​Diamonds and Millennial Retention: The 4 C’s

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When selecting a diamond, I am told that it is essential to consider the 4 C’s: Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat. These 4 C’s determine the value of a diamond and will not change. These are important to consider BEFORE your purchase, because diamonds are an investment, and you want to get the most for your money.  I recently learned that similar to diamonds, there are 4 C's that can determine value and retention for Millenials in the workplace.  

During the 2014 SHRM Annual Convention, I learned that the average workplace retention of Millennial employees is declining. This poses a problem, especially with all of the Baby Boomers planning their exit of the workforce.

One of the sessions I attended was a session on Managing Millennials, led by Brad Karsh - President of JB Training Solutions. During this session I learned about some differences between the Millennial Generation and previous generations. For example: a Baby Boomer might feel like no news from the boss is good news. On the other hand, a Millennial might feel that no news from the boss is bad news. I was able to catch up with Brad to get some more insight on how to improve retention of Millennial employees, and learned about:

The 4 C’s of Millennial Retention
  • Communicate – Manage their expectations about their work responsibilities and their career progression and give them feedback on their performance on a routine basis.
  • Challenge – Offer them experiences through shadowing, managing low risk projects, and rotating in different departments.
  • Coach – Instill a culture of coaching/mentorship and pair Millennials with “near peer” mentors who can help build their “soft skills.”
  • Connect – Millennials need to see that they are part of the bigger picture to feel connected to the organization and see their importance.

Remembering the 4 C’s (communicate, challenge, coach and connect) of Millennial Retention and implementing them will do more than simply determine the value. It is likely that there will be a continued increase in value as you increase your chances of retaining your top talent. 

The 4 C’s of Millennial Retention can be adapted to each individual, making them more important than the 4 C’s in a diamond purchase, which can never change. These actions can be taken after you have the Millennial employee, and adjusted to their needs, increasing value for Leadership, the Company, and the Millennial employee.

Gone are the days where the phrase “just do it because I said so” is effective in the workplace. The Millennial employee wants interaction, and to know how their part fits into the whole. Millennials are adaptable and looking for growth and challenges, so frequent feedback and guidance are a must. 

Brad shared a great point that “Millennials have a semester mentality.” They are used to being in school, getting frequent feedback on each of their assignments and having an interactive dialogue with their teachers. Understanding these connections can help leadership take a more focused approach in addressing and meeting the needs of the Millennial workforce.

I’m excited to put the 4 C’s of Millennial Retention to work!


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