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Ways to retain & motivate young talent

Monday, July 17, 2017, 16:40 Hrs  [IST]

The millennials are a young and restless generation, with a unique generational preferences and work habits irrespective of a chosen career path. They differ in their expectations, priorities and career ambitions. The millennials do not value job security and change jobs regularly for a variety of reasons. Of the millennials who graduate with a hospitality degree, only 30% join the Industry, of which 15% join hotel operations. Losing over 70% of the hospitality educated talent, at the beginning of their careers, indicates that the industry falls short of their aspirations and they perceive that the industry does not offer much in terms of career development and opportunities. This must be recognised by the employers especially in the service industry where there can be no business without people. The previous generations worked for longer hours for a small salary, but if the hotels want to attract and retain the young talent, they must change their work conditions.

So what is it that the millennials want? They look for rapid career progression and a breadth of career experiences. They have a strong need to be heard and expect regular feedback. They want clear directions and clarity on the objectives and expectations. They also want to work for companies that encourage and support recognition for their contribution and an environment where they can display their technical skills. They look for international exposure and are brand conscious.

Keeping this in mind, the employer must change his mind-set and tune in to what is important to this generation. While the salary is not everything, it costs to attract talented employees and to retain them. Another important aspect is that, the employers need to be transparent about the job and its prospects. The young employees need to be given clarity on their role expectations, the salary, benefits and a well-defined career path. Considering that this generation needs a faster career progression, they could be offered customised career graphs, chartered with special provisions and stretched targets

for achievers. Rewarding the entrepreneurial attitudes by giving them small projects that they can start and run, will appeal to them. The HR department can do away with their typical annual appraisals and instead have a well-structured feedback system that will set clear targets and give a regular feedback to the young employees. Introduction of non-monetary forms of compensation can include a quality work culture, development plans and giving the employees a sense of purpose. Changing the training pattern would help too – the young generation are tech savvy and look for information online. Regular training with real life situation simulations will give them that sense of development and progression. Just having a boss is not enough anymore. The young employees are looking for a coach and mentor to emulate, and who will contribute to their personal development.

Last but not the least, The HR must prepare for the high attrition rates and build this into their manpower planning. They can have an ongoing dialogue with the hospitality schools and mentor the students on internship programs, for eventual recruitment. And finally they need to do the exit interviews right, so that they are able to cull out the true reasons for the employees’ exit and learn from this feedback.

The views expressed within this column are the opinion of the author, and may not necessarily be endorsed by the publication.

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