What Millennials REALLY want in the workplace

millenial-picNOTE: This blog contains links to the two excellent studies referenced therein!

The “Four Generations in the Workplace” discussion (see my blog on this from a few years ago) continues to be one of the hottest topics in the ever changing diversity and inclusion field. Even as the discussion really does need to focus on the various advantages each generation brings to the workplace, and how the best companies know how to build strong teams across all generations, Millennials still get a bad rap from many. I often hear comments like “I hesitate to train these young employees since they will leave within a year.” OK – I hear you, but I ask, why do millennials frequently job hop, and what are they looking for in a job?

My main point: Millennials truly desire organizations that offer them personal growth and flexible career opportunities and advancement, and if more companies invested in their younger employees, they may actually stay for the long haul!

Let me provide data from two studies.

First, Gallup Inc. has done an extensive workplace study across the generations, and issued a superb report called “How Millenials Want to Work and Live.” The Gallup study shows that only 29% of currently employed millennials are engaged at work, significantly lower than the other generations. But perhaps the issue is not “these slacker millennials,” but instead companies not providing the right value proposition for millennials in the workplace. Some key points the Gallup study makes include:
• Millennials are not just working for a paycheck, but looking for purpose in their profession.
• Millennials are not just looking for job satisfaction, but personal development.
• Millennials don’t want bosses per se, but coaches who help them grow and improve on the job.
• Millenials do view their job as an integral part of their lives.

A second study which was presented at a conference I recently attended comes from “Ultimate Software” and “The Center for Generational Kinetics” titled “Is There Really a Generational Divide at Work?” (Link to download the study.)

Though the study highlights many different aspects of generational differences and similarities in the workplace, I will focus on the career and personal development aspects. They include:

Millennials are truly seeking coaching, feedback and mentoring from their managers at work.

Millennials are truly seeking coaching, feedback and mentoring from their managers at work.

• 45% of millennials would quit a job if they didn’t see a career path they wanted at the company.
• 42% of millennials want feedback from their superiors at work, which is double the other generations. And most frequently, they seek the feedback so they grow professionally.
• One statistic consistent across all generations – 33% of employees knew whether they would stay long term or not at their company after being on the job for one week or less.

Both these studies underscore the importance of skills and career development in the workplace, especially among the millennial generation. Some of my clients using my innovative career mapping process have verified this point – when they present an overview of career development and potential at new employee orientation, it is met with resounding enthusiasm. Providing a robust system to assist employees with career development is a key tactic to increase employee engagement and retention.

Please contact me today for more information on the Total Engagement Career Mapping Offering and to set up a call so we can explore how this offering could fit within your organization.

Current Global Human Capital Trends from the Triangle Organization Development Network

The Triangle Organization Development Network (TODN) is an organization development community providing opportunities for personal and professional learning, development, and support for members and associates in the Raleigh - Durham - Chapel Hill area of North Carolina.

The Triangle Organization Development Network (TODN) is an organization development community providing opportunities for personal and professional learning, development, and support for members and associates in the Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill area of North Carolina.

I belong to a local professional organization called TODN – Triangle Organization Development Network. TODN is committed to developing the field and practice of OD through sharing best practices, innovations, trends, research, approaches, and techniques. In April they had their annual all-day conference with the topic this year being “Global Human Capital Trends in 2016.”

The conference was an excellent combination of short fast-paced “Ted Talk-like” presentations and interactive group exercises and discussions. And the TODN added an innovative twist to the conference by employing graphic recorder Caryn Sterling of Drawing Insight to graphically record the presentations and discussion in the four trending areas. Be looking for a future blog soon about this innovative process.

Here is a brief summary of the four global human capital trends that were presented:

1. Trends in Leadership from Rick Miller, Miller Training and Development. He shared a model illustrating that leaders operate out of three different orientations: Professional – a focus on meeting certain standards, bureaucratic – adhering to organizational rules and norms, and political – more focused on the relationships between people. It is critical for effective leaders to understand their own leadership orientation leanings compared to the organization they are working within.

2. Reinventing Performance Management from Ann Jones and Julia Curtis of Quintiles. Ann and Julia reviewed the evolution of performance management using their work at Quintiles (a major Pharmaceutical firm) as a case example. Over the past several years, performance management has continued to evolve from an annual one-sided process of a manager rating an employee to more of an ongoing interactive discussion that benefits both the company and the employee. Discussions are at least quarterly, and the short more frequent conversations include beneficial feedback and goal resetting if necessary. This ongoing discussion eliminates surprises from the annual review, helping to remove fear and contention from the process.

3. Workforce on Demand from Keith Langbo, Founder and CEO of Kelaca. Keith discussed the growing trend of the “contingent workforce” which often includes contractors hired for short term needs, for a single project, or even as a trial before becoming a “full time regular employee.” He estimates that the contingent workforce is now 34% of total workers, and may grow to 50% by 2020. But the hiring of the contingent worker has to be purposeful with a focus on making sure there is a good cultural fit so that business results and employee satisfaction can be maximized.

4. Employee Engagement from Bucky Fairfax of RTI. Like the second discussion above, Bucky provided a corporate perspective on this topic based up work he is leading at RTI International, a leading scientific research firm. He defined employee engagement as the emotional commitment that an employee has to an organization and its goals. And in a recent Deloitte study, culture and engagement is the current top concern of Human Resource leaders. Bucky shared that RTI is now underway in a major work effort focusing on employee engagement that includes growing skills and competencies, enhancing diversity and inclusion, performing meaningful employee surveying and providing opportunity for professional growth.

Of course in this short blog I can only scratch the surface of a full day of material. Those locally in the Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill, NC area should consider becoming involved with TODN to learn more about these and other topics in the Organization Development sphere.