Employers are baffled by the recent shift to a millennial dominated workforce. They are struggling to understand why millennials move on from their company so quickly or why they are not identifying with the work culture that has suited prior generations.
What questions are these employers frequently asking in their search to satisfy millennials? Let’s unpack these questions and answer their questions on young adults in the workplace.
How can you tell if millennials are happy at their job?
If an employee is happy at their job, they won’t leave. Right?
Let’s start with the findings that show millennials are not job-hopping any more than previous generations did in their 20’s and early 30’s. In fact, the evidence suggests that millennials are staying put more often than their predecessors and it’s costing these young adults dearly – in the form of lower starting wages and lack of significant salary boosts from changing jobs. It's natural for a 20-something to be changing jobs and employers, regardless of their generation, because they are early in their career and refining where they want to take their career.
Now, back to happy millennials. I like what Payscale CEO Mike Metzger has to say on the topic: “People want to know their ideas are in the company’s equation. We look to see if there’s a strong alignment in their vision and what people associate with in their careers. People do their best work when creating their own stress. They feel their own outcomes and want to deliver their own outcomes.”
Millennials find deeper purpose in their work and are more likely to stay put if they feel emotionally invested. It’s no longer enough to show up every day to a job that provides a paycheck. Millennials want to know there is more to their job than the output the company desires. They want it to have deep personal meaning.
What’s the key thing people must keep in mind with millennials?
Millennials seek a deeper purpose in their work than merely company objectives. They are more likely to work for companies that share the same values.
TinyPulse CEO David Niu shared, “Millennials are the most diverse set of employees. In our careers page, we highlight that we give back 1% of our time and 1% of our profit to organizations in need. Once a quarter, our team takes one day to volunteer together. This helps build bridges not just in our communities, but also between different employees and teams.”
As an employer, you should be asking yourself how you’re making it possible for a millennial to express their desire to give back.
How do you attract and retain millennials?
According to Forbes, an overwhelming majority of millennials wanted the following:
- To be their own boss (or have a mentor or coach in place of a boss)
- Collaborative work culture
- Flexible work schedules
- Work-life integration, which is different from work-life balance
If you scoff at the millennial preferences above, take note, as this is the direction that workplaces are headed. Retaining millennials boils down to creating a workplace environment in which they feel like an invested member of the community.
In fact, it would be a win-win if an organization provided the opportunity for a millennial to pursue their specific desires to contribute to the world and allowed them to create the plan on how to do it.
This could look something like a software giant taking proposals from millennial employees about how their product can target STEM initiative interest in young girls living in low-income neighborhoods. Then, allow the employee to develop the action plan on how to accomplish this, as they’ll feel more emotionally invested if they create it versus follow a script provided by upper management.
How are millennials evolving the workplace?
Companies that do not innovate in today’s marketplace become irrelevant. Millennials are accustomed to this ever-changing landscape and have grown up learning to adapt to new ways to accomplishing tasks - often times many tasks at once. Innovation and change are part of their lifeblood.
If you’re an employer, you should have a space for innovation that allows for failure. The worst possible phrase you can use with a millennial offering a fresh perspective on innovating work is, “It’s just the way we’ve always done things.”
Additionally, millennials hate the idea of feeling chained to their cubicle. Enabling your workforce technology with advancements like cloud availability allows employees to take their work with them. This can result in a win-win if the employee feels like they’ve been given flexibility in their work environment, while the employer is likely to get more productive work and longer hours from the employee.
Has this made you rethink your approach to the workplace? Hit the heart button below if this article was helpful and leave a comment on changes you hope to make.