Millenials In the Workplace – Danger of Disengagement

Millennials, Generation Y, Generation Me, Echo Boomers, there are many terms describing those born between 1980 and the mid 1990s, and vast numbers of them are entering the workforce. It is expected that by 2030 millennials will form 75% of the workforce (Forbes 2015). But why is this important? People have been entering the workplace for decades, what’s all this hype about millenials? Shouldn’t they just get on with it?

Times have changed. Millenials entering the workforce have been described as highly educated, more skilled in technology than any previous generation, confident self- starters able to multi-task, and have a thirst for pursuing innovation. This generation have high expectations for themselves, can be uncomfortable with corporate structures, endeavour for rapid progression, and want to pursue a varied and interesting career with flexibility and regular feedback. Millenials also place a much greater emphasis on work life balance and a high importance on contributing towards social causes

So, what does this mean for organizations? Simply, if their expectations are not met, they will just move on. The average commitment for a millennial is only two years in a single position, when compared to 5 years for a person from Generation X (Forbes 2015). They are also expected to change jobs as much as 15-20 times during the course of their career. To add fuel to the fire, this generation is highly entrepreneurial and many are turning away from “corporate land” to pursue their own ideas and businesses. This now causes a huge problem for organizations when trying to retain talent, which is now a business critical issue.

So what can you do?

You need to engage them. You need to make them want to stay with you. You need to give them a reason.

Millennials want to grow and improve, they want to be provided with regular feedback. They want to work in innovative, supportive environments where there is ample opportunity for both professional and personal development. Millennials work well with regular feedback and encouragement and want to feel as it the work they are doing is not only worthwhile but is adding longer – term value to the future of the organization. Of course, renumeration is still important however research has shown that millenials are placing a greater importance on “making a difference”.

Whichever way you look at this, it’s about widening the streams of communication and engagement. Whether that be through increased responsibility on projects, mentoring, having opportunities to innovate and “fail fast” all the way down to being recognised for doing work which is adding tangible value. Millenials are now used to constant feedback, tailored communications delivered through multiple digital channels- organizations need to recognise this and adapt to the changing mindsets if they want to attract, nurture and retain the best talent.


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