It was not so long ago that a person would work at one job, one company, for decades at a time until retirement. But in today’s economy, where industries and individual companies rise and fall more quickly than ever before, job markets are less stable. As a result, the millennial generation has become known for staying at one job for just a few years before moving on to better and brighter opportunities. Millennials are now beginning to saturate the workforce, graduating from college and starting their careers.
Kelly Palmer, former Chief Learning Officer of LinkedIn, says that millennials will make up half the US workforce, and 70 percent of the global workforce, by 2020. Many will look for companies to employ them, and those companies will likewise recruit talented employees.
Retaining the talent they hire, however, has become a challenge as millennials want more from their job than a steady paycheck. They want education, flexibility, and meaning. As Palmer explains, rather than feel abandoned by a millennial who goes looking for new work, a company should have an honest conversation with their young employees about what their expectations are for employment.
She calls this talking about “tours of duty,” wherein an employee knows precisely what to expect, and how the company will invest in him or her over two or three years. After that “tour” is up, they can decide whether to continue their engagement. So instead of planning for ten years down the line, they can work together planning just a few years, and then coming back together to plan for another few years if all goes well. And this can help make the future for both hands a little bit more safe and comfortable. It’s not that millennials want Facebook breaks at work or time to tweet. Instead, what a work place can do is respect their incoming employees, give them time to learn the ropes, and help prepare them for a future in the workforce. Millennials tend to have a jaded expectation of the future, raised with one of the biggest generational debts in American history, and with the knowledge only a recession can offer.
Kelly Palmer is a thought leader on the future of learning and career development. Kelly recently joined the executive team at Degreed as Chief Learning Officer where the mission is to help people embrace lifelong learning and discover and track personalized career development and all learning wherever it happens.
Kelly was formerly the Chief Learning Officer of LinkedIn where she was helping employees transform the trajectory of their careers through learning and development, driving the employee experience strategy, as well as leading Inclusion & Diversity for the company. Prior to LinkedIn, Kelly was VP of Learning at Yahoo! and also held executive positions in learning, M&A, and product development at Sun Microsystems. Kelly holds a BA in English/Communications and an MS in Instructional & Performance Technology AND is always learning.