Recruit, Hire, Train and Retain GenY/Millennials


Companies ask, “why are we unable to retain, GenY/Millennials.” The reasons are infinite; however, let us discuss some of the simplest to correct. To begin; managers, HR departments, and the overall culture of organizations seeking to retain GenY/Millennials need to change or evolve. In an increasingly tight job market, we must recruit not hire. Finding this definition online: “Recruiting is the act of attracting, engaging, assessing, and onboarding talent for work.” I have highlighted the words attracting, engaging and assessing. This is the missing directive in companies attempting to “hire” GenY/Millennials.


Having interviewed over 200 GenY/Millennials exiting sales positions in the retail franchise automotive industry during the first year of employment. My research is unscientific, painting a picture of something erroneous in the hiring and onboarding process. Hearing the commitments, “I was lied to”, “the schedule is way different than I was told”, “they are uncompromising”, “lack of explanation of the sales process.”  In this short article I point out the very simplistic of observations or issues. I give you the cliff note version.


Number one reason for leaving in the first year. Manager/Supervisor/Boss


Number two reason for leaving in the first year. Lack of flexibility in job


Number three reason for leaving in the first year. Hours (not necessarily the number)


Number four reason for leaving in the first year. Pay or Pay Plan


Number five reason for leaving in the first year. Personal reason’s i.e. home issues, children, school


First a disclaimer.  Many statements, commitments and exit interviews, often given in reluctance and haste. Categorizing to the best of my communication skills with a younger generation.


My interpretations while based on these interviews are blended with 35 years of hiring, terminating and accepting resignations of good people.  A few suggestions for solving the above problems sprinkled with a few simple explanations. Number 1 is difficult to correct, companies need to pay closer attention to these issues, never release based on one manager's opinion. Unless you have reoccurring complaints on the same manager or supervisor or some type of harassment complaint companies are unwilling to change middle or upper management, I suggest additional training in retaining people. Number five is difficult to control, this answer is often given when the real answer is not, this is my gut feeling on several interviews. I.e. Home issues possibly a combination of the other reasons causing the problems at home, with children, and so on.


Two, Three and Four; directly related to the hiring, training and retaining processes, better training, improved communications, with a more technology-based, more rigorous process during all phases of the total method of hiring is required.


An open-door policy with someone of authority to communicate and explain issues. All new relationships require additional communication, this simple solution is a key factor. Many resigning for reasons two, three and four will be prevented with proper dialogue. Especially when the issue involves a change or whatever, the employee ’s perception of an agreement/promise. Changes to pay plans, hours, schedules, or benefits transform into a lie around the water cooler or at home, in some cases this change, or amendment is in the employees’ benefit or intended to be, I have witnessed this on several occurrences. Lack of “clearing up” under-explained rules in the hiring/training process is also a cause for problems sure to come.


Simply stated, communication with someone communicating more effectively with GenY/Millennials employees and prospects. Recruit then hire, explaining the position, requirements, rules, policies, pay, benefits, vacation, unscheduled time off with how to handle exceptions. Orientation before, during and until hiring will help, at the conclusion of the orientation the applicant is hired and onboarded.


During this time consuming labor-intensive process, become aware of the candidates fit for the applied position/organization. Better, the applicant may find the position less suitable for themselves openly second-guessing the job. This saves all concerned the pain of discovering after the hiring process is complete, causing termination. I suggest this discovery might save a few future superstars as well. When the process is complete the applicant is educated, oriented to the new position then hired the chances of success go up exponentially.


Orientation, my suggestion, is a combination of a video, workbook/employee manual, a scripted presentation or power point for the facilitator so all, everyone, learn the same information. Unlimited one on one, where feasible, question and answer session. Human nature is to not ask questions in front of perceived peers in many cases.


In closing the more time, we spend recruiting, in orientation, training before hiring, the greater chance of success. I often use a technology-based hiring process for screening to reduce incompatibilities earlier in the process. GenY/Millennials is the future of your company.


Suggestions to the GenY/Millennial applicant or new hire; Communicate with someone about issues or perceived untruths, this person might be different from a supervisor or manager. If you resign and an exit interview is requested, please grant the request; be frank, honest, and respectful, never make it personal even if you perceive this might be the case. 


 Michael R Holley is a business consultant, author, speaker and hiring guru. You may contact Michael via email at


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