How To Boost Millennial Employee Satisfaction

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By 2020, government estimates reveal that Millennials- an exclusive club of 1.8bn born between 1981 and 1996– will comprise 50% of the workforce. With disparities emerging from what graduates want from work, how they want to be managed, how they regard their manager’s performance, their future career prospects, and much more, here is a guide on how to boost millennial employee satisfaction.

Who are millennials? (aka Generation Y)

Millennials are an exclusive club of 1.8bn born between 1981 and 1996 – accounting for almost quarter of the world’s population. By 2020, government estimates reveal that they’ll comprise 50% of the workforce, a figure expected to rise to 75% by 2025.

These statistics may be staggering to some, but all to familiar to others. Propelled by an unprecedented growth in higher education, around 230,000 millennials now join the labour force annually.

The continuous influx of Generation Y workers presents both challenges and opportunities for employers and organisations, the former of which were highlighted in ILM’s 2011 survey which discovered a distinct lack of understanding between graduates and established management.

But with millennials set to make up such a large portion of the workforce in the not-too-distant future, what can you do to bridge the generational gap? Staff Treats, the employee benefits platform, have researched and collated the best ways to engage your millennial employees.

Make Corporate Social Responsibility A Priority

Michael Bush, the CEO at The Best Workplaces for Millennials, claims that ‘giving Millennials jobs with purpose and meaning drives them to give their best at work, benefitting the company as a whole.’

And the statistics from research into Millennials in the workplace back him up, with millennials >22 times more likely to want to stay for the long haul at a company with a high-trust culture, compared to Gen Xers who’re 16 times more likely, and Baby Boomers who’re just 13 times more likely.

According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, however, Millennial workers take particular issue with employers prioritising their bottom line above employees, society and the environment – an unethical triad that results in reduced employee loyalty. The statistics underpinning such views are damning.

Less than half (48%) of respondents believe corporations behave ethically, while just 47% feel that business leaders make valuable contributions to society. This trend culminates with most millennials worldwide agreeing with the statement that most companies ‘have no ambition beyond wanting to make money.’

What do these views mean for your business? Well, more than 43% of millennials envision leaving their jobs within two years, while just 28% see themselves staying beyond five years.

Adopting corporate social responsibility as a core part of your business plan, whether that’s through contribution to a chosen charity, taking an environmentally friendly approach to business processes, or doing something else to make a difference to society, can improve Millennial engagement significantly, and therefore strengthen loyalty.

Be More Digital 

Born during a period of rapid technological change and advancement, Millennials are first-generation ‘digital natives’ who feel at home on the internet. As a result, they’re more likely to use high-end technologies in their personal lives, and their views on productive IT strategies and use of personal devices in the workplace present considerable opportunities for employers.

So, what does ‘being more digital’ mean for your business? 

 

A 2011 Cisco survey revealed that 56% of college students globally would decline a job offer if the company banned access to social media. Similarly, recent research by Hays Recruitment revealed staff morale and employee engagement nosedives in workplaces that enforce social media bans.

With this in mind, it’s more worthwhile to consider how companies can utilise social media as a work tool. Networking between employees, clients and potential clients is a key use, while many millennials reject traditional CVs in favour of ‘personal brands’ or CV-style social profiles. Therefore, an insistence on traditional media could restrict employer access to key talent pools.

And if you’re worried about your IT systems and social media channels becoming a hive of slacking activity, fear not. Over half (53%) of the millennial workforce outside of IT departments said their first thought when encountering a digital issue would be to search for an answer on the internet.  This figure dropped to 41% with non-millennials, highlighting the stark generational differences between digital natives and those belonging to preceding generations.

Encourage Learning and Mentoring

Stubborn; headstrong. Two sides of the same coin, and two ways in which millennials are often described. Nevertheless, like all new entrants to the workforce, they need guidance to refine their ideas, polish new notions, and ultimately realise their ambitions.

‘A Millennial mindset around careers is emerging,’ was a pertinent concluding remark from Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision. Millennials typically plan for the long-haul and seek work that’ll bolster their future job prospects. But their needs aren’t being met. Despite 44% of Millennials claiming they’d be more engaged at work by meeting with their manager regularly, just 21% meet with their manager on a weekly basis. Therefore, it’s imperative that companies consider implementing tailored mentoring schemes to satisfy half of their workforce. And fast.

It’d be wise to introduce such schemes early in a graduate’s career as it’ll initially smooth the transition from academia to the workplace, while providing hope from the outset that their employer truly values their continued development.

In practical terms, companies could look to organise reciprocal mentoring (tapping into the penchant for instant feedback) whereby junior employees are paired with colleagues one or two managements levels above. This would facilitate access to a wealth of advice and experience, while affording senior employees valuable insights into the perspectives and mental processes of the most significant segment of their workforce.

Use A Wider Range Of Individualised Employee Perks

Potentially above all else, it’s thought that Millennials want to be treated as individuals, not grouped together with each other, or with any other generation for that matter. But how can you develop an approach to workplace perks that caters for Millennials at the same time as it does Baby Boomers? The answer is individualisation.

Giving employees a modicum of control over the perks they receive can result in higher levels of engagement. After all, compensation is ultimately what they’re there for, so compensating them in a way that makes sense to them, and not the generation that preceded them, isn’t exactly a radical idea.

Research has shown that up to 70% of Millennials want flexible working as an option, compared to just 47% of people over 55. This highlights the disparity between what a Millennial wants and what might be traditionally on offer as an ‘employee benefit’.

On a wider scale, employee benefits are becoming a more talked about topic, with truly engaging employee benefits packages being offered as an outsourced service by companies for a monthly rate.

There’s also been an increase in the popularity of EAPs, or Employee Assistance Programs, that focus on providing employees with access to resources and people who can help them through some of the harder parts of life, such as legal issues, mental health concerns, and wellness in general.

These developments in the landscape of employee benefits provide employers with more options than ever before to individualise their benefits offering, allowing everyone in the workplace to choose the benefits that work best for them.