Millennials Workers Are All Grown Up. And They Are Leaving You.

When you think of millennials, who comes to mind? Those lazy, entitled kids fresh out of high school or college?


Millennials aren’t kids anymore. Nor are they a small percentage of your employee base. Falling between the ages of 24 – 35, these “kids” comprise over one-third of your workforce. Oh, and one more thing. They are sick of your crap.

Millennials are tired

So very, very tired.

They’re tired of watching company execs getting huge payouts, while working for stagnant or shrinking wages, with little hope of ever owning their own homes or paying off their student loans. Tired of seeing their employers ignoring the big-picture issues they care so much about. Tired of seeing powerful corporations exploiting employees, polluting the environment, and only pretending to care about diversity.

In short, they are sick and tired of working for businesses who prioritize profits above all else. And they aren’t planning on sticking around.

Time for a corporate reality check

The 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey provides some grim facts for employers.

Turns out, the perceptions Millennials hold about employers is changing drastically. And not in a good way. The same goes for up-and-coming Generation Z.

The message they sent was loud and clear. If you think you will be able attract and retain employees without appealing to their core values, you’re in for a big surprise.

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers:

  • Only 48% of millennials believe that corporations behave ethically. (This is down from 65% in 2017)
  • 75% of millennials view businesses as focusing on their own agendas rather than considering the wider society. (Up from 59% last year)
  • 2 in 3 respondents believe leaders are only paying lip service to diversity, and that only formal legislation can truly advance workplace inclusion

And the values behind them:

The vast majority (83%) of millennials overwhelmingly feel that business success should be measured in terms of more than financial performance, such as:

  • Making a positive impact on society and the environment
  • Creating innovative ideas, products and services
  • Providing good jobs with career development that improve people’s lives
  • Putting an emphasis on workplace diversity and inclusion

They see your potential

But they also see you’re not delivering.

Three quarters of Millennials surveyed said they believed corporations have the potential to help solve society’s economic, environmental, and social challenges. But they also said they didn’t see it happening in their workplaces. This values disconnect is making them eager to jump ship, with 43% of millennials reporting that they expect to leave their current employer within two years.

If this sounds like a scary statistic, you’ll want to make sure you’re sitting down. Because that number jumps to 61% for Generation Z employees.

According to the Deloitte study, this year’s data show a “dramatic, negative shift in millennials’ feelings about business motivations and ethics.” Survey respondents expressed disappointment that corporate priorities aren’t aligned with their own, and their employer loyalty has retreated.

And only you have the power to change it

The more respondents felt their employers were prioritizing innovation and societal improvement, adopting flexible working practices, and having diverse senior management teams, the more likely they were to see themselves sticking around. 

When values are aligned, millennials perceived their employers to be more successful, have more stimulating work environments, and do a better job of developing talent.

Now is the time to take a good, hard look at your business model and priorities. Do you want to position yourself as the faceless corporation that puts profits above your employees, your environment, and community?

Or do you want to be a well-respected employer of choice, committed to using your power not just for profit, but for the greater good? The choice is up to you.

Just remember: Your future employees also have a choice.


Photo by Vadim Guzhva  

5 Pillars of Employee-Related Expenses eBook

Can Charitable Giving Make Your Employees healthier?

You know charitable giving is good for the community, and for the various individuals being helped by non-profit organizations providing shelters, food banks, job training, after school programs, and many other vital services to vulnerable populations.

But can it also help the people who donate and volunteer? As in, you and your employees?

The short answer is yes

Research shows that people who give back to their communities are happier and healthier than people who don’t.

But it’s not quite that simple. It’s also important to remember that individuals who donate time and money are in a position that allows them to do so, which could help explain why they are both happier and healthier. Many people who are struggling can’t give away what they don’t have.

That said, there have been plenty of studies that show how charitable giving positively affects health in a variety of ways, including increased feelings of joy, reduced stress, lower blood pressure, better sleep, and even longer life spans.

A few quick facts from the research:

  • Frequent volunteering has been associated with lower blood pressure and greater psychological wellbeing.
  • Brain imaging research has shown that the brain’s pleasure centers became activated when people chose to donate part of a new stash of money to charity, rather than keeping it all for themselves.
  • People with a higher level of meaning and purpose in life experienced better sleep quality and had lower instances of sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
  • People who regularly helped their friends, relatives, and/or neighbors had a lower risk of dying over a five-year period than those who didn’t. Interestingly, receiving help wasn’t linked to a reduced death risk.

