Millennials are officially the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, with Pew Research Center finding that more than one-in-three American labor force participants (35%) are millennials. This is a generation who is educated, tech-savvy and hungry to impact the workplace. But they also want different things from their employers than previous generations.
As millennial involvement in the workforce has continued to grow in the last few years, organizations have struggled to retain millennial talent. In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that tenure for workers ages 25-34 years, was only 2.8 years. As the workplace landscape has changed in recent years, so has the war for talent. And subsequently, the needs of the modern workforce. The qualities mentioned above are also aligned with Gen Z — meaning in order to compete in the future, it’s crucial to think about today’s workforce and tomorrow’s.
Here are three ways you can engage and support millennials in the workplace:
1. Address employee burnout
Deloitte found that burnout greatly affects millennial retention, with 84% of millennials experiencing burnout at their current job compared to 77% of all respondents. And nearly half of millennials have also left a job due to burnout.
“We know that millennials have a different way of thinking about how long to stay in organizations. 43% tend to leave within the first two years. I’m not a big believer that millennials are that much different than the rest of us. The one way I do think millennials are different is that they tend to have the courage to walk away from bad work.” – Laura Hamill, Chief People Officer & Chief Science Officer at Limeade
The Limeade Institute found that employees who felt that their organization cared about their well-being had lower burnout, whereas employees who felt that their organization did not care had higher levels of burnout. There’s many ways that an organization can show their employees that they care but be sure to move beyond the surface-level perks like juice bars and Margarita Fridays. What employees really need are more meaningful actions from their company to know they’re cared for.
2. Prioritize Diversity & Inclusion
In 2016, Pew Research Center found that millennials were the most ethnic and racially diverse generation than any other adult generation. Deloitte and BJKLI also found that 83% of millennials are actively engaged when they believe that their organization fosters an inclusive culture. And this inclusive culture isn’t just about diverse backgrounds but bringing together diverse perspectives and ideas where everyone’s voice is heard to make a stronger business impact.
Organizations must prioritize inclusion if they want to retain their millennial workers. How? Advocate for dedicated D&I budget, recruit from different colleges and universities than you have in the past, re-examine your processes like promotion, learning and development to identify where bias is emerging. Doing so will not only improve your employee retention rates, but the innovation and ideas will move your business forward.
3. Be champions in your community
A 2016 Cone Communications study found that 75% of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a socially responsible company and that 76% of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments before deciding where to work.
Organizations can’t ignore the fact that their workforce doesn’t just come to work to get a paycheck. They want to have a positive impact on the world. Companies must start think of how they can give back to their communities and be champions for causes that their employees care about.
Millennials are key when it comes to driving innovation and bringing new ideas to the table in today’s modern workplace. But they prioritize different things than prior generations. There’s no doubt that your millennial workforce provides immense value to your team but making sure they feel engaged and cared for is critical to retaining them.
Check out our Science of Care webinar to learn more about creating and engaging a caring workplace.