The Millennial Employee Mantra: We work with you, not for you

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

In today’s talent market, Millennials have been tagged with a bad rap based on their job hopping tendencies. While 21 percent of this generation has reported changing roles in the past year alone, there is more to the story than their lazy-and-never-satisfied stereotype. In fact, their desire for change commonly stems from something often outside of their control – a poor work-life balance.

As many companies fight to stay competitive in saturated industries by making personnel adjustments (read: cuts) to reduce overhead, lower-level employees tend to bear the heaviest burden when staff members are stretched to produce an ever-increasing output. When the employees in question are already dealing with the pressures of their own tight finances and juggling multiple at-home priorities, developing a strong work-life balance is practically out of the question. It becomes clearer why so many young employees are willing to search for – and take – new employment opportunities. And, thanks to the internet, a new job might be just a click away.

It would be remiss to think that Millennials are not invested in their careers based on this, however. Rather, nearly all Millennials (91%) believe that achieving success in their career is necessary to living a good life. What they may lack in experience, they make up for in energy, passion and ambition. It’s also important to note the rising demand for new and emerging skillsets development among this generation.

To reduce their employee turnover and ensure that this success-motivated generation is able to reach their full potential, it’s time for organizations to recognize and support a new workforce mindset: Employees don’t work for you, they work with you.

Specifically, organizations must focus on offering three things:

Clear and Measurable Goals

From day one, are employees made aware of what’s expected of them? Is there a timeline in place for these expectations? Do these expectations point directly to the impact that employees will have not only on the company, but also to the employee’s specific growth path? Clear goals stem from an impact-oriented framework, and this framework either lives or dies based on effective communication.

Consistent and Detailed Feedback

As Millennials have grown up in an era of remarkable connectedness, they’re used to instantaneous feedback in all facets of their lives – this is no different in the workplace. They want the ability to ask questions, share opinions and receive information on their performance quickly. Engagement among current Millennial employees was found to be highest among those who meet with their managers or supervisors at least once per week, and overall, Millennials are 50 percent more likely to want feedback than employees of other generations.

Constructive and Meaningful Mentorship

When Millennial employees say they want to work with you, they mean it. In fact, in the ideal Millennial workweek, they would prefer to spend significantly more time devoted to coaching and mentoring, the discussion of new ideas and ways of working, and the development of their leadership skills. Sixty-one percent of Millennials believe mentorship has a positive impact on their careers, and those with a mentor or twice as likely to stay with their current organization for more than five years (compared to the average Millennial stay of just two).

These three areas make up what we refer to as impact-oriented professional development, and overall, this development is one of the top three factors when it comes to retaining Millennial talent. It also separates Millennial employees’ needs most from those of other generations. Now is the time for your organization to begin prioritizing the needs of these employees, as their workplace mindset will only continue to gain influence as time passes.

For more on quantifying the Millennial employee impact on your business, download our latest white paper, Building Brands Inside Out: Why Your External Brand Is Only As Strong As Your Internal Culture, here!

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.