Retention Tips: Professional Goal Development

As with any retention tips article currently circulating, the focus here is on retaining Millennial staff. And one of the best ways to do that is to help these staff in their professional goal development, as well as in working towards the realization of these goals.

Millennials seek purpose.

If you get nothing else out of this article, or any article about how to work with Millennials, take that little nugget of wisdom. Once you understand this, your initiatives towards retention and satisfaction and productivity with your Millennial workforce will all be more effective. Several ways to offer purpose are available, but the one we will look at today is professional development.

Millennials want to learn.

If you are serious about keeping or growing your Millennial workforce, you need to provide opportunities for these staff members to learn in ways that are purposeful. Professional development is one way you can provide purpose and value to your staff that makes sense to them. If they are learning and growing in their skills with your company, then even if (I should say when) they leave their time with you would have been valuable to them.

The more development opportunities you provide, the longer they are likely to stay.

Until the purpose of learning and growing has been fully realized in the company they are with, Millennials are likely to stick around. It is when they feel they've learned all they can that they are ready to move on.

What it looks like to help Millennials in their goals:

  1. Set the expectation. Be the company that requires staff to set goals consistently. Be the company that requires specific learning goals, steps towards completion, and ways to know the goal has been achieved. 
  2. Review goals often. Don't fall into the trap of setting goals every so often and never looking at them again. Ask your staff about their goal progression at your regular meetings, pull out the list and talk about it, maybe even set up occasional staff meetings where everyone simply talks about their progress.
  3. Help them get there. You know the goals of your staff and talk about them often; now is the chance to prove how much you care about your staff members by helping them get there. If a staff member has a goal of becoming a better public speaker, give him opportunities to speak before groups. If a staff member has the goal of being certified in a certain area, see if you have the budget to cover the cost. Or maybe offer the training time as paid time. Do what you can to help your staff as they reach their goals.
  4. Celebrate success. Few things say more about a company's commitment to the professional development of their staff than hosting celebrations as goals are met. Celebrate small goals with small rewards, like donuts for the team or a casual day if that's applicable. Celebrate big successes with full-on parties.

What are some strategies you have used to help with professional goal development and completion?