by Eliza Friedman
I am a millennial—a member of the “tech savvy” generation born between 1980 and 2000 that, by 2025, will account for 75% of the global workforce. My generation’s coming of age during a period of rapid innovation and the uncertainty caused by 9/11 and the “Great Recession,” has given us a different set of workplace expectations than those of older generations.
As a result, millennials are mischaracterized as “fickle” regarding their current jobs. Although some studies suggest that over 90% will leave their jobs within the next few years, other studies indicate that, with the right environment and support, millennials are a professionally loyal group. It makes sense, then, that companies would want to understand what drives millennials’ enthusiasm and keeps them engaged. How can they maintain a healthy, productive work environment and retain their talented workforce?
Mentorship. A 2015 study suggests the primary reason millennials leave their jobs is directly related to their bosses. Millennials thrive on frequent and meaningful communication more than any other generation—and want to be mentored. They want the opportunity to engage, interact, and learn from senior management. Over 90% of millennials who identify as having a mentor are pleased with the advice they receive and the level of interest shown in their professional development.
Feedback. Research reveals millennials value transparency. They want to be “in the loop” and feel they’re genuinely part of a community at work. In fact, 99% of participants in a recent global study said feedback was important to them. They value and expect detailed, regular feedback about their job performance—positive or negative—delivered in a way that is clear and specific, leaving no room for misunderstanding. Millennials tend to focus on the negative if criticism isn’t delivered with clear guidance on how to improve. The study concluded that companies most successful at managing and retaining millennials understand the importance of transparency, setting clear goals and providing regular, specific feedback.
Work-Life Integration. Millennial men and women strongly value work-life balance. In 2015, three out of four millennials said work-life balance drives their career choices. Growing up in the digital age with unlimited access to information and connectivity to each other, they are less likely than other generations to separate their personal and professional lives, and more likely to take the view that people’s lives matter as a whole. Employers should know that millennials don’t mind bringing work home with them, but also want to bring their life to work. Companies that create a culture that promotes “work-life integration” providing millennials with flexibility to make their own hours and schedules, while still working hard, benefit in the long run.
To be successful, companies need to focus on engaging and retaining their millennial employees by providing strong mentorship, clear and concise feedback, and tools to accomplish better “work-life integration.”
About the Author:
Eliza Friedman is an attorney in the Corporate Group at Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP, where she represents life science, technology and other private companies in all stages of their growth cycle. Contact Ms. Friedman at 716-853-5100 x281 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.