Millennials usually receive a bad reputation when it comes to the workplace. Most people see them as lazy, entitled, and constantly glued to their smartphones. However, a recent survey by Gallup has shown that when it comes to contentment in the workplace, millennials are more aligned with other generations. Stemmed from the near 200,000 responses they received from a wide variety of industries, Gallup found that out of the more than one hundred million full-time employees in the US workforce, only one-third of them are actually engaged at work. They define “engaged” as being “emotionally and psychologically attached to their work and workplace.”
Research is proving that millennials are becoming the driving force behind change in the workplace. This generation clocks in with the lowest percentage of engaged employees. However, this can be attributed to their ability to navigate their career and find work that better suits them, which then increases their levels of engagement. The most surprising factor this research found, though, is that the changes millennials are advocating for are things that everyone desires.
For instance, millennials are impacting the average time spent working for a single organization. Years ago, people held onto their jobs with a vice grip. In fact, you may know people who have stayed at a particular company for over twenty years. Now, shorter two-year stints at various companies have become the norm. Half of the employees surveyed by Gallup claimed that they were actively looking for a new job, and/or keeping an eye out for openings. Additionally, 35 percent of workers said they changed jobs within the last three years.
Much of this change is a testament to employees (millennials in particular) feeling confident in their ability to find work. This level of confidence is validated when you consider that 60 percent of the employees surveyed believed that it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” they can find a job as good as the one they have if they were let go. This response has seen a 21 percent increase from those who gave the same response in a similar survey in 2010.
Millennials also want to work with purpose. According to the Gallup survey, “most workers, many of whom are millennials, approach a role and a company with a highly defined set of expectations. They want their work to have meaning and purpose. They want to use their talents and strengths to do what they do best every day.” This is a sentiment felt by all employees, regardless of age or gender. Everyone placed “purpose” as one of the aspects of a job with the greatest importance.
Ongoing feedback is another element millennials seek. They want clear goals and “collaborative goal setting” with their managers so that they have a voice in setting the performance expectations they see as fair, relevant and challenging. The frequent and informal check-ins with managers allow workers to get an idea of how their day-to-day work aligns with the organization’s goals, which will likely keep them more engaged with their work.
These are some of the many aspects in which millennials are influencing the workplace. Through their efforts, millennials really are beginning to leave their mark on the workplace, as they are willing to demand the things that most other employees want. It will be intriguing to see just how this trend continues to unfurl and impact the business landscape of the future.