By Steven Porter
Andrew Jachna switched jobs this month, less than a year after he finished college.
The 23-year-old real estate analyst didn’t hesitate when he spotted an opportunity with another company he felt could keep his career moving forward.
That mentality places him in good company for his age bracket.
One in four college-educated workers who were born after 1983 and have full-time jobs would leave their current employers during the next year if given the choice, and about two-thirds of them expect to leave within five years, according to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey.
Among the many reasons for this high turnover, millennials are oftentimes motivated by their ambition to challenge themselves and pursue leadership roles, the survey found.
Jachna, who is now an underwriting analyst with Freddie Mac in Chicago, said he hopes this new workplace culture proves to be “an open and collaborative environment” in which he’s free to ask questions.
“The opportunity to learn is something that’s really important to me,” he said. “I think it’s just kind of the stage in my career when I need to be a sponge and absorb as much information as I can to develop and take on more responsibility.”
A workload that’s too simple or too easy would undermine his sense of accomplishment.
“I think what would make me most happy is enjoying my work and feeling that it’s interesting and challenging,” Jachna said.
Libby Rapin, whose title is “director of people and culture” for HighGround Inc. — a human resources software company that aims to facilitate continuous feedback (as an alternative to formal reviews conducted at regular intervals) — said millennials often rank compensation as the most important factor in assessing whether to take a job offer. After that, they often consider things like work-life balance and advancement opportunities.
“More than anything, people just want to feel like they’re developed,” she said.
Rapin and Diamond Greer, a Chicago-based human resources analyst who works in the financial sector, offered advice on hiring and managing millennials to about a dozen fellow HR professionals during a recent event at Coalition: Impact, a co-working studio and events space in River North.
Greer said it’s important, in order to foster loyalty among millennial workers, to avoid describing their work as merely doing “a job.” Instead, employers should talk about the “career trajectory” of individual employees.
“How can you take what they’re really good at, their strengths, and have that be valuable for your business?” she said.
This approach can help managers refine their expectations, which may differ from one employee to the next, depending upon experience.
“Are you looking for readiness or are you looking for potential? They’re two different things,” Greer said.
Rapin said workplace accountability mechanisms will always be necessary, but she dismissed notions that millennials — who last year became the largest generation in the American workforce, according to Pew Research Center — are “high-maintenance” for expecting their workplaces to meet their needs.
“I think the modern workforce is just going to be changing in general,” Rapin said.