Now, just imagine if these happy, well-rested people with low blood pressure and long life expectancy were your employees. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

Wouldn’t it also be fantastic if your organization was committed to giving back to the communities where your employees live, work, and play?

Giving is good for business

Does your company have a charitable giving program in place?

  • Do you offer payroll deduction or gift matching?
  • Do you allow your employees to take time off to volunteer?
  • Do you support causes and organizations that align with your goals and mission?

If not, it’s time to ask yourself why.

There are many other ways that giving can positively affect your business, in addition to your employees and your community. If you need a little extra convincing, here are a few great benefits that can be gained through a culture of giving:

Tax breaks

The obvious financial benefit. Give enough money and you’ll save some later. It’s a win-win scenario! A great way to improve your community and your bottom line.

Positive image in the community

Everyone loves a feel-good story. Are you that company who provides a great product or service but gives diddly-squat back to your community? Why not be the organization who gives customers the warm fuzzies instead?

If you think people don’t really take this into consideration when making purchases, we’ve got two words for you: TOMS Shoes.

Better employee engagement

Think employees don’t really care about this kind of stuff? We’ve got two more words for you: Think again.

According to Project ROI, a well-designed corporate social responsibility program can:

  • Increase employee productivity by 13%
  • Increase employee engagement by up to 7.5%
  • Reduce employee turnover by 50%

Clearly, employees want to be employed by businesses who care. Not just about their employees, but about their communities as well. Once they find themselves at a company that does, they will happily work harder and stick around longer.

Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! Just imagine how happy your management and HR teams would be in this scenario.

More Revenue???

Yes, charitable giving can even have positive effects on overall revenue.

The Project ROI research found that companies who invested in corporate social responsibility saw increases in revenue of as much as 20%. Twenty percent! Who doesn’t want to see that?

With all that extra profit rolling in, you can afford to be even more generous. And make your employees, your business, and your community that much happier and healthier.

Start cultivating a generous company culture today. It’s good for everyone.


Photo by Wavebreak Media Ltd 

5 Pillars of Employee-Related Expenses eBook

Employee Turnover: The Good, The Bad, and the Unknown

Businesses spend a lot of time lamenting the effects of employee turnover. But not ALL turnover is bad. Some of it is natural. And some can actually be good.

The problem is that we often don’t do the research necessary to discover which kind of turnover we are experiencing, and whether or not it’s something to worry about.

Solving the Mystery

  • Are you losing highly coveted employees or letting go of dead weight?
  • Is your turnover due to factors that are within your control or outside of your control?
  • Do you have a disproportionately high attrition rate or is it in line with your industry and area?

Well-designed employee surveys and exit interviews can help you find the answers. These useful HR tools allow you to determine whether you have serious problems with your organization or if your turnover is just part of the normal business cycle.

But it’s not enough to just ask the right people the right questions. Conducting exit interviews is a meaningless exercise if you don’t analyze the results and make changes as needed.

Evaluating the data

Things to consider:

Don’t get hung up on any one comment. Look for themes and trends.

Are there teams, departments, or locations that are losing employees at a much faster rate? Are multiple employees citing lack of career development, insufficient wages, or poor leadership as reasons for their departure?

Although these things may be difficult to hear, responses like this are the golden nuggets of exit interviews. They allow you to take a closer look at identified areas and processes within your business that have prompted good people to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Examine the “why”

Employees leave for many reasons, some of which have nothing to do with your organization. This is important to consider when evaluating your turnover.

What percentage left for reasons you could do nothing about (health, retirement, relocation)?

Don’t knock yourself out over these departures. A certain amount of turnover is a natural part of the business/employee cycle.

What percentage of your employees left for reasons you may have been able to address (compensation, culture, workload)?

This is where you can make the biggest impact on your numbers. If you’ve set up your exit interviews well, it’s worth trusting data they provide. Use this feedback to reassess your organization through the eyes of your current and future employees. If you’re having trouble doing this, consider surveying those who are still with you to find out what changes they would like to see.

Are a significant number of employees leaving soon after being hired?

This could indicate a problem with your recruitment, hiring, onboarding, or culture. Are you finding the right people? Are you looking for cultural fit? Maybe the experience you’re selling doesn’t match up with the reality of the experience you’re offering. Nothing will send a new employee packing faster than disillusionment or a good old bait and switch.

Did a bunch of employees leave at once?

