Millennials have been in the workforce for more than a decade. So why are companies still struggling to keep them on board? Is it their unrealistic expectations? Laziness? Or is it because companies don’t invest enough in what it means to be a great manager? There are many theories out there, many opinions even coming from people who aren’t millennials.
While we all know the bad names we millennials have been called, let’s take a step back and talk about WHY we’re operating the way we are.
We’ve had to pay a lot for college.
With large student loans to pay off, we expect better salaries. Student Loan Hero reports that the average student loan debt for the class of 2016 is just under $40,000. While some of us may go to a school in or near a city, we may have to move to where the jobs are. According to Forbes, one of the top 10 cities for recent college grads is San Francisco. Nothing welcomes you into the “real world” like thousands in student loans and a city where you pay $4000/month for a closet in the worst neighborhood. Bonus points to the grads in debt, living in ridiculously expensive cities, and having to wear suits they can’t afford to work. Yay!
With many of us growing up with siblings, we saw the non-existent “work-life balance” in full force.
Each of our parents working full-time jobs (40+ hours), being stressed, and struggling to do their parental duties at the same time. From our generation, the term “latch-key” kid was coined. “Latch-key” kid refers to those who had their own house key and had to let themselves into their home after school – kind of sad right? Those latch-key kids (now millennials in the workforce) don’t want that. Why would we? In what world is being stressed, over-worked, underpaid, and having to choose between work and family life appealing?
Millennials are well connected and expect the companies we represent to be as well.
You know what’s ridiculous? Working with clunky internal platforms or sites. We can do incredible things on our cell phones and expect our company’s technology to be just as user friendly. With tech-savvy employees, comes well-connected employees. We see the other job opportunities, are easily and confidentially sought out by recruiters, and have great insight on company cultures based on our networks input. Be user/employee friendly. If not, we’ll find another job.
Much like in the many sports/activities we grew up on, we’re looking for coaches, not bosses.
Being approachable, seeing the employee as a person and not just an obligation, and standing with them as their most fierce advocate. John C. Maxwell put it “leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It’s about one life influencing another.” You are not an effective coach until you have helped shape a leader, who has helped shape another leader, who has helped shape another leader. At the end of the day remember this – we don’t need your trophies, we need your time, feedback, and support while showing us how we are making a positive impact inside and outside of the office. It’s crazy that these are radical ideas. To me, it’s more “being a good person”. So management, get your sh*t together.
If your company is just now focusing on the millennials in your workforce, you’re late to the party, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still have a good time. Make change today – or say goodbye to their tomorrows.