Millennials aren’t just looking for jobs; they’re looking for careers that are always evolving. Employers are looking for talented young employees who are willing to stick around more than a couple years. These two things are not mutually exclusive. If Gen Y wants to make a career and employers are looking for commitment, why are they having such a hard time syncing up?
Years of exit interview research shows that the number one reason young talent leaves a job is the lack of learning opportunities. Where are these learning opportunities supposed to be coming from? Confusion on this may be part of the problem here.
It strikes me that the real problem is a communication breakdown between Gen Y and employers about who’s responsible for career development. I want to help, so I’ve put together some notes for both of you.
Millennials, you’ve got a lot more to learn than new job skills; you need to learn how to take control of your own career growth. Set your own career goals, don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. It’s your career.
Career development can mean a lot of different things to different people. If you aren’t getting what you need, don’t expect your manager to read your mind. Identify ways you’d like to grow and opportunities that you can present to your supervisor.
When I worked at a small nonprofit, they loved the fact that I was always looking to take on new work. I was able to identify a variety of ways I wanted to grow that fit the organization’s needs. Despite their need, no one was suggesting that I take classes to learn more about editing and proofreading, take on internships to learn more about social media, however, they supported me by giving me the time off I needed, checking in to see what I’d learned and adding new responsibilities to my job description.
Managers, listen up, you could spend your time trying to recruit talent, or keep what you’ve got by taking some time to identify ways for your young talent to advance their careers. Initiate proactive conversations with your young talent to find out how they would like to develop their careers. If you aren’t able or willing to identify opportunities for growth but support them doing it, let them know that.
I was in a job interview recently where the woman from HR explained very clearly that at their organization, everyone is busy and employees are expected to advocate for their own growth, but they do expect you to grow. Getting that out in the open made it clear that I can grow in that organization, but it’s on me. They do value career development and will support it, even if they aren’t the ones throwing ideas my way.
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