Almost half of Millennials are set to be on the lookout for a new job in 2015, citing the lack of their current employers’ engagement with their need of a good work/home balance, employee recognition, loyalty and respect as reasons to look elsewhere, according to recently released research from Aon Hewitt. To retain talent and engage employees toward profitable business outcomes, employers need to start taking the expectations of the generation seriously.
The relationship between employers and employees may be becoming terser as a new generation of workers and their expectations come to clash with the predominant business culture of feeding the bottom line, reveals a survey of the mind-set of a group of 2,539 employees working across a range of participating US companies with more than 1,000 employees. While the survey, ‘Inside the Employee Mind-set’, covered the whole age demographic, the responses from the Millennial group* are particularly telling of divergence of expectation – as the generation comes to play an ever more important role in the business value chain.
According to Aon Hewitt’s findings, Millennials feel that what they value in an organisation is different than the priorities of their current workplace. One aspect of the survey was to have respondents give “words I currently use to describe my current employer”, the Millennials particularly found “an organisational-orientation” theme telling of their current employer, with teamwork, profit and customer satisfaction high ranking. Millennials seek different values from their work, and while they do not want to be in the poorhouse – with 51% citing pay and benefits highly in their needs from employers – the terms of how they want to be valued by their employer shows significant divergence. Millennials particularly look for improvement in their career development opportunities at 39%, performance recognition at 38%, followed by open and complete communication at 34%, a flexible work environment at 33%, with 30% valuing a strong management and leadership team, and 30% citing fun as a strong value.
“Beyond wanting competitive pay and benefits, Millennials expect to feel appreciated for their efforts, see opportunities to advance, be more empowered in the workplace, and also have the flexibility to balance their lives at work and home,” says Pam Hein, Partner Communication Consulting at Aon Hewitt.
As it stands, from the research, 43% of Millennials plan to actively look for a new job in 2015. If they were all successful in their intent to get out of the work environment that they feel no longer suits their development or other needs, it would represent a sizeable turnover for businesses. “It's not surprising that employees in their mid-twenties and thirties are more likely to job hop as they look to advance their careers and improve their pay and benefits,” says Ray Baumruk, Employee Research Leader at Aon Hewitt. “However, our research shows there is a clear disconnect between what Millennials expect and desire from employers, and what their employers are actually offering. This gap is negatively impacting the engagement and retention of this generation, and may be one of the primary reasons why Millennials will be looking for new opportunities in 2015.”
Retaining Millennial talent
To lower the turnover rate by meeting the expectations of this new generation, Aon Hewitt recommends to keep the generation’s talent engaged through honest and direct communication, meeting the employees’ need for flexibility in work arrangements around their wider lives, and providing clear development and pay evolution within the company; by meeting these needs companies too will benefit, according to the research, by employing higher levels of engaged staff, improving the performance of the business.
“Younger employees want to work in an environment where information flows freely and authentically and where people know they can count on one another. The data show there is a significant opportunity for employers to offer a more unique and compelling work experience that will match what Millennials want, and in turn increase retention long-term,” concludes Hein.
* Millennials (also known as Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort that follows Generation X. The generation is contains people with birth dates ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.