Tips originally shared on the InJoy Success Podcast with Jeff Baietto.

I am happy to say that Fraser Communications has a high retention rate for younger employees. With 75% of millennials continually seeking jobs to advance their careers, it can be hard to keep them around. Here are four ways I engage younger staff to have them stick around…

RECOGNITION

It’s easy to praise someone one-on-one but for younger employees, recognition is key in front of teams as it raises their confidence and shows you support them. With 79% of Gen Z and Millennial employees saying an increase in recognition rewards would make them more loyal to their employers you can see why this is important.

92% of millennials said it was “very important” or “important” that their accomplishments are recognized by senior staff and colleagues.

One way I do this is by writing down the names of employees prior to our weekly status meeting. Next to each name I write something positive they did. I do my best to mention these comments when projects come up naturally throughout the meeting.

Prompts you might ask yourself are:

  • What value did they bring to the project?
  • What were they passionate about that inspired others?
  • How did they contribute to the happiness of the client?
  • How did they make things better for the business?
  • Where did they reflect the company values?

EXPLORATION

Fraser 2019 Summer Interns after speaking at a press conference for #BiggerChoices

In an industry such as advertising, there are lots of pathways in which careers can blossom. We go out of our way to let people grow and give them chances to experiment.

Offering career training and development would keep 86% of millennials from leaving their current position.

Even as a small agency, we’re able to find opportunities to engage staff across departments such as having them attend a focus group, brainstorm on a campaign, or assist at a press conference. Whatever is going on in the agency, I make a point to ask younger team members if they’re interested in joining instead of waiting to hear from them.

COMMUNICATION

Early in my career, I might think spending 30-minutes on emails or making client calls would be best for business. Today, I know my business reaps more intangible benefits from taking a 10-minute walk around the office to check in with employees. This is not a business check in — this is personal. I ask to hear about their life.

Work atmosphere traits Millennials seek in employers: work/life balance (69%), friendly coworkers (57%), friendly to people of all backgrounds (55%).

The fact that you remember things about their life means a lot to them. I take it to heart, I want them to be happy because they work hard. Don’t just get to know them as talent, get to know them as people. And when something is going on be willing to take the time for a spur of the moment to invite to lunch to talk about it.

The best times for these in-person personal touchpoints are:

  • Around 10 am and 3 pm
  • If a client meeting ends early

The worst times are:

  • 7 am or 5 pm — you will seem like you’re checking to see if they are in their seat
  • 12 pm — you might miss them on their lunch break

If you aren’t doing this and find it hard to start, force yourself to do it. In psychology, it shows that when you do the behavior your feelings change. If you start to engage in the behavior, you’ll start to feel the good feelings and it will become intrinsically rewarding. So start the pattern with just the intention to be a good leader. As time goes on you’ll be reinforced in such a way that it will become a natural phenomenon.

PURPOSE

Be clear in the purpose behind what you do as a company. At Fraser, we believe in “doing well by doing good” and our advertising promotes positive behavior change. A prime example of this is the First 5 California Talk. Read. Sing.® ads resulting in parents reading more regularly to their children. Another being our campaign for the California Department of Public Health (below) encouraging those that may be addicted to opioids to open up to a doctor for help. Sharing the impact these ads have on the communities we serve reinforces the purpose behind what we spend 8-hours a day doing.

I go out of my way at status meetings and share how my daughter who teaches at the University of Santa Barbara in the psychology department texted me saying, “Mom, in my graduate class someone mentioned the Talk. Read. Sing.® campaign as a great example of communication to families, especially to families who are disadvantaged and they didn’t even know it was a Fraser campaign.” Well, that’s the campaign we developed and I’m so proud of it — I say to my employees with tears in my eyes.

40% of Millennials who plan to remain in their jobs beyond 2020 say their employers have a strong sense of purpose beyond financial success.

Remembering anecdotes and sharing them with employees to remind them of the good ways they’re impacting the world, truly matters to employees. We measure our advertising to keep ourselves accountable but we all know narratives are more valuable than statistics. (Old sales saying — numbers tell while stories sell.)

REPETITION

Now, take those four tips and repeat them constantly and consistently. Consistency is important to show sincerity to employees.