Capitalising on professional Millennial employees: Exploratory study on a mining organisation's talent management strategies
The Millennial generation are individuals born between 1982 and 2000 and are starting to dominate the workforce while most of the previous generations are retiring. Millennials are different in terms of their needs and values in the workplace and expectations of the employer. Research reveals that Millennials are the least engaged and committed generation, challenging many organisations to attract, engage and retain Millennial talent. Improved engagement and commitment can result from targeted talent management efforts as supported by research. The problem this study aimed to address was to equip a mining organisation's talent management department with the necessary knowledge of its current professional Millennial talent pool to inform the strategic decisions required for improved engagement and retention, and to ultimately capitalise on what this generation can offer. A cross-sectional design and quantitative research approach was followed. Data was collected via an online survey platform in response to the research instrument that was compiled from market research surveys and literature. Workplace values, expectation of employer offerings, commitment levels, insight on the current development opportunities being provided and the perceptions of the company's ability to manage the generation shift were queried. The workplace values preferred by the respondents matched many of the practitioner and literature findings. The most important workplace values for the respondents were company benefits (pension, vacation, sick leave, insurance, etc.) and to obtain personal growth in their careers. To have a job that is interesting and job security or a permanent job were also highly rated. The expectations the respondents have of the employer are that of career progression opportunities, competitive wages and incentives and a high calibre of training and development. The training and development methods preferred include the use of excellent mentors and coaching, being exposed to role change and rotations, and funding of studies by the organisation. Work-life balance and flexible working hours and work arrangements have also been highlighted throughout the study as being highly valuable to the respondents. Together with competitive wages, incentives and pension funding, the total rewards package can include the investment of training and development being provided by the employer as well as the allowance of flexible working hours/arrangements. In terms of organisational commitment, responses were largely impartial/neutral, either indicating that commitment levels are low, or that the respondents felt uncomfortable communicating their perceived commitment levels or that organisational commitment is not considered as important (which correlates to the theory that the Millennial generation is the least committed generation). Affective commitment was the higher rated component of organisation commitment (OC) which may be due to most of the respondents being with the company for several years and that an emotional attachment has been forged between the respondent and the company. In conclusion, for the mining organisation to capitalise on its professional Millennial talent, the employer offering, in the form of a total rewards package or employee value proposition, can be used to improve engagement and subsequent retention of these individuals. It should be noted that the respondents were divided on whether the company is willing or capable of managing the generational shift, however, the majority was convinced on leaving the company if their needs are not met. Recommendations have been provided in effort to develop the organisations' total rewards package or employee value proposition. The researcher believes that these recommendations are practical and applicable in the HR field and that implementation will be dependent on the outcomes of the recommended actions and the supporting studies as identified in the future research suggestions. It is the researcher's belief that the company places a high value on its people; as without its people — and having the right people, filling the right positions, at the right time — the company will not be able to meet its strategic objectives or fulfil its mission.