Understanding millennials in the workplace

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5 Reasons Millennials in the Workplace Leave Their Jobs

Do millennials have commitment issues? When it comes to working a job, it might appear so. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median tenure at a job for baby boomers is almost ten years. Yet, the millennial generation only stays at their jobs for 2.8 years. Deloitte’s research only confirms employers’ worst fears. Nearly half of the respondents from their survey on millennials in the workplace said they’d change jobs within two years if they could.

Employee turnover on this scale is a costly problem for organizations. The Work Institute estimates every person that quits costs a business 33% of their salary. For example, if you lost seven employees you paid $45,000 a year, that’s $105,000 in losses. In addition, losing a team member can result in low team morale, leading the company to spiral into even higher levels of turnover and its financial implications.

Millennials are now America’s largest demographic of working people, so employers can’t just avoid hiring them. Because of this, the question becomes: What do millennials in the workplace want, and how do you get them to stay?

Find out the answer to this question in the article below, plus learn everything there is to know about millennial workers, their characteristics, top reasons they quit their jobs, and how to increase your chances at having them build a long-term career at your business.

Who Consists of Millennials in the Workforce?

Millennials in the workplace, also known as Generation Y, consist of people born between 1981 and 1996. Older generations in the workforce would include Generation X, or those born between the early 1960s and the early 1980s. The generation preceding Gen X are the Baby Boomers born during the postwar era that ranges from 1946 to 1964. While only a small portion of the U.S. workforce, the traditionalists are the last generation of workers, although most are now retired. This group was born between 1925 and 1945.

Millennials in the workplace might share many common traits. However, employers mustn’t generalize or form opinions about workers based on their age. It’s important to remember what is true about one person who is a millennial might not be true about another. The same goes for any other demographic. Remember, ageism is a discriminatory practice and it can lead to serious legal implications for businesses. With that being said, there are still various perceptions about millennials in the workforce. Find out what these are below.

They Want Work-Life Balance

Millennials in the workplace value conditions that provide them with work-life balance. They’re well-known for desiring or negotiating specific terms of employment that prevent feelings of becoming emotionally drained. This might look like wanting unlimited PTO or being a full-time remote worker.

Millennials are Technologically Adept

This demographic seems to know how to use a variety of different technologies instinctively. They grew up during an era of technological advancements. Because of this, millennials in the workplace have a lot of experience using ever-changing social media platforms, cloud-based software, and other tech-driven tools that result in more streamlined work. They also adapt quickly to technological advancements and adjust faster to new programs, software, apps, and other forms of technology businesses might incorporate into their daily operations.

This Demographic Gets Bored Easily

A report from Gallup states that only 29 percent of millennials at work feel engaged. When it comes to why they seem to be expert job-hoppers, this is a huge indicator. Because their expectations for finding a meaningful job are higher, they seek careers that allow them to connect to the business, its leaders, their coworkers, and the work they do. Otherwise, they’ll begin the hunt for something more purpose-driven and fulfilling.

Generation Y is Needy and Opinionated

Common complaints with older generations about millennials in the workplace are that they’re whiny, entitled, and require too much nurturing. With that being said, millennials do desire engagement from their employers. However, leaders shouldn’t mistake this for being too needy. Younger generations want to attach themselves to their work emotionally, but they won’t if they aren’t in a safe work environment. The suppression of employee’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and concerns will inevitably lead to disengagement.

Millennials Crave Growth Opportunities

A survey from Payscale and Millennial Branding found that 72 percent of millennials at work place value on career advancement opportunities. This means they want the leaders in their organizations to help them reach their professional goals. For instance, this might look like having weekly one-on-one meetings, offering mentorship, giving regular feedback, working through a career development plan together, teaching the team leadership skills each week, and providing leadership opportunities.

Additionally, workers from this generation are also known for pushing themselves. According to LendingTree, 50 percent of millennials have a side hustle that provides extra monthly income. This means they’re using their talents to make money outside their 9 to 5 jobs. An additional cushion like this can help them pursue their dream of starting a business. It could also fund investment opportunities, help them save for a home, or let them have more financial freedom. Overall, most millennials aren’t afraid of hard work and pursuing goals they find rewarding and fulfilling.

Millennials in the Workplace: Background and Facts

Millennials are the United State’s largest working generation, accounting for 35% of the workforce, and let’s face it, most millennial stereotypes aren’t positive. From the mid-2000s until only a few years ago, they were often described as “Generation Me” for their self-centered attitude. Gen Xers and boomers were right to worry that they’d be overrun with entitled, attention-seeking adults.

But, millennials began entering the workforce as early as 1996! That means the oldest, or most experienced, group of millennials has spent the last twenty years working. In 2020 the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics found there were between 5 and 11 million millennial managers. Some millennials are leading Fortune 500 companies, and others are just getting started. But, even with this age difference, there are many commonalities in how they work.

After years of analysis, we can confidently say that millennials have many contradicting work-related traits. You can expect:

On its face, this information is frustrating, but themes are running through these clashing behaviors. Many stumbling blocks that millennial’s managers must overcome revolve around these core components: individualism, opportunity-seeking, and engagement.

They want flexibility in when and where they work

A previous study on benefits and perks found that over half of employees would switch to a job that allows them flextime, and 37 percent would switch to a job that allows them to work off-site at least part of the time. In fact, Gallup consistently finds that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job.

All employees share this desire for flexibility, but none more than millennials. Previous Gallup research on the generation revealed that they care deeply about work/life balance, and place an importance on having a life — not just a job.

Flexibility and working remotely come hand in hand. Millennials tendency towards pumping out work in their pajamas or while sipping a latte at a coffee shop is often seen as lazy and entitled. But it seems they may be on to something: the study discovered that engagement climbs when employees split their time between working remotely and working in an office with their coworkers.

In fact, the optimal engagement boost occurs when employees spend 60 to 80 percent of their time — or three to four days in a five-day workweek — working off-site. Yep, you heard us right. Time to find a coffee shop with great lattes and strong Wi-Fi.