Look at the separation dates. What was happening in the organization? Was it right after a beloved CEO retired? Or a change-management initiative began? Were the departures concentrated in a particular team or area? What was going on in that department? Were they feeling isolated or ignored? Was there a change in expectations or performance metrics? Do you have a toxic supervisor or employee on your hands?

Any time you make big changes, you’ll have some employees who choose to leave. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes, it helps get everyone aligned and on the same page. But if you’ve made a change that sends a significant number of your best people running, you’ll want to think about why. It could be something as simple as lack of communication. Or it could be that your new direction isn’t properly aligned with your core values and culture.

Making adjustments

This might just be the most difficult part of all. You love your company, and you want it to be the best it can be. So it can be hard to admit this might not be the case.

But in this challenge lies the potential for true growth. If you’ve got turnover issues, the big question to ask is: What is the company’s role in employee turnover and what improvements can we make to keep our best people?

If you do that regularly and honestly, you’ll soon be on your way toward filling your organization with employees who are as happy to be there as you are to have them.


Photo by Lemon Tree Images

5 Pillars of Employee-Related Expenses eBook

Taking a Closer Look at Employee Turnover

Separation. Termination. Departure. No matter what you like to call it, the fact remains the same: People on your team will come and go.

Turnover is interruptive, expensive, and inconvenient. But, like most things, it can also be an opportunity to learn and grow. Here are 2 ways to transform turnover lemons into organizational lemonade.

1.) Set up transition processes

Every employee is different, and each person has their own reasons for leaving— or being terminated. But your separation process should always be smooth and consistent.

If an employee is leaving voluntarily, always request a letter of resignation. This will document the reasons for the departure and help protect your organization against subsequent unemployment claims or other legal challenges.

If it’s an involuntary termination, make sure the employee’s supervisor and someone from HR are both present during the termination conversation. This will prevent any confusion over what transpired during the discussion.

In either case, you’ll want to cover the following:

  • Departure procedure and timeline
  • Staff communication plan
  • What happens with unused PTO
  • Severance pay, if applicable
  • Eligibility for benefits continuation
  • Employee office clean out/personal items
  • The return of all company property and equipment
  • Review of non-compete or non-disclosure agreements
  • Your policy on providing references
  • Exit survey details or instructions
  • Who to contact with any questions

You’ll also want to make sure processes are in place to cancel access to company credit cards, logins, systems, equipment, vehicles, and facilities.

2.) Conduct exit interviews

If you really want to know why your employees are leaving, you have to ask them. And listen carefully to what they say.

Exit interviews aren’t without issues. Many employees are afraid to speak candidly for fear of leaving on a bad note, burning bridges, or upsetting important business/industry connections. They may also want to receive positive recommendations or referrals as they move forward.

Despite this potential hurdle, putting together a solid exit interview program can yield critical feedback and information to help you uncover internal problems with company leadership, management, training, or morale.

To get the best results from your exit interviews, you’ll want to put some thought into your strategy and execution.

To encourage honesty:

Resist conducting interviews immediately when emotions are high

Do not have the employee’s former supervisor conduct the interview

Assure confidentiality of responses

Remain neutral and keep an open mind

For better data:

Avoid impersonal online surveys and general, multiple choice questions

Ask each person the same questions for consistency (You can branch off from there as needed)

Consider a follow up interview a few months out (Some research shows that people are more willing to give honest answers once they are farther removed from the situation)

To build credibility:

Have these conversations in person or on the phone

Treat former employees with respect and gratitude

Explain your purpose – to help keep the organization from losing more good employees

Make sure the interviewer is someone with the power to make change within the company

For increased effectiveness:

Focus on interviewing high-quality employees you didn’t want to lose

Listen more than you talk

Do not take sides or suggest fixes

Asking the right questions

Exit interview questions should explore topics like company culture, leadership, morale, development, training, workload, expectations, management, and compensation. A few examples include:

  • Was your work adequately acknowledged, appreciated, and compensated?
  • Were you given adequate training, tools, and support?
  • Did your workload seem fair, appropriate, and manageable?
  • Could you see career development options within the organization?
  • What was your relationship with your manager like? Your colleagues? Your team?
  • How would you describe the company culture and morale?

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, one emerging best practice is for organizations to ask this simple question:

Please complete the sentence “I don’t know why the company doesn’t just ____.”

This one question alone can uncover top employee frustrations and trends.

