A major crisis
With the accounting profession in the midst of a staffing crisis, retaining staff at all levels is a major concern for accounting firms – but they’re finding it particularly difficult to keep Millennials, who often don’t seem to respond to the traditional retention tools.

This slideshow shares six tactics for keeping your Millennials on side, from Bruce Tulgan, founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking Inc. and author of the recent Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How to Manage the Millennials.

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1. Emphasize the prestige factor
Millennials are highly aware of prestige and status, according to Tulgan, and want to be associated with them.

“In order to retain the best, you need to send the message that not everyone gets to work at your firm, and that it is a privilege and an honor to work there,” he says.
2. Highlight top performers
Tulgan recommends putting a spotlight on performance. This will serve two purposes. First off, it will help your high performers shine even more brightly.

“They want to know that someone knows just how much great work they are doing,” Tulgan explains.
3. Push out low performers
The second reason is that it will help drive out those who aren’t contributing as much. “With a bright light shining on them, the stubborn low performers will usually stick out like sore thumbs,” Tulgan says, and that may help move them toward the door.

Getting rid of those who don’t perform well will also increase the “prestige factor” of your firm.
4. Reward them more
This makes sense for great employees at all levels – pay them more, give them more bonus money, offer them the best schedules and more control over when they work, and give them first choice on special projects or valued assignments.

“Every Millennial wants a custom deal. The more you are able to customize for them, the longer you will keep them,” Tulgan says. “But if your resources and your ability to customize are limited, you had better concentrate those resources on your very best people.”

5. Understand them as individuals
While you’ll certainly want to deploy all the usual blanket retention tools, like money, promotions and the like, your strongest strategies may involve working out special deals with star Millennials to meet some unusual need or want that really matters to them personally.

“The more unusual the needs and wants of a particular employee, the more valuable it will be if you are able to meet those needs and wants, because it will be harder for other employers to replicate those rewards,” Tulgan points out.
6. Lavish time and attention on them
No matter how much you may trust your best Millennials to operate on their own, they still want managerial attention. Surround your best Millennials with managers and mentors who will support and develop them.

“The better they are, the more attention they want: The superstar Millennials want managers who know exactly who they are, help them succeed, and keep close track of their success,” says Tulgan.