5 unconventional ways to leverage your Millennial workforce
The last thing we want is to generalize a few statistics to an entire population. We’ve worked with enough millennials to know that a cherry-picked selection of trendy research does little in the way of describing their lived experience, capturing their desires, and painting an accurate picture of their values.
More than that, generational statistics are more often than not used as grounds to belittle or degrade the ‘offending’ generation – millennials are frivolous and ambitionless; Boomers are power-hungry and domineering. What we’ve done is collect key statistics that do the exact opposite; we’re showcasing what makes millennials excellent and innovative workers – and why you need more of them in your workforce.
1. Millennials love their work – so long as it loves them back
Millennials are unusually value-driven; they want a company that
- Celebrates their hard work and success
- Respects their time (and PTO) and grants them (measured) autonomy
- Understands that workplace productivity is a two-way road; companies need to invest in millennials if they expect millennials to invest in the company
- Has a true moral compass
If the above terms are accepted, millennials are exceptionally hard working – and exceptionally happy – workers. The Journal of Business and Psychology finds that Millennials report “higher levels of overall company and job satisfaction, satisfaction with job security, recognition, and career development advancement.”
2. Millennials are surprisingly competitive, ambitious, and committed
There’s a nefarious myth going around that millennials are lazy and unmotivated – probably propagated by the same news outlets that extol avocado toast as the millennial kryptonite.
The fact is that millennials are the most hungry, the most driven, the most success-motivated generation in today’s market. CEB polled 90,000 US workers to determine the most competitive generation – millennials ranked #1. 59% of millennials reported that competition is “what gets them up in the morning” versus 50% of baby-boomers, and 58% reported regularly comparing their performance to peers.
Far from lazy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that millennials have a 3.5% unemployment rate, well below the national average of 4.0%. And their earnings match those of Boomers and Gen X’ers when they were aged 18-33, adjusted for inflation.
3. Millennials are more loyal than past generations
The popular narrative would have you believe millennials are vicious job-hoppers, their only loyalty being to the almighty dollar.
Turns out that’s categorically false. Millennials stay with their employers for as long as or longer than Generation X workers at the same ages. When you consider college-educated workers specifically, the difference becomes even more acute; millennials are simply more loyal than previous generations.
4. Millennials are uncharacteristically risk averse
The media portrayal of millennials would have you think they are avid spenders, with no concept of saving or retirement.
The reality is that millennials contribute a median 10% of their salary to 401k or similar saving plans – the same as Baby Boomers and 2% more than Generation X workers. Even more telling? 39% of millennials are categorized as “super savers,” meaning they contribute 10% or more of their salary – despite the early stage in their careers. This positions them as the #1 generation of savers in the 18th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey.
Ranking #2 in terms of millennial job satisfaction? Job security, according to a recent SHRM study. So not only are they savers, but they are extremely concerned about a steady income and staying with their current employer. Far from high-risk youths, millennials are looking for stability, loyalty, and a secure retirement plan.
5. Millennials crave guidance, coaching, and training
We’re talking about a highly-educated generation of professionals, looking to make their mark in their industry while developing their careers and up-skilling their knowledge. They take well to mentorship and appreciate the time and effort you invest in their success.
In fact, in a poll of 5000 workers, 41% of millennials agreed that “employees should do what their manager tells then, even when they can’t see the reason for it.” That’s in comparison to just 30% of Baby Boomers and 30% of Generation X workers.
Of course, this is partly due to millennials age; they aren’t yet as senior as Baby Boomers or Generation X, so they require more guidance and are less likely to go rogue. But it also speaks to their fundamental learning mentality – raised in a time of constant flux, both technologically and economically, millennial workers crave structure. Provide them with mentorship, teach them as they grow, and you’ll be rewarded with loyal, dedicated workers, looking to impress and willing to put in the hours.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about every generation – we want to be your partner in clearing all the noise and zeroing in on the most critical information to identify, hire, and retain the best possible professionals for your business. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org for answers.
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