Millennials, from ages 18 to 34, are now the largest generation in the workforce, making up 53.5 million workers toiling away as of 2015, while eight in ten boomers are in their early fifties and getting ready for retirement. So, that makes the employment rate for those who are in their sixties 50% and dropping every year. This young generation are the rising stars of workplace leaders, and as boomers retire, millennials are poised to take the helm — and they want to, but they need current leadership to help them change the workforce game for the better.
Millennials grew up with technology, and some have accused the generation of being lazy narcissists who feel they’re entitled to everything. However, studies show that millennials don’t differ from any other generation in what they want, it’s just that they grew up in a different background with the world at their fingertips thanks to technology.
Coming of age in the Great Recession made many older millennials realistic and practical when it came to their job searches, and now that their financial lives are evening out, millennials are ready to take the next step up the career ladder.
Retain Millennial Employees By Helping Them Up The Ladder
Millennial employees have also been known as job hoppers with 60% open to new positions according to a 2016 Gallup report. With 21% of millennials changing jobs, three times more than other generations switching positions, the cost to the economy is $30.5 billion every year. In fact, 36% are looking for a new job in the next 12 months if the market seems promising. 21% of other workers say the same thing.
Are these job hoppers willing to take the lead while they’re changing companies like they try on new clothes? Yes.
They’re willing, but millennials need help and encouragement with leadership readiness. The Gallup report indicates that only 29% of millennials feel engaged in their positions. A study conducted by Virtuali and WorkplaceTrends.com revealed that 91% of millennials aspire to reach leadership positions, and 43% are currently motivated to take the helm and empower others as leaders. Their eagerness to lead is also backed by selflessness, contrary to what other generations think. Only 5% crave money and 1% power.
The study also found that 55% of millennials wish their employer offered better opportunities for leadership development, and 58% percent of millennials believe communication is a vital leadership skill — 51% percent of millennials feel they have that trait.
Many millennials spend their lives online, which can create a communication barrier with older generations at work. Employers can bridge the gap by offering web-based learning opportunities for leadership development and starting millennial meetup leadership groups at the office. Companies need to provide millennials with opportunities that fit with their desire for growth, such as spearheading projects or sharing their talents on a paid pro bono basis with the community. Millennials are passionate about giving back.
Retention helps employers save money in the long run and also keeps employees happy. Estimates for the cost of employee turnover to companies are as high as 150% of yearly salary. Companies spend critical money looking for candidates and interviewing and training them while overworking their existing staff. Retaining millennials at work is cheaper than watching them job hop.
Enable Millennials To Innovate And Take Initiative
Meanwhile, millennials watch entrepreneurs their age take ownership of their careers and start their own ventures, such as David Karp founding Tumblr and Mark Zuckerburg spearheading Facebook. Many millennials are already successful leaders in the workforce, and those left behind want to make a difference, too. However, they feel restricted by companies that don’t engage them or allow them to grow and help others, leading to dissatisfaction with work and life.
Emerging in a post 9/11 and post Great Recession world, millennials learned to lower their expectations, and research reveals they are the happiest generation at work for this reason. The happiest generation at work deserves leadership roles over lowered expectations. Millennials are aware of their prospects and the realities of getting what they want.
That fact still doesn’t stop millennials from going out and taking ownership of their careers — 54% want to start their own business, and one in four are speaking up about wanting a chance to show what they can do as a leader. How innovative a company is influences 78% of millennials when choosing if they accept a position, and individualized job descriptions help millennials envision their career growth. Millennial leadership qualities may be brought out by encouraging intrapreneurship within the company before millennials become entrepreneurs.
While many millennials have been slow to start families due to the prior financial climate and job market, integrating family life and offering more flexibility in the workplace matters to this generation. Older generations aren’t likely to object to spending more time with their families and having more freedom to innovate either.
As millennials take the workforce by storm, the need to motivate and train the next generation of leaders is vital. Millennials are eager to lead but don’t feel engaged at work, which leads to job hopping and lowered expectations.
Millennials want to be leaders in the workplace now more than ever. Let them and see what good it does the company and the community.
The views of the author of this article do not necessarily represent the views of Gradifi. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained here. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax or financial advisors to understand the tax, financial and legal consequences of any strategies mentioned in this article.