The Top 4 Reasons Millennials Quit Their Jobs

The top four reasons Millennials leave their jobs might be less about Millennials and more about their managers.

When I worked at Gallup, our consulting mantra revolved around the notion that your manager is responsible for over 80% of your experience with the company you work for; they can make or break you.

The reason for high Millennial turnover is simple: bad management.

Listed below are four reasons high-potential Millennials say they are leaving their job and ways you as a manager (and coach) can counteract these.

Each of these reasons has to do with the difference between good management practices and bad management practices.

1.         “No one is asking for my feedback.” If your Millennial isn’t happy, find out why. This is Management 101. Frequent check-ins are critical, especially early in one’s career and especially for Millennials.

Feedback is one of the core layers of the Millennials Hierarchy of Needs — and it’s a two-way street. In addition to wanting feedback from their managers about their work, their career prospects and their professional development, Millennials want to contribute. They’re working hard to understand the company and their role in it, and the feedback they offer can be insightful. To make them feel a valued part of the team, listen.

2.         “I wasn’t clear on opportunities for advancement.” Provide clear opportunities for advancement (in excruciating detail).

Millennials are not serial job-hoppers, contrary to popular belief. In fact, they want to be loyal to their employer, but they also want to know that they aren’t in a dead-end job. What can they expect to be doing in the next 6 months, year, 3 years, 5 years? Studies by Deloitte show that loyalty to an employer is driven largely by knowing their employer supports their career and life ambitions and provides opportunities to progress. Mentoring programs, frequent feedback and career planning can help keep Millennials engaged, on track and loyal. Continue to provide them with challenging-but-achievable goals and projects, guide them through and help them see the path forward.  

3.         “The job was advertised as one thing, but it turned out to be something else.” Never inflate or misrepresent a role. Be completely honest about job expectations. Recruiters in HR try to put their best foot forward, but sometimes if the job seems too good to be true, it is. Always temper job expectations with reality about the job.

Millennials want open, honest and transparent communication. They want to feel like they can trust their managers and the company. Over-selling a job is a quick way to destroy trust and leave Millennials with a sense of disappointment

4.         “It seemed like no one cared about me.” This is a big one.

Remember, Millennials grew up with an entire team looking out for their wellbeing. From teachers to coaches, parents, friends’ parents and extended family, Hillary Clinton wasn’t kidding when she said “it takes a village.” Millennials were raised in an ecosystem of continuous encouragement of thumbs-up feedback. They want to feel like they are an important part of a team with a mission and purpose — and they want to feel cared for.

Last thought: If you are having a turnover problem in your organization, instead of exit interviews for people that are leaving, do “stay interviews” of those who are still there.  You’re always going to learn more a position of strength not weakness.