Research has shown that Millennials and Gen Zs put more emphasis on balancing their work and home lives. They prefer to work remotely and have flexibility in their schedules. Feedback is important to them (with 60% wishing for manager comments daily), as well as transparency from management, and collaboration and the tools needed for it.
Mercer found some interesting statistics when it comes to the younger generation of workers’ attitudes toward career opportunities. Analysts have dubbed some of their findings as employees thinking at, about, and in their workplace as if they were customers of it instead of working for it.
- 55% feel unable to advance in their careers
- 47% feel supported through a career change
- 43% want to be promoted within 1 year or less at a job
The younger generation of employees doesn’t work well under a “one size fits all” HR, management, scheduling, benefits, roles, or job assignment approach – whenever possible, they like to feel empowered to exert flexibility in their tasks (including when, how, and in which order to complete them), goals, when and how they work, benefits packages customized for them specifically, how their role fits in with others, and training. The COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns had a significant impact on younger workers particularly, as a large percentage of them were working in restaurants and other sectors of the service industry. This led a great number of them to gig work and opportunities like DoorDash and Uber that allowed them to still make some income during the very tough and uncertain time. It also taught this age segment of the workforce that jobs offering some of the qualities important to them do exist, and perhaps they carried those preferences to other more traditional workplaces and employment after the lockdowns, or simply reinforced their fondness for them.
Often, younger workers leave jobs after only being at the company for a brief time – and give their employers a shorter time frame and fewer chances to win them over for the long run. Deloitte investigated the reasons they choose to leave so abruptly and found (multiple answers were allowed from each respondent):
- 43% are not satisfied with financial aspects (pay, rewards)
- 35% feel there are not enough advancement opportunities
- 28% believe occasions for learning and development aren’t available
- 23% they don’t feel appreciated
- 22% flexibility was lacking, affecting their work/life balance
- 21% they felt bored at work
- 15% they didn’t like the company or workplace culture
With this knowledge, human resources and company leadership can work together to address these reasons for high turnover of the younger workforce.
Societal / Social
Corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is more important now than ever, especially to the younger generation of employees who aren’t afraid to speak up and ask for change both inside the workplace and out in society. Not only do they make it known when they feel a difference is needed – these younger workers, who are incredibly and wonderfully diverse, also want to be part of making that difference, both through their workplace and outside of it. They also want a say in how the company will be managed, and corporate strategies and their implementation. Hierarchies are giving way to structures that involve workers in decisions.
Mental Health / Personal Issues
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world together in ways few have experienced before. The stress, trauma, loss, and fear gave way to compassion, understanding, flexibility, and a greater concern for those around us. Empathy and kindness will definitely be important for both employees and employers alike to continue showing, and the workforce skewing younger is sure to notice and hold those to account when it isn’t being practiced. Company-organized volunteering and giving opportunities that employees engage in have been found to reduce turnover by 57%, per Benevity.
Studies over the past decade have shown that stress in employees is higher than ever, and corporate wellness initiatives are of great interest to Millennials and Generation Z. Some options to include are partnerships with gyms or fitness studios and even on-site endeavors such as yoga classes, company-wide broadcasted stretch break reminders, smoking cessation meetings, and more healthful lunch or snack options.
In the past few years, even though it has always existed, bullying and harassment behaviors have received more attention than in the past, both in and out of the workplace. Those who have been in the working world for a longer period of time, in general, often chalk it up to hazing, just part of working with other people, “harmless fun”, or not a big deal. Younger generations have led the charge in exposing, disclosing, and fighting against these terrible practices. Earlier in 2021, MyPerfectResume looked into these issues and learned:
- An unacceptable 79% of professionals working today have either been targeted at work or saw it happening there, and that 49% of victims don’t report what has happened.
- Of those who did seek out help from management or HR, 25% stated nothing changed, but encouragingly, about 1 in 2 and almost 1 in 3 bullies or harassers were either reprimanded or fired, respectively.
- Those who suffered mistreatment indicated that working remotely did improve the situation (54%), but sadly, 32% relayed no change in the hurtful behaviors and 14% confided that the situation had gotten worse.
The toxicity of bullying and harassment cannot be denied or ignored by businesses, especially when considering the significance and commitment Millennials and Gen Zs have made quite clear they have to stopping such activities.
Corporate programs which aim to improve or at least address mental health, wellness, and personal issues foster productivity and engagement (which in turn helps reduce turnover of the workforce’s younger participants. This, combined with 2 out of 3 workers stating that their sleep is negatively impacted by workplace stress and concerns, demonstrates the worth of incorporating these types of fringe benefits and perks. Companies are investing in these extras much more than in the past. In fact, participants in a recent Global Wellness Institute survey uncovered increased spending on wellness and mental health initiatives by 65% of the businesses.
Knowing all of this important information allows HR professionals and managers with employees from the younger generations to create corporate plans and strategies, as well as a culture, that furthers engagement and results in happier workers. Modern, creative benefits and perks, in addition to contemporary working environments and conditions, are becoming more and more sought after by Millennials and Generation Z. Companies should prepare for these trends now by exploring and updating their current offerings, which will help develop and cultivate a content, more fulfilled, long-term younger labor force.