Millennials in the workplace cost employers billions.Millennials in the Workplace Turnover

A recent Gallup poll says that 21% of millennials in the workplace claim they’ve changed jobs within the past year, which is more than three times the number of non-millennials who report changing jobs. Gallup estimates that millennial job turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. With the cost to replace an employee anywhere from 30% to 200% of their annual salary, this challenge has quickly risen to the top of the list for many HR directors and managers.

the cost of millennial job hoppingMillennials show less willingness to stay in their current jobs. Why?

  • Roughly half of millennials — compared with 60% of non-millennials — strongly agree that they plan to be working at their company one year from now. That suggests that half of their millennial workforce doesn’t see a future with them.
  • Job loyalty among millennials is low, in part because they want more control over the direction their career is taking.  Gallup found that 60% of millennials say they are open to a different job opportunity, which is 15 percentage points higher than non-millennial workers who say the same.
  • Millennials are also the most willing to act on better opportunities: 36% report that they will look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months if the job market improves, compared with 21% of non-millennials who say the same.
  • Millennials are the least engaged generation workplace. 55% say they are not engaged at work (29% say they are). Another 16% of millennials are actively disengaged, which is very bad for business.

My survey of 3,000 millennials in the workplace also reveals significant information on how to reduce millennial job hopping. Read on.

The cost of replacing job-hopping Millennials in the WorkPlace can be as high as 100-200% of annual salary. Learn more about how to manage millennials. Click To Tweet

How to Manage Millennials

Managing millennials in the workplaceThe workplace is very different than it was 20 years ago. Over 57% of today’s workforce is made up of Generation X  (those born between 1965-1980) and Generation Y (Millennials: those born between 1981-2000) . The dynamic of four generations employed at the same time, and often side-by-side creates new challenges.

The four generations have opposing values and make it difficult for leaders to create a harmonious workplace environment. The future clearly belongs to those organizations that can connect, motivate, and inspire each of the four generations.

Today, over 45 % of the workforce is eligible for retirement and is set to leave in droves over the next six years.  There are not enough employees of working age to replace this group and younger workers on the payroll and see their jobs as temporary.

The bottom line realities are that companies will all be competing for the same workers; and in some fields we are already seeing a skilled worker shortage.   Leaders and managers need to focus on attraction and retention of millennials for their workplace talent pools.

Key Learnings

Understanding – Why  Millennials Matter?

The Millennial generation, those born between 1981-2000, are entering the workplace in record numbers and will reshape the work environment of the future. The ability to attract and retain the best of this younger talent pool of workers is critical to the success and future of your company or organization. In many organizations millennials are on the front line, and make up about 25-28% of the talent pool. In just a few years this generation will be managers, leaders and the decision makers of your organization.

Companies and hiring managers must understand the importance of why millennials in the workplace matter. This generation is different than previous generations, and there are more millennials than the retiring Baby-Boomers, those born between 1946-1964. 

By 2020 there will be more millennials in the workforce world-wide than any other generation.  In the USA, millennials will account for over 50% of the workforce within the next few years. They are on pace to outnumber their Generation X predecessors.

Because of their vast number the Baby-Boomers (about 60 million) had a significant impact on buying habits, economics, and workplace realities.  Today the millennials (a whopping 90 million) will also have an impact on buying habits, economics, politics, and workplace realities.  We did not see a significant impact with Generation X because there are only about 40 million of this generation.

Recruiting and Hiring Millennials

recruiting millennials in the workplaceMillennials matter because they will be a powerful generation of workers, and those with the right skill sets will be in high demand. CEO’s and HR Directors are telling me that attracting and retaining this group of workers is one of their biggest talent challenges.

How to Retain Millennials

This Millennial generation