How To Retain Millennials And Deal With Their Side Hustles

In order to retain millennials, companies need to start understanding their motives


There is a reason why entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Richard Branson are recognized by so many. They serve as examples of when pursuing a purpose turned out to be a good and profitable idea. Each successful career is unique to an individual, but as Confucius rightly pointed out: 'Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.' The concept now acts as mantra among millennials, where an increasing number of them don't see joining the corporate world as a desirable or long-term option.

Tables have turned with generation Y. Times, when joining a large organization and making your way up from a clerk to an executive are gone, and millennials are choosing jobs where they can make a difference. But despite valuing their personal and professional growth, they still have bills to pay.

Stable income is one of the factors holding millennials back from pursuing their initial career dream. Thus, they balance between full-time roles, whilst enjoying being involved in a 'side hustle'. It's a myth that side hustles are there solely for generating an additional income and here is why. Today, thanks to technology, people have an opportunity to learn and do as many jobs as they like without leaving a digital space. Many Millennials, in particular, see freelancing as a way of expression and 'finding themselves', while of course enjoying the additional income.

So, 20- and 30-somethings having two or three jobs at the same time has become common and is no longer an indicator that somebody may be struggling financially. This also dispels a myth of millennials being the laziest generation - they simply have a different vision. With this generation, bankers may find themselves as part-time writers or fitness instructors - there is a never-ending hunger for self-expression and an urge to be recognized as an individual rather than a suit.

Thanks to LinkedIn and various apps like Freelancer, finding a side option is easier than ever, but this may mean bad news for employers. According to the recent millennial report by Deloitte, 66% of millennials expect to leave their job by 2020. Millennial turnover rates continue to rise. Deloitte also found that only 28% of millennials worldwide feel that their organizations are making 'full use' of the skills they have to offer, another reason why the group always has one foot out of the door.

What can companies do to retain millennials?

Generation Y has a reputation as 'job-hoppers'. If we look at their profile, the average millennial would have had to show an excellent academic record to get to college, and after graduation is expected to already have job experience and good results in extracurricular activities. After that, an individual would have had to find a well-paid job to pay off their student loan which on average comes to a total of $37,172, according to data from Student Loan Hero. Facing financial pressure and being obliged to work in a place that doesn't resonate with their initial plan would lead to a negative association with everything related to the corporate world.

A study by the Happify data science unit found that among the most desirable aspirations that millennials set to achieve are a work/life balance, 'stopping worry’, ‘reducing stressors', and being satisfied with an existing job. Smart companies are already changing recruitment approaches and organizational structure by putting an employee's interest first. The millennial wouldn't leave a job if an employer expresses a genuine interest in one's personal and professional growth.

By introducing self-development programs in the workplace and allowing flexibility around working hours are two effective measures to start retaining millennials. Jacqueline Breslin, Director of Human Capital Services at TriNet pointed out that: 'Young adults aren’t necessarily interested in the traditional workplace environment and that their work-life balance is crucial to them.' Flexibility in both working hours and professional development don't mean sacrificing productivity levels. According to a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research, employees spend at least 30 minutes a day on non-related to work activities, so wouldn't it be better if this time is spent on one's self growth?

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