Millennials’ Perception of the Workplace: How will we respond?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, by 2020 close to 50% of the U.S. workforce is expected to be made up of millennials* (growing to 75% by 2030). Gallup’s data revealed that 21% of millennials report changing jobs within the last year, which is more than three times the number of the non-millennials employee turnover rate. Gallup also estimates that millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. These numbers reveal the urgency to better understand, engage and respond to the millennial generation and their current perceptions of the workplace. 

With the high costs of losing talent, Deloitte conducted its 2018 Millennial Survey to better understand how millennials are experiencing the workplace. While, millennials are often negatively perceived from older generations as entitled employees who seek promotions prematurely and need constant praise, their own perception of corporate culture is often ignored. Further, a reputation is developed from observations of certain characteristics without analyzing the why behind the behavior. Seeking the why behind the millennials’ generational lens leads to greater understanding and in turn a higher rate of retention for your organization.

According to Deloitte’s survey, here are some key takeaways from the survey to keep your millennials engaged beyond just two years.

  • Social and environmental impact. Millennials understand businesses need to make a profit. However, they can’t do it at the expense of the health of our society and environment. It is critical to not just give lip service to the effort but to prove it with action. They don’t believe our political or religious leaders have the capacity – they believe it is up to businesses to transform our future for good.
  • Diversity and flexibility. Good pay and positive corporate cultures are most likely to attract millennials. “Respondents who perceive their organizations and senior management teams to be diverse say their employers are able to help employees be more attuned to ethics, be more creative, develop talent more effectively and nurture emotional intelligence…Furthermore, highly flexible working arrangements enhance the degree of employee loyalty.” 
  • Compensation and skill development. With a tighter job market, we will continue to see the rise of compensation. As millennials age compensation becomes critical to their loyalty as they seek to purchase homes and raise families. Furthermore, while millennials are the most highly educated generation, they lack professional and interpersonal skills including “confidence/motivation, ethics/integrity, critical thinking and innovation/creativity.” In our ever-changing Industry 4.0, providing professional development opportunities will not only benefit organizations, but will be valued by their millennial employees, as well.

As employers seek to keep their talented millennial workforce beyond two years, they need to respond to their workplace perceptions and adjust their organizational culture accordingly. Organizations need to better communicate their positive impact on society, enhance their diversity and flexibility programs and develop their workforce through increased compensation and professional development. Research shows these steps will positively impact the bottom line and enhance workplace culture.

Interested in learning more? Contact Linda Favero to strategize ways to better understand, engage and respond to the millennial generation in your workforce.

*The Pew Research Center defines millennials as those born between 1981 and 1996. According population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau. As of July 1, 2016 (the latest date for which population estimates are available),“Millennials are expected to overtake Boomers in population in 2019 as their numbers swell to 73 million and Boomers decline to 72 million. The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand its ranks.”