Millennials are ushering in a new era of workforce change. Financial services firms willing to adapt to this digitally-oriented generation will position themselves for success.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the need for financial services firms to adjust and adapt to the ever-growing Millennial workforce is crucial, particularly because only 7% of US college graduates are interested in making Financial Services their career path. In this post, I will review the key drivers to attracting and retaining this technologically-savvy generation. 

Meaningful work and flexible work schedules

A paradigm shift away from traditional work roles and time schedules and toward flexibility and customisation is needed. Millennials (and interestingly for the baby boomers and Gen X as they head towards retirement), though digitally-focused, they are an idealistic generation. They don’t view career paths in the same way as their parents or grandparents did. While they are achievement-oriented, they’re not looking to climb the corporate ladder. They want to be recognised for their unique skill sets, valued for their contributions and considered equal to their superiors. In fact, Accenture’s 2016 study shows that nearly 40% of Millennials prefer challenging work, flexible hours, and creative compensation packages over traditional incentives.

Work-life integration is very important to Millennials. They want their lives to revolve around family, then work. Enabling this opportunity, whether by letting employees have flexible days, work part time or telecommute, will be an important consideration for financial services firms. Tailoring compensation packages to be flexible and target Millennial investment goals and ideals is another way to attract and retain this group.

Millennials also want to have opportunities for rapid advancement, to be mentored and coached by supervisors and leaders and to be part of a dynamic, engaged and innovative work environment. In addition, these workforce of the future employees desire both customised learning and formal training opportunities.

Collaboration and a Millennial-friendly work environment

Ensuring there is a constant flow of effective communication and collaboration across all generations of employees will be especially important in nurturing Millennials. They are eager to multi-task and collaborate within a team environment. However, they also need guidance and direction and to feel developed; otherwise they’re apt to become easily bored. This generation carries the moniker of the “immediate gratification generation.” Experiential on-the-job learning and lateral movement opportunities are enticing to Millennials. But they are not afraid to seek challenges elsewhere. If the work environment does not provide a digitally-oriented framework, an integrated culture and a positive learning atmosphere, their interest and loyalty could soon wane.

How should financial services firms attract and retain Millennials? These strategies can help:

  • Create an individual-centered entry-level talent strategy
  • Determine which employees can work across a variety of roles
  • Implement employee job rotations to improve employee connection to the company’s mission and vision
  • Develop experiential on-the-job training that is informal and provides real-time feedback
  • Facilitate a sense of ownership by cultivating a small-team atmosphere

Changing the culture of financial services firms is essential to attracting and retaining Millennials. By providing multiple career paths and varied, engaging experiences, financial services firms can expect Millennials to take a vested interest in job opportunities in this sector.

More in-depth information can be found in Accenture’s The Gig Experience: Unleashing the potential of your US talent and your business.

Other Accenture resources:
Human Capital Ultimate Guide to Millennials in Financial Services
Workforce of the Future: Dealing with Business Change and the Millennial Change

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