It’s not unusual to hear HR professionals at large, publicly-traded companies lament: “No one wants to work here. I wish this was a nonprofit.”
On the surface, this makes sense. After all, nonprofit organizations are often an easier sell for millennials, who say they want the opportunity to do meaningful work on issues that benefit society. But as they get older, millennials who want to pay down debt and start saving are increasingly looking to employers who pay handsomely. And if they do accept a lower salary for a job, they expect that nonprofit environment to provide the most rewarding experience they can imagine. As we all know, however, even the noblest nonprofits are still organizations, and no organization is perfect.
AccessLex Institute is a nonprofit that advocates for policies that make legal education work better for students and society alike and conducts research on the most critical issues facing legal education today. The mission is intriguing, especially given how many young professionals consider and eventually enroll in law school. And sure enough, AccessLex never had much of a problem attracting millennial candidates for its open positions. The organization’s challenge has involved getting them to stay once new hires realize that nonprofit employment can be stressful and frustrating at times -- just like any job.
Assimilate Talent Strategically And Early
Based on nearly 15 years of working with millennials, I can confidently say that the most important thing organizations must do to retain millennials is to assimilate them strategically and early. First impressions matter a great deal and new millennial hires aren't likely to give a company a second chance if they don't like what they experience initially.
To that end, AccessLex set out to increase its retention of new millennial employees by creating a high-tech, high-touch virtual onboarding system. The tool was built based on what they learned was new hires’ biggest hurdle -- feeling disconnected from the culture. The organization’s internal research revealed that young employees would accept a job, come in for a few weeks and keep interviewing. If a better opportunity presented itself, nothing stopped the new hire from taking it. “We knew if we could make them feel part of the organization right away and get them to hang out with us for a year, we could actually keep them for much longer,” said Tanya Papahristos, Director of Human Resources for AccessLex.
For the rest of the piece, check out Forbes.com.