The term ‘quarter life crisis’ is common among millennial vocabulary today. Typically it is caused by a sense of not being at a place in life that one would expect. Employee rotational programs are increasing in popularity as millennials wrestle through their quarter life crisis.
Rotational programs typically involve at least three different work assignments at the same employer with a specified time frame in each role. They provide the opportunity to try on many hats to see which fits the best. For example, a participant may spend a year in accounting, a year in finance and a year in marketing.
Clare Maher, Content Specialist at CloudOne, an Internet of Things company, speaks to the changing trends. “In the box careers are not fulfilling and workplaces are struggling to accommodate certain traits young working millennials possess: desire to learn, desire to advance and desire to make an impact.”
Why Are Companies Starting Rotational Programs?
Companies are beginning to catch on to the desires and motivations of millennials. As they see the workforce changing, specifically with the desire to try many roles before committing to one, they develop rotational programs to draw in more young adults.
“I think millennials are attracted to rotational programs like ours because of the continuous training,” said Laura Lawson, Chief People Officer at United Shore Financial Services, a financial and wholesale mortgage company. “Millennials typically crave the ability to learn new skills and continuously improve and that’s what our program is designed to provide.”
Employers, such as Mars, Inc., are seeing that rotational programs not only attract millennials, but develop them into long-term employees that contribute with more depth.
Kerry Grigg, Global University Recruitment & Early Talent Pipeline Development Director at Mars, Inc., a global manufacturer of confectionery, pet care and other food products, shared about their program. “The best way to accelerate the development of our associates’ perspective and learning agility is to experience rotations in stretching and real roles across a range of functions.”
While some companies may see rotational programs as an expense, with no guarantee of developed employee retention, others put full efforts into the program to aim for success.
BOK Financial is a good example of employee retention success. Scott Robin, Accelerated Career Track Manager at BOK Financial, a personal banking and mortgage company, explains, “Our immediate past CEO, who served in that role for 20 years, was a graduate of the program. Our current Chief Credit Officer and many notable business leaders joined the company through the program.”
Do Millennials Choose Rotational Programs Over Traditional Jobs?
It can be tempting to think that rotational programs only attract a unique type of young adult, but if there’s one thing millennials own as a generational trait, it’s the power to choose. The freedom of choice for a searching and questioning young adult is more powerful than a promised career track.
John Boese, Founder of GoFindFriends.com, a social networking site in New York City, shares his experience. “I had quite a few traditional job offers but chose the rotational program over them. The traditional jobs were low risk and I knew exactly where I’d be in five to ten years. The rotational program was relatively less defined and the outcome much less certain, but it also had the potential to be an amazing opportunity.”
For others, it’s less about the choice as much as it is about building skills in multiple areas.
“I chose the rotational program because of the opportunity to take on significant responsibilities in multiple departments, and experiment with different skill sets,” shared Amy Sung, Rotational Associate at Optoro, a reverse logistics technology company. “That kind of knowledge transfer and potential for growth is not as accessible in traditional jobs.”
Another reason millennials may choose a rotational program over a traditional job is if they are in pursuit of job satisfaction. Young adults today are unwilling to sacrifice 40 hours each week to a job they don’t enjoy.
“A rotational program was very attractive to me because it allowed me the time and opportunity to find the type of work and group culture that would provide me with the greatest level of satisfaction,” said Mackenzie Whipps, Credit Specialist at Bank of Texas, a financial banking institution.
What Do Millennials Think Of Rotational Programs?
While I’ll honestly admit that not all the feedback I received from millennials in rotational programs was positive, the majority said the benefit they received from the experience was worthwhile.
Based on millennial feedback on rotational programs, it was clear that they are not interested in investing years of their life in ‘internship-like’ rotational programs. They expect a program where their skills will grow and they will develop their understanding of that particular line of work.
Overall, young adults see rotational programs as an opportunity to ‘try before you buy’, or rather, ‘try before you commit’. As a group, they are so used to the world changing rapidly, so they would rather not commit to a career track out of college that they have no experience with.
“One of the positive aspects of the rotational program was that you got to understand the difference in team cultures and job responsibilities across the organization,” shared Gunhee Park, founder of Ministry of Hemp, a leading hemp e-commerce brand. “This did help me understand what type of work I enjoy more and what type of manager I would want to work for after I graduate from the rotational program.”
Park drives home the final point on rotational programs that stand out to millennials. They are generally more specific about what type of work environment they want to be a part of. Rotating jobs allows them to experience multiple managers, working teams, and working styles. They can experience in a few years what often takes a decade for young professionals to refine.
Employers likely don’t realize the part they can play in relieving some of the pressure many millennials experience in a quarter life crisis. By allowing them options to determine where they feel most at home, they decrease the pressure on young adults to fit a predefined mold.
This article was written by Kaytie Zimmerman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.