The Kids Are Alright: Retaining Millennials and Gen Z Employees
3 min read
Every generation has its day in the workplace and, as Millennials are officially taking over the labor force, the office as we know it has undergone an incredible transformation. Look - shift happens. Especially after a pandemic. And that can be a good thing! After all, the ascension of a new generation into the workplace represents an opportunity to reimagine and optimize work systems for everyone’s benefit.
But while Millennials and Gen Z workers are the most tech-savvy, diverse, and highly-educated generations to enter the formal workforce to date, they’re also the most likely to job-hop until they’re satisfied with what their workplace can offer them. The kids are alright, which is to say they have no qualms about demanding a healthy work-life balance and attention to their holistic well-being. Good for them! So, how can HR professionals and managers meet them where they’re at to retain valuable talent?
Quick facts about the youngest generations in the workplace
Millennials surpassed Gen X employees as the largest in the labor force by a million way back in 2016, and they’re set to take over more than half of the workforce just two years from now. Here are some more facts about young professionals in the office:
- Following close behind Millennials are Gen Z, who currently make up about 13% of the workforce and could reach 27% by 2025
- Both Millennials and Gen Z employees favor flexible work environments and schedules
- Young professionals are seeking out inclusive and diverse workplaces which offer them opportunities to work with purpose
- Gen Z and Millennials value workplaces that can offer them upward career mobility and growth opportunities
- Lazy? Entitled? Nah. These generations are simply taking advantage of the fact that they’re in a position to be discerning about where they work. They know that the job market is still in their favor, so organizations that are invested in hiring and retaining top talent would do well to be attentive to the satisfaction of their people.
To start mapping out effective retention strategies, let’s look at the aspects of a job which motivate both Gen Z and Millennials. After all, motivated and determined employees have a positive impact on a company’s culture, business profits, and the rate of growth. Also, we want people to want to do their jobs, right? There’s a reason why we call HR pros Heads of Happiness around here. Most of us just want our people to be satisfied and fulfilled by their contributions to the world.
Professionals who are prepared to prioritize purpose over pay? Preposterous!
Okay, it’s not that preposterous. We just couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a bit of alliteration. Anyway, the fact is that more than the generations which precede them, Gen Z and Millennials seek out workplaces which align with their values. They want to connect with a company, and they want jobs that give them a sense of purpose. According to a Deloitte study, Millennials in particular are attracted to roles that help them achieve their professional, personal, and socio-economic goals.
That isn’t to say that compensation isn’t factored into the decision-making process. It’s just that Millennials and Gen Z workers are more likely to regard compensation and purpose with equal consideration during the job search process.
Gen “Z for zen”
Millennials and Gen Z (but especially the latter) are also expressing a preference for workplaces which demonstrate that they can make accommodations which support their mental health. Deloitte confirms that Gen Z is the most anxious generation of our time, and both Millennials and Zoomers are renowned for their prevailing financial anxiety.
Younger generations are prioritizing their holistic wellness in an unprecedented mental health movement, which might explain in part why they favor flexible working hours and locations. The Great Resignation showed us that quarantine has profoundly and irrevocably changed the priorities of how workers want to spend their time between work and home. Offering flexible schedules or the option to work from home is a big, big win for Gen Z and Millennials.
But this introduces a whole new set of challenges for Heads of Happiness in organizations across the world. WFH options make Gen Z and Millennial employees happier, but it becomes that much more difficult to deploy other retention strategies like recognition and reward programs. As our good friends over at Zenefits put it, “One of the biggest complaints of employees is feeling unappreciated for what they do at work. With the current flexibility of work-from-home employment, it can be even harder to let employees know that they are appreciated.”
Or is it?
Give with purpose; get satisfied employees
The higher an employee’s satisfaction score is, the less likely they are to leave a position. When it comes to attracting and retaining generations of employees who are seeking a whole new level of satisfaction, HR professionals and team leaders have got their work cut out for them.
Unless you have a friend like Gifted.
Gifted takes all the stress and administration out of recognition programs for HR professionals. By automating gifting campaigns with a calendar that’s preset with commemorative occasions, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting important holidays ever again.
But the real gift is the choice and flexibility that our tools offer both the giver and the recipient. Your recipients can choose from an ever-expanding catalog of popular vendors for a variety of (generational) desires. How great is it to gift a mental health-conscious Zoomer with a subscription to Calm? Or show your commitment to upholding Millennial work-life balance values by offering a voucher redeemable for workout gear?
Aligning a company with its employees’ values is not as hard as it sounds. By curating personalized gifting and recognition campaigns, it becomes that much easier to build a thriving company culture - without sacrificing your own work-life balance. Go on - give Gifted a go.