How well do you connect with your millennial staff? Do you know whether they are comfortable at your company, or are they waiting to jump ship at the first chance they get? There is no doubt that this generation (individuals born between 1982 to 1993) make up most of the modern workforce. With most baby boomers (those born between 1945 and 1964) retiring and a lot of Gen Zs (those born between 1994 and 2010) too young to have an active corporate role, understanding millennials is essential to having a productive workplace.
COVID has played a big role in influencing how millennials perceive the workplace. They have mostly found it easy to adapt to a work-from-home model. Forbes reports that seven in ten millennials have enjoyed working from home,as they see it as a better option for their work/life balance. Now, as offices begin to fill all their desks back, they are finding it hard to abandon their pandemic habits. This means that you have to rethink your workplace to be able to retain and attract top millennial talent. Below are some of the main trends currently picking up steam amongst the millennial workforce.
They Want More Workplace Flexibility
Even before COVID-19, millennials were already deviating from the physical office-work model and seeking more flexible working arrangements. A number of studies have highlighted how millennials wanted to escape the typical work model. Initially, this included having more creative work environments. However, the pandemic has made them more eager to work from home and achieve a work/life balance.
As the pandemic wanes, this trend is likely to continue. According to a recent Deloitte Global Millennial Survey, 70% of millennials believe that flexible working arrangements could help to reduce their stress levels. Physical work environments have become less of a factor to them as they are more receptive to digital tools that make virtual work more tenable. You can encourage them to be more productive by allowing them to work more remotely and coming in for sensitive meetings or to submit critical reports. Other flexible options include implementing four-day workweeks or having the employees set their own work hours.
Personal Identity Is A Huge Aspect of Their Work
Esther Perel, a renowned therapist, believes that the habits of millennials at the workplace are shaped by their values. She says that millennials, more than other generations, highly value the work they do. The reason, as she said, is that they live in what Perel calls an "identity economy."
Older generations got a sense of identity from their local community and religion, with work only being a means of earning a living. For millennials, work is not only a source of financial support but a means of getting fulfillment and personal satisfaction. This is one reason why Millenials are more likely to jump from one job to the other.
The habit is likely to continue after the pandemic as Millenials seek opportunities that will offer them more meaning. Giving them more room to express themselves could be a way to convince them to stay at your organization. This means creating a work environment that allows them to support several of their other identity frames.
They Are Quitting In Droves
According to statisticsreleased by the Labor Department, about 3.5 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in February alone. Forbes also reports that one in three millennials is currently thinking about changing their jobs after the pandemic. Most of the reasons causing such massive job changes are concerns about career growth and how different employers handled the pandemic.
Nearly half of those planning to quit fault their employers for failing to maintain an appropriate level of corporate culture during the pandemic. With most millennials being young and unmarried, they feel too isolated as they wait out the pandemic alone.
They Value Soft Skills More Than Hard Ones
A recent PwC report reveals that employees are currently more concerned about growing their adaptability and problem-solving skills. This comes as no surprise as last year demanded most of them to make and adapt to numerous changes. Their problem-solving capabilities helped them to remain productive, despite the work environment.
You can help them to be more productive by explaining to them the skills they need to grow to advance their careers. Building a culture of flexibility and continual learning will also help to show your commitment to their growth. For example, you can give them dedicated paid time off to re-skill, learn, and upskill.
They Want Pet-Friendly Workplaces
As work-from-home arrangements became more common during the pandemic, most pet-owners formed a stronger bond with their furry companions. Now, a Banfield Pet Hospital survey reveals that 48% of millennials want their employers to introduce a pet-friendly policy at the workplace. One in three millennials would also consider seeking another job after the pandemic if their work environment was not pet-friendly.
Allowing your millennial workforce to remain connected with their pets ensures that they transition back to the office smoothly and keep working productively. Otherwise, they could experience trauma or separation anxiety, which could make them have little output or seek another job that allows them to be with their furry friends.
Understand Your Millenial Staff
Millennials have for long been misunderstood, especially by older generations who perceive them to be too entitled at the workplace. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought even more confusion in terms of how executives can make this young generation more comfortable and productive. They are now seeking things like more flexibility, identity, and clear advancement opportunities out of the work they do.
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Tom DiSilva has been providing professional human resource services for over 30 years. As the CEO of Navigate PEO, he actively partners with organizations of all sizes in the Greater New England area and across the country to help their businesses grow. He has expertise in HR and Labor Management, offering guidance and support for key areas of business such as negotiations, operations management, employee coaching, and employee benefits design.