A lot has been written about working with millennials over recent years as they have begun to dominate the workplace. Pew Research has estimated that in 2017, 35% of the US workforce was made up of millennials, making them the largest single cohort, with that number only set to grow, especially in leadership roles. This poses considerable issues for employers and managers as millennial work ethic has been called into question across an array of forums.
- Only 29% of millennials say that they are engaged at work; 55% say they are not engaged.
- 91% of millennials don’t intend to stay in their role for more than three years.
- 52% of millennials think that loyalty isn’t important.
- 71% of millennials are currently looking for a new job.
These statistics paint a picture of a disengaged and job-hopping workforce who will perform below their abilities if they’re not satisfied and happily switch jobs should they be given an opportunity. This huge employee turnover is estimated to cost the US economy over $30 billion a year.
So, what can you as an employer or manager do to overcome these issues and make working with millennials a success? To start, try following these tips to get the most out of your (relatively) younger workforce.
Provide Opportunities for Advancement
The “problem” with millennials is that, if anything, they are too ambitious, which can border on impatience at times. This confidence in their abilities and right to progress can be an effective way to challenge them and maintain their loyalty. 87% of them have said that career progression was an important factor in choosing a job, so, by offering the “carrot” of a clear path up the ladder, you can get your millennial workforce onside and focused on what they need to do now to achieve their dreams in the future.
Give Recognition Where It’s Due
Another issue that many Boomers and Gen-Xers have with millennial work ethic is their seemingly constant need to be told that they’re doing a good job. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing however, as many teams could do with increased positive reinforcement and it also provides managers with the opportunity to nudge employees in the right direction, e.g. “I really like what you did with that graphic data representation, I think it’s an area you could really excel at if you focused on it”.
Don’t Disregard their Knowledge
One of the biggest gaps between millennials and their older peers is the fact that they are virtually all digital natives, i.e. they were born and brought up on the internet and digital devices. This means that quite often they will be able to spot opportunities for innovation and improved use of technology a lot easier in work processes, which is knowledge that can benefit the whole organization.
Help Them as a Mentor
Along with their great ambition, millennials know that the future is a knowledge economy, so are very focused on continuous learning, whatever the source of that knowledge. As such, they often seek mentoring from those who can help. By taking the time to provide this role, offering guidance on their career path and professional development, you can develop stronger bonds and loyalty with your team, factors which can only improve the millennial work ethic.