Uncovering the truth

Is your employee turnover part of the natural business cycle, or do you have some serious organizational issues that need fixing? A revolving employee door could be normal for your industry— or an opportunity for contemplation and growth.

Having a consistent, smooth exit process in place can help ease the pain associated with employee departures. But conducting exit interviews to find out why good people are leaving will allow you to answer the age old question:

Is it them or is it you?


Photo by Yulia Ryabokon 

5 Pillars of Employee-Related Expenses eBook

Increase Your Talent by Decreasing Your Bias

Bias. It’s everywhere. Like it or not, there’s a good chance we’ve all experienced it or unknowingly let it guide our decision making. Especially during the job search process.

Maybe you were assumed to be less capable because of your gender or race. Or perhaps you made your own assumptions about who might be more capable based age, looks, or some other external factor. Even when we have the best intentions, bias has a way of working itself into the world of recruitment.

If you’re in the business of hiring and firing, bias is not your friend. Not only can it get you in serious trouble, it can also cause you to miss out on some great talent.

I’m not biased… am I?

Sorry. The cold, hard truth is that you probably are.

All too often, our stereotypes, perceptions, and preconceived notions are so deeply engrained that we don’t even realize we’re playing favorites. Even if we have the the best intentions, we may not be able to separate our bias from our processes. As a result, we rule out potentially great talent based on things that really shouldn’t matter.

Research shows that people tend to prefer candidates who remind them of themselves. This means we are choosing (or ruling out) applicants based on characteristics we personally identify with. This can be something as major as race or as minor as a sports team preference.

The bottom line here is that your talent search process probably isn’t as open and objective as you think it is.

Playing fair

Most of us agree that everyone deserves a fair shot. But many times this isn’t how things play out on paper, in boardrooms, during interviews, or with job offers.

Denying the problem exists doesn’t do anyone any good. We need to admit that this is happening, even to the best of people, then seek out tools to help.

There is no silver bullet for completely removing bias from your hiring process, but there are ways to mitigate the effects and, in doing so, prevent yourself from overlooking some stellar candidates.

Here are a few things you can start doing today to help build the fair and equitable hiring process your organization wants and needs.

1. Scrub your resumes

When you have a lot of applicants, it feels good to narrow down the pile. But you may be making choices based on the wrong criteria. Age. Race. Gender. These things can all be assumed based on information included in standard resume format.

If you’re serious about letting the cream rise to the top, your first evaluation of potential new hires shouldn’t be influenced by these factors. Have HR remove pertinent data from applications and resumes before passing them on to the hiring team. Things like names, graduation year, schools attended, and even hobbies or interests can conjure up ideas and images of where that person comes from and what they are like.

2. Just say no to visuals

A candidate’s appearance can instantly trigger all kinds of biases. Make sure you have a strict No Photo policy in place to avoid making performance assumptions based on how a particular candidate looks. Make the first contact something other than a face to face meeting. Instead, ask them to take a skills test or do a phone interview. And as hard as it may be, resist searching your candidates online, at least in the early stages.

If your HR team doesn’t have time to take this extra step, consider using a recruiting app or program like Blendoor to do it for you.

3. Write neutral job descriptions

How can a job description be biased or discriminatory? By using language or pronouns geared toward a particular gender, expressing preferences for “mature, seasoned professionals” or “energetic, digital natives” and many other ways.

You may not even be aware of subtle ways your job descriptions could be slanted toward or away from particular groups. But there are ways to find out.

Services like Textio and Gender Decoder will run your job descriptions through their systems, looking for words and phrases that are could signal red flags.

4. Expand your search

Do you go back to the same recruiting sources over and over again? Try mixing it up. Look for new sources of talent. Examine your ideal candidate profile and your position requirements. Are you limiting your hiring pool by where and how you recruit?

5. Diversify your hiring team, and your organization

If your hiring teams don’t contain any diversity, it will be much more difficult to inject it into your hiring processes. And if your company doesn’t contain any diversity, well… that says something right there.

If you’re not sold in the idea of diversity, maybe this will help. Research from McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity at the executive level are 33% more likely to have above average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile.

In fact, there is mounting evidence that companies with diverse teams perform better than companies with non-diverse teams. And research from Cloverpop shows that diverse teams make better decisions up to 87% of the time. In other words, expanding diversity is good for business.

Reduce your hiring bias and start building a more well-rounded effective team.


Photo by Vadim Zakharishchev

5 Pillars of Employee-Related Expenses eBook