THE BLOG
11/12/2014 10:51 pm ET Updated Jan 12, 2015

5 Secrets to Millennial Happiness at Work (Hint: It's Not About Salary)

Millennials are job jumpers. According to the 2015 Millennial Majority Workforce study, 58 percent of millennials expect to be in their current job for fewer than three years. This even seems conservative to me from my vantage point in Silicon Valley.

Fewer than three years? It's expensive to train up team members, only to have them leave so quickly. Why are millennials' workplace tenures diminishing compared to previous generations? Why are some millennials eschewing the traditional workplace altogether?

Well, the concept of work itself is changing. That millennials are different is to be expected -- they need to be. They are reinventing what it means to be successful in a technology-driven world where workdays are infinite, needs change on a dime and independence and flexibility are at a premium.

Beginning in 2015, millennials -- the first generation of digital natives with plenty of creativity and prized technical skills -- will be the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Here are a few steps managers can take to court and keep this generation.

Show you care

Virtually everyone feels more loyalty to a manager who cares, but this is especially true for young people eager for mentorship and growth. Pay continuous attention to the strengths and desires of your team and think of ways to amplify these strengths. This could involve assigning stretch projects in areas they are passionate about, suggesting team members for new openings or providing thoughtful feedback designed to stimulate professional growth.

Go to lunch

What better way to connect with young team members -- and show you care -- than taking time out of the office to enjoy a meal and good conversation? Lunch is time well invested! When I invite a young team member to lunch I almost always learn something new about how to better engage their passions and interests in a way that both benefits the company and keeps them excited to work here.

Professional growth comes from experience. Share yours

Millennials are a generation of learners: 92 percent report being able to access information whenever and wherever they need. But there are some skills that only come from experience, not a quick Google search. Compared to previous generations, our study found, millennials are less adept at working on teams and less organized. Provide direct mentorship to make sure millennials are developing the valuable collaboration, organization and other skills that they can't learn elsewhere, and you'll find that your youngest workers are infinitely more engaged.

Invite fresh ideas

Millennials are known for their novel ideas, creativity, and tech savvy. What are you doing to harness that? Cultivate a culture that invites taking risks, being bold and providing unique ideas with room to grow. Just the other day in a company meeting, our CEO explicitly invited questions people "may be uncomfortable to ask." Setting the tone that fresh ideas are valued goes a long way toward making team members feel connected to the company.

Measure results, not face time in the office

My millennial daughter quit her job at a Silicon Valley startup to start a business so she could exercise the independence and flexibility that is the hallmark of her generation. But that's not to say we can't provide some of the same privileges to talented millennials in our companies.

Of course young team members need leadership and clear objectives. They should work on initiatives that genuinely move the needle, meet their deadlines and be available to solve problems during key business hours. At the same time, now that work is moving heavily online, results can be measured more easily than ever before. Because we can collaborate and communicate over the Internet, people don't have to be in the same physical office at all times to have an impact.

Granting flexibility in scheduling is a way to give millennials control over their experience. Given the evolving nature of work, there's no reason we shouldn't measure results instead of facetime in the office. It's a change in outlook, but one that millennials I know certainly appreciate.

What's your experience, either with or as a millennial? I'd love to hear what you think managers can do better to attract and retain talented, hardworking millennials who can help grow the business.