Millennials - What Problem?
By Howard Stanten MPT,CPCC
There is a longing, from some, for the days when workers “valued a job, because it was a job.” A yearning for that magical time and place, somewhere lost in the past, where “hard work,” loyalty,” and being “satisfied with a day’s pay, for a day’s work” was enough. The lament usually includes, “Young people today just don’t have the same work ethic we used to have. It’s near impossible to find good workers.”
Well, I ain’t buyin’ it. I don’t dispute the fact that many business owners are struggling with finding and retaining hard working, loyal employees. It’s the perspective that “millennials are lazy, entitled, and selfish” that I challenge.
Daniel Pink, in his best seller Drive, explains that today’s workers are craving “autonomy, mastery, and purpose” and that many employers are missing the boat on this. Gallup polling reinforces this argument. It is true that only 29% of millennials are engaged at work (below the 33% average of all U.S. employees.) And, it is also true that WHEN MILLENNIALS ARE ENGAGED, they are 26% MORE LIKELY to be loyal to their current employer than those who are disengaged. Increasing engagement, and loyalty, is all about tapping into what Millennials crave.
Engagement is a two-way street and non-millennial age employers would be wise to take a look in the mirror and ask, “How am I contributing to the “work ethic, loyalty” perspective I hold? Then ask, “How can I ‘be’ different and ‘do’ things differently to get the results I want.”
Millennials are offering loyalty to those willing to understand what makes them tick; an opportunity to grow, an employer that cares about their professional goals, and a job that means something beyond a paycheck.
Business owners have a choice. Learn what motivates and fulfills their potential workforce or flounder in a sea of blame and complain.
There are 53,500,000 Millennials making up over one-third of the U.S workforce today. The hard truth is that a boatload of blaming and complaining is no match for that reality. A dose of self-reflection and some pro-active, focused strategic planning can go a long way towards creating today what might be otherwise misperceived as having been irretrievably lost to the past.
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Howard Stanten MPT,CPCC is an Executive Leadership and Professional