Millennials are a challenge because they're comfortable job-hopping more frequently than their predecessors in pursuit of professionally and personally rewarding work experiences. The median employee tenure for workers age 25- 34 is just 3.2 years -- or roughly 40 percent shorter than the median for all employees, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The quickest way to improve retention is to offer an opportunity that's hard to leave — one where there is flexibility, ongoing feedback, clear expectations, and a concrete trajectory towards growth and rewards.
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Ideally, however, the best way to test a car is to drive it. A quality internship program could deliver substantial retention dividends. Northwestern Mutual's program has proven especially effective with millennials, doubling the number of conversions during the last five years. Working alongside tenured professionals, interns get a firsthand look at what a financial advisor career entails, while simultaneously enabling us to assess if a recruit is a good fit and has the support system to manage the potential financial fluctuations in the early stages. This transparency reduces attrition as interns who transition to full-time do so knowing that this is a career they'll enjoy.
Commentary by Steve Mannebach, VP of field growth and development at Northwestern Mutual, where he is responsible for growing and strengthening the company's exclusive field force including recruiting, college marketing, retention, and professional development.
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