Today’s workforce is ripe with a younger generation known as “millennials” (those born within 1982–2000). By 2025, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce.
According to a 2016 Gallup survey, 21 percent of millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year and 60 percent of millennials said they’d be open to a new job opportunity. One major reason for this shift in employee retainment is due to lack of engagement in the workplace.
Managers need a paradigm shift within their current engagement models in order for this younger generation to commit to a longer–lasting employment term.
Work/Life balance is key for millennials; they are planning near–term exits from their employers in order to put their personal interests and values before their jobs. To overcome this “exit challenge,” there are several key–findings that when integrated into the workplace, millennials become more engaged and loyal.
Areas to strongly consider integrating into your new engagement model:
- Flexibility with the option of working remotely
- Creating team–working areas in the office
- Offer mentorship (millennials want to feel that they are being set up for leadership roles)
- Transparency (honest, straight–forward, down–to–earth communication)
- Wellness practices incorporated into the company culture
It is now necessary for employee engagement to take a more holistic approach; first and foremost millennials want to know their company is one that truly cares.
You may be thinking, “what makes a company a caring company?”
When Companies Care
Millennials want proof that the company is not only interested in profit but also in purpose. They are looking for a company that encourages community involvement and supports their participation in non–profit and charitable efforts. This may mean allowing your employees to volunteer during regular office hours and offering training for leadership opportunities within non-profit boards.
Salesforce employees are eligible for seven days of paid Volunteer Time Off per year while Deloitte offers their employees an unlimited amount of paid VTO.
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Furthermore, on a personal level, the millennial will want to receive honest feedback, have the opportunity for developmental progress, be recognized for their strengths, and have a sense of purpose within the company.
Sodexo, a leading food services and facility management company, offers multiple mentorship programs including a “Peer–to–Peer” initiative which is an informal style of mentorship that employees can opt to take part in during any point of their career. CarMax supports their employees ‘untapped potential’ by offering multiple levels of mentorship including online courses, one–on–one mentorship, and individual development plans.
Importance of Values
These seemingly hard–to–please millennials want to work for companies that are aligned with their core values and those that care about their overall wellbeing. With the rise of Eastern practices (i.e. yoga, meditation) permeating the Western culture, millennials want to bring their daily practices of mindfulness and wellness into the office. When job–hunting, millennials are choosing companies that have an ethos that is supportive of their lifestyle outside of the work place.
Aetna’s CEO, Mark Bertolini, had a life–changing experience that lead him to discover the power of meditation and yoga. Bertolini brought what he discovered to his 50,000 employees via a full wellness center and offered employees the option to exercise at any point throughout the work day; this resulted in a 28 percent decrease in employee stress levels and 20 percent of employees said they benefited from better sleep.
While leading companies like Google are encouraging mindfulness practices into their company culture, others are offering in–office yoga, healthy snacks, and even nap rooms. A 2016 report by the Global Wellness Institute revealed that employees that believe that their company genuinely cares about them has a significant impact on their engagement and loyalty to the company. However, the report also reveals that these wellness programs are only game–changing to engagement when the employee believes that they are working for a “caring” company as opposed to a “non–caring” company.
The backbone of any company are the employees and if the employees are unhappy, it’s likely the company itself will not thrive. Millennials want to know that the company they are working for has a genuine approach to caring about each individual within the company in addition to community outreach initiatives. Taking steps to improve the employer/employee relationship in a millennial-laden workforce will ultimately increase performance and retainment. It’s just a matter of integrating new ways of connection and allowing for authentic flexibility.