will pay dividends in motivation, loyalty, and in your bottom line. Incentivize your millennials to stick around in an authentic way to see your average tenure grow and the hits on your network to plummet.

Want to talk about this more? Tweet your thoughts to @aspireperks or shoot us an email at We love to chat about building the best workplaces!