Friday, June 17, 2016

Is millennial turnover a problem? How can we prevent it?

Ethan Darby,
Director of Business
“I think a trillion dollars of student loans and a massive skills gap are precisely what happens to a society that actively promotes one form of education as the best course for the most people. I think the stigmas and stereotypes that keep so many people from pursuing a truly useful skill, begin with the mistaken belief that a four-year degree is somehow superior to all other forms of learning.” - Mike Rowe

As someone who recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree, I can tell you first-hand that we have severely over-emphasized university learning in our society. Growing up, I can remember relentless pressure coming from role models telling me I had to go to college and get a good degree in order to be successful. While I did learn a lot while I was in school, I find myself only using a very small portion of what I learned. The rest of it was either forgotten or doesn’t apply to what I’m doing.

I remember hearing a story recently about a large bridge that was to be built in Alabama. The planning, budgeting, and material collection was all done. They were only missing one thing – people to physically build the bridge. Due to a lack of welders, the project was put off, and has no estimated completion date as far as I know. This is a scary thing to me. It also blows my mind that I graduated with so many people with great degrees and high I.Q.’s that are now left scrambling to find even a low-level job when there are job shortages all over the place in the technical field. And with Baby Boomers starting to retire, this shortage is only getting larger. 

Employee turnover seems to be a consistent problem amongst our dealer network and pretty much any type of manufacturing company I come across. The largest amount of turnover seems to be occurring in that age group of 23-30-year-olds. Why is that? I think the first reason is that there are simply less of us. We bought into the idea of getting a four-year degree, so we went and racked up crippling student loan debt only to get a job totally unrelated to our degree. The pool of younger people with technical knowledge is small and only getting smaller. If you can get your hands on a millennial with some technical knowledge and potential, how do you retain that individual?

Create Excitement for Employees
One thing I have personally tried to help implement within our own company is transparency. If you trust your employees, share things about your business with them. If they don’t know which way you are steering the ship, how can they possibly help you miss the iceberg? 

Also, let them know what opportunities lie ahead. They should know what you value as an employer- what can they do to add value to themselves? And if they do add value, what types of rewards are available? 

Millennials are actively known as the social media generation. We are used to having a voice, and we also want one in the workplace. We have great ideas that give us a unique perspective on things. Listen to us, and we will reward you in more ways than one. 

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few bad eggs in every generation, but I think Millennials get a bad rap. Give us a shot, and I promise you it will be worth your while.

This article originally appeared in Trigard Tuesdays, our weekly electronic newsletter featuring information for the funeral industry. Sign up for your free subscription at

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