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The Biggest Takeaway from DCS 2018

How to retain Millennials in the work force

By Travis Pasch, Edited By Daniel Reinig - September 11, 2018

 The Biggest Takeaway from DCS 2018

The 2018 Debt Connection Symposium (DCS) offered the most age diverse crowd at a debt collection conference in recent memory. This led to an interesting and enjoyable experience. With the changing of the guard clearly evident, a large amount of focus was put into attracting and retaining millennial employees as they continue to enter the job market, filling spots traditionally held by older generations. Business strategies have been changing for years, however, many companies have been operating successfully using their old methods. With every passing year, and highlighted by this conference, business strategies are evolving and the past solutions will simply not be as successful with the emerging workforce.

Employers have seen a shift in the mindset of the new workforce. Millennials tend to value the atmosphere and benefits of the organization more, whereas the generation before them valued job security and their salary more than the atmosphere of the organization. The Millennial Peer Group, headed by Matt Justice who is President of the Professional Bureau of Collections, emphasized the successes and failures of companies when hiring Millennials. The peer group included a roughly 50/50 mix of Millennials and older generations, with the overall mood being more symbiotic than I expected. Some of the theme’s presented that keep Millennials in an organization included a sense of community, more time off, and a level of trust without the constant oversight of a supervisor or manager to name a few.

One common theme was the idea of building a community around the company, not just a functional group working together within the company. Employees want to work at an organization where being part of a team means advancement, family, balance, trust, and having a unique role within the company. These factors are the driving force behind Millennials staying with an organization and enjoying their daily work or moving on without much chagrin.

Here are a few ideas gathered from peers in the group:

Companies who have held events and participated within their communities have seen more positive results in retaining employees. One great idea being implemented was giving employees one or two paid hours off every few weeks that they could use on community service activities. This has shown that it helps not only their employees and the community, but it also saves thousands of dollars in free marketing and advertising in that the organization becomes a larger presence in the community.

Another idea, and seemingly just as effective of a method, is allowing employees to purchase an extra week of vacation. Millennials want more of a balance between work and personal time compared to their parents. This can be a great way to distinguish the benefits within the organizations workforce based on the employee's priorities. The employee buys a week of time from the company; the money is then spread over the course of the year so a small deduction of ten to twenty dollars a week isn't really noticed, but in the end an entire extra week of vacation really makes a giant impact on the employee's life.

Third, the idea of a "cool" place to work was emphasized. Small visual updates to the building or sprucing up the everyday work environment of the employees really makes an impact on someone who may feel as though they could easily obtain another job in today’s strong economy. It may not seem like a big deal, but the work environment goes a long way in terms of creating an overall desirable workplace.

If nothing else I realized one thing; Millennials want an environment where they can feel appreciated, trusted, and above all else, understand the how's and why's. They really want to know what their hours upon hours of work are building towards. They need to have a purpose and feel as though their work is meaningful. Basically, they want to work towards a common goal where they can still feel free to live their lives.