Many employers report struggling with recruiting and retaining hardworking, successful millennial workers. Yet the reality is, millennials are now the largest generation in U.S. labor force, according to the Pew Research Center.1 Employers at Quick Service Restaurants who don't understand what millennials want from their jobs and employers need to learn to accommodate the typical expectations of this rising generation - or continue to face the skyrocketing costs of high turnover.

A recent survey from Universum and reported on in the Harvard Business Review, "Millennials: Understanding a Misunderstood Generation," polled 16,637 millennials from across the globe on areas such as leadership, work-life balance, work-related fears and life priorities.2 Based on this survey data, here are four ways strategies employers can implement to help create a dedicated long-term team of millennial employees.

Create Opportunities for Leadership

Millennials desire opportunities to take on leadership roles, so it's important to communicate the opportunity for leadership to an entry-level new hire right away. Consider creating an individualized career path for each employee that maps out:

  • How can an employee move up toward positions like team lead, assistant manager and then manager?
  • What are their current strengths and weaknesses?
  • What skills does he or she need to learn in order to grow and advance?

A career path tailored to the individual's goals can initiate a mutually beneficial employer-employee relationship. Managers who empower serve as role models and create a driven work culture, one where people want to become - and can become - leaders.

Support Employee Development

Support these career paths with opportunities for employee development, such as specialized training programs, continuing education or certifications. An entry-level job can serve as a starting point for many employees in search of not only a job, but a way to gain experience, develop skills and launch a career. By offering these types of opportunities, employers invest in and value their employees, showing them that they've been hired as an asset with long-term potential.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is one Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) company that does this well. The company offers all employees up to $5,250 of tuition reimbursement annually at two and four-year colleges, as well as reimbursing qualified employees for review courses for exams such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), and the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT).3

Increase Flexibility

If possible, employers should make an effort to offer flexible work hours to their employees. Millennials in North America strongly prefer a sense of autonomy from their workplaces, and 59 percent named "flexible work hours" as a priority in employment - allowing them to obtain a better work-life balance.

In an article titled, "Ways to Prevent Employee Turnover in Fast Food Restaurants," Chron also identified reasonable work schedules as a way to prevent high turnover rates and employee burnout.4 Time away from work is personal time for leisure and self-expression. Flexibility also supports employee who want to take higher education courses or get additional training.

Provide Recognition and Rewards

The HBR concluded its report on the millennial survey with, "If there is one thing we know about millennials globally, it is that they want to be seen as individuals." Young workers want to know they're seen as more than just another employee; they want to be valued for their individual strengths. Celebrate the achievements of your team members to communicate that their individual contributions lead to company success. For instance, offer an employee-of-the-month award and other incentives to keep workers striving to improve performance. Along with recognition, give them constructive feedback on areas of weakness as a way to motivate them to improve.5,6


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Resources: Photo credit. (1) Millennials Surpass Gen Xers as the Largest Generation in U.S. Labor Force (2) Labours Lost (3) What Millennials Want from Work, Charted Across the World (4) Ways to Prevent Employee Turnover in Fast Food Restaurants (5) How to Reduce Staff Turnover and Improve Employee Retention in Your Restaurant (6) Reducing Millennial Employee Turnover Within Your Business