Adapt or Lose

Most corporate leaders should be pleased.  Employment is at a high.  The economy and the stock market are doing well.  So, what is there to worry about?

Baby boomers and their predecessors who believed in hard work and company loyalty are retiring.  Many of their replacements are Millennials who already make up the biggest working generation at 35% according to a 2018 Pew Research report.  As the next study discovered and pointed out, the values and goals of Millennials are different in certain areas.


The recently released Deloitte Millennial Survey 2019 painted many signals of a generation acutely different than their parents and grandparents.  For employers, the big news was that nearly half – 49%  — said they would quit their jobs within two years if they could.  That was an increase of 11% since the 2017 Deloitte study.  And 25% of those who said they would leave their jobs within two years had already done so.


The primary reason Millennials cited for leaving their jobs was pay;  43% claimed that as their number one reason.  The following top reasons were a bit more revealing.  In descending order, Millennials cited the next five top reasons as:  1. Lack of learning and development opportunities, 2. Not feeling appreciated, 3. Poor work-life balance/lack of flexibility, 4. Boredom/unchallenging job, and 5. Dissatisfaction with workplace culture.

Personal goals were also somewhat telling.  Number one at 57% were Millennials who said they wanted to travel and see the world.  Starting a family was last.  However, their second and third place values of wanting to earn higher salaries and gain wealth (52%) and wishing to purchase homes (49%) were not as surprising.  Their fourth value was revealing in that 46% expressed an interest in wishing to make an impact in their community and society.

What’s an  Employer to Do?

Some of the solutions seem obvious.  Do the opposite of some of these top reasons cited for employee dissatisfaction.  Provide more learning and development opportunities.  Recognize and encourage employee recognition.  Look into possible remote work opportunities and flextime,  and generate more camaraderie and friendly competition at work coupled with clear and candid communication.

In providing more learning and development opportunities, employers can also address other Millennial concerns.  46% had told Deloitte that with more and more technology descending upon the workplace, it will become more difficult getting ahead at their present places of employment or finding other work.  As if to add an exclamation point to that, only 20% said they felt prepared for the changes in tech, while 70% felt they possessed some knowledge

In addition to adopting these changes, form a task force to analyze and identify the company values and culture with the end result of recommending possible collaborative efforts in the community within like groups.  Before tackling the latter, set up some parameters so the task force isn’t disappointed and frustrated after researching and making recommendations.

Will the company consider letting employees off during regular working hours to perform volunteer work?  If so, what kind of nonprofit agency values would best match up with the company’s?    How many hours a week or month would the company permit?  How many employees can it afford to authorize offsite?

In its study, 28% of Millennials told Deloitte they intended to remain with their current employers for five or more years.  Companies that are in tune with their Millennial workforce will be more successful in retaining even more of them.

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