Millennial, and blogger of Its A Sher Thing, Tamryn Sher, sounds off on why millennials are so misunderstood in the work environment.
When you hear someone bringing up the topic of ‘millennials in the workplace’ these three phrases usually follow: “Instant gratification,” “they job hop every 9 months”, “they work the hours they’re paid to work and then they leave”. Sound familiar?
There’s definitely a generation gap in terms of people in the workplace, but has anyone ever asked a millennial why they job hop so often, and what would make them stay at a company for longer?
As a millennial, this is what I can tell you.
We’ve grown up as the byproduct of our parents’ generation. A generation where you stayed at a job for 10+ years and did what you needed to do to keep the job; sacrificing your personal and family life as part of the carnage. As a result, we are byproducts of broken homes. Everyone I know is from a broken home, where both parents work long hours, and when they’re home they don’t want to do anything but sleep and unwind.
- Our parents don’t cook, we have chefs/cooks or eat ready-made meals. As a result, we’ve started businesses like uCook, WhyCook, and FitChef, as we’re great at identifying gaps in the market. We’re also trying to save time doing the things we have to do, so we can spend more time doing the things we want to do.
In an effort to learn from their experiences and carve the life they want to live, millennials place value on different things than their parents did.
- We place value on relationships and experiences. Not so much on marriage, as we’ve seen our parents place little value on it. We have relations, without having relationships. We don’t all want to have children, as we’ve grown up in homes seeing first hand how our parents didn’t have time for us. We were seen as a burden, so we’ve chosen to rather travel and invest in ourselves than to give up our lives for someone else.
- Companies are hiring fewer people, to do more work. 10 people are doing the work of 15 to 20 people, as a result, millennial employees are expected to work longer hours, often without compensation. This is starting to affect our personal lives and our relationships. The minute we see this, we course correct.
We leave the jobs that are taking advantage of us, in the search for the ever-elusive work-life balance, until the cycle repeats itself.
We are ambitious in our careers but in our personal lives too. We understand how to work hard and smart. We come to work, put our heads down for 8 hours straight and then we are ready to leave and go focus on our second jobs. Our home life and our families.
Corporates are not supporting us in the pursuit of personal and professional excellence. Millennials who don’t have personal lives are investing 100% into their careers, and without balance we are suffering more from mental illness than we are from physical illness. Millenials are on anti-depressants, trying their hardest to keep their jobs.
Rather than accept the status quo, millennials are trying to change it.
Instead of accepting the high turnover rate, there’s a very easy solution. Embrace millennials. Offer them more experiences as that is what they value. Allow them to work flexi-time, give them duvet days for overtime worked, close for a week in December and don’t make it forced leave. Buy them a cake for their birthdays to show them you value them (give them that instagramable moment). Give them bonuses instead of year-end functions, so they can spend money on their families rather than spending more time with their colleagues. Give them time off, and cash incentives instead of having an open bar once a week. Create a corporate culture at your office where it’s not all about work, but about the people too. Offer a decent maternity and paternity benefit.
Want to piss off a millennial? Show them that you don’t care about their personal lives. Want loyalty that you cannot buy? Invest in your millennials. Try this for 6 months and tell me if your millennial employees stay.
Do focus groups in terms of productivity and happiness, and the numbers won’t lie!
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