Author: Korrie-Mae Wiszniak
According to the latest Gallup Research effort on Millennials, they aren’t just different than past generations, they are so vastly different and impacting, they are changing everything about the world we live in! When it comes to the workplace, they are decisively changing the landscape and organizational cultures need to implement functional change in response, or fail at a fundamental level.
Funny, I was always led to believe that Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1996, were just an entitled bunch of job hopping loafers. The recent Gallup analytics seem to prove this incorrect, instead pointing to a group who may just be more demanding!
Out with the Paycheck, in with the Purpose. Millennials grew up watching their parents work for a paycheck; they experienced parents working far too many hours and sacrificing family life, consequently many grew up “latch key” kids, and determined not to merely work for a paycheck. So, while they demand fair compensation(48% responded that it was important); more importantly, they want to feel their work has purpose. In fact, almost 67% of Millennials are engaged at work when they strongly agree that the mission of their company makes them feel their job is important. They want to be employed in a position that feels worthwhile and will job hop(60% are open to different job opportunities) until they find it. Consequently, companies need to ensure their vision and mission statements permeate every aspect of the Millennials work.
Out with Job Satisfaction, in with Development. The gallup poll discovered that only 29% of millennials are engaged in their jobs, while the majority(55%) are not engaged. Add that to the percentage actively disengaged, brings the percentage to 71%. This makes them the least engaged generation at work and translates to more than half of the millennials being emotionally and behaviourally disconnected from their jobs.
This is a huge loss for companies considering half this group is essentially indifferent and only “putting in time” at their jobs. This generation is not driven by the little perks in the workplace and entitlements, so giving these out is a leadership mistake. This generation is driven by purpose and development. 87% of Millennials said professional development was important in a job, so your culture must be reflect this and be one that provides a compelling purpose and development of individuals.
Boss? No thanks, give me a Coach-type manager. While we’re at it, I want ongoing dialogue, not a yearly review! Millennials don’t want to be commanded and controlled, they want to be mentored and coached. They want to be valued as individuals and employees. Gallup found that 65% of Millennials who felt they could talk to their managers about life issues outside of work, planned to be with their current employer at least one year from now.
The Gallup poll also revealed that Millennial employees who had more frequent and consistent communication with their managers reported a 40% engagement level. That’s a stark contrast to only 20% engagement of Millennial respondants whose managers met with them on a less regular basis. Remember, the parents, of Millennials worked endless hours, and hence overcompensated on the weekends for their absence during the week, being super engaged. Additionally, they grew up in an age of an instantaneous feedback loop, support, and encouragement. Hence, is it any wonder they demand it in their workplace?
My job? More like, my life. The millennials see their job and their life as closely weaved together. 57%, nearly six in 10 said that work-life balance and personal well-being in a job are ‘very important’ to them. Remember, this is the same group that grew up with parents who were absent for some of their childhood, working to create prosperity and demonstrating greater loyalty to their employer. They are the generation effecting change and wanting a life well-lived.
If you think these are solely “Millennial” issues, think again! Perhaps just as interesting, at least from an organizational engagement perspective, are the stats revealing that other generations are just as disengaged; 50% of Gen Xers, 48% of Baby Boomers and 41% of traditionalists according to Gallup data.
Armed with the comprehensive Gallup research on the Millennials, the choice for companies becomes clear; focus on a great vision and mission for your organization, and refer back to it frequently, allowing Millennials to feel that their work has purpose. Engage Millennials with communication and feedback as individuals and do it frequently, creating a culture that values and recognizes contributions; create opportunities for professional development and promote work/non-work life balance, adding to Millennials sense of overall well-being.
Companies who want to thrive in this changing landscape, in which Millennials will increasingly become the largest contributors, need managers to give all generations, especially Millennials compelling reasons to join, engage and stay.