How Staffing Firms Can Retain Millennial Account Managers and Recruiters

Millennials make up 45% of the American workforce today; and that number is projected to reach 60% within the next 10 years. It’s no surprise, then, that staffing and recruiting leaders are increasingly working with millennial clients and talent. But it’s also important to note that members of the millennial generation make up 56% of our industry’s account managers and recruiters.

Though Millennials make up the majority of the industry’s “front line,” our research finds that very few are present in leadership positions. In fact, more than half of staffing industry leaders are over the age of 46, meaning there is a gulf between who is setting strategy and the team that those strategies are meant to support and influence. This disconnect is creating disruptive dynamics across the industry, where turnover of internal staff cripples growth and costs businesses time and resources. But what does a millennial-informed retention strategy look like?

Retaining Your Millennial Employees

The truth is Millennials aren’t the most loyal bunch — at least not if you fail to meet their expectations. The staffing industry overall faces a 31% annual turnover rate among account managers and recruiters – 56% of whom are millennial and younger. That’s an alarming rate when you consider that these employees are the face of your brand, not to mention the primary relationship-holders with your clients and talent.

Which raises the question(s):

  • What can staffing firms do to change this turnover trend?
  • How do millennials feel about staffing agencies and what do they expect from them as employers?
  • Most importantly, what drives loyalty and what pushes millennial employees out the door?

Prioritize firm culture

Millennials tend to have different priorities when it comes to what they want from their place of work. When asked for the top non-compensation reasons that attracted them to their current company, firm culture was the top response for both millennials and Baby Boomers. However, there was a dramatic difference in how firm culture was prioritized amongst other factors: Millennials place firm culture squarely at the top of their list (at 61%), whereas boomers listed it as one of a number of items (at 46%).

What does this mean for your firm? Not only do you need to develop a strong internal culture, you also need to find ways to demonstrate that culture by showing evidence. If you’re not already surveying your internal employees to measure satisfaction and benchmark against the industry – now is the time! Other successful strategies include building your reputation as an employer-of-choice through employee satisfaction awards and employer reputation tools like Glassdoor.

Provide career growth opportunities

Career growth also ranked near the top of the list for millennials (at 49%) compared to boomers. Moreover, of those who plan to leave their firm, 76% say the reason is a lack of career growth.

This should be a lesson to all staffing firm leaders: You must provide career and skills growth opportunities for your millennial staff members if you want to keep them. Find ways to incorporate title progression, additional responsibilities, and program ownership into your position structure to keep your team challenged, motivated, and engaged. In addition, remember to communicate what they’re doing well and what they could work on – since Millennials and younger tend to want feedback on a regular basis.

Grow team loyalty

When asked what keeps them at their current place of work, many Millennials in the staffing industry cite a positive relationship with their direct manager. This should come as no surprise to most of us – as the old adage goes, “You don’t quit jobs, you quit managers.”

In addition to that critical relationship, look for opportunities to build camaraderie within your team. Successful teams are made up of people with shared experiences, who cherish and respect each other. Cultivating this type of environment can go a long way towards an attractive (and difficult to leave) workplace.

Remind them of the ‘why’

Most kids don’t grow up dreaming of becoming a recruiter – but when asked what recruiters love about their job, many of them share that they feel like they’re making a difference.

Fundamentally, staffing and recruiting firm are changing the trajectory of peoples’ careers and lives. They drive our economy by changing how work gets done. It’s an important calling, but it can also be incredibly challenging – expectations are high, and the work is fast-paced. So, it’s easy to get bogged down and forget the amazing, positive impact of this work. Find ways to bring your team back to what inspires them, and the difference they’re making every day.

Some ClearlyRated clients do this through our shout out feature, as a way to hear the voice of candidates and clients and understand that all their hard work is being appreciated.

Additional Resources

If you’re not already leveraging NPS at your firm, it can be a great way to better understand opportunities within your team and capitalize on this generational shift.

Ready to get started with NPS? Contact the ClearlyRated team for insights, best practices, and a tour of our survey platform (designed specifically to support professional services firms).

Interested in additional data? View current NPS benchmarks for staffing firms.

Want to see NPS in action? Check out how Vitamin T worked with ClearlyRated to go from brand inception to world class client service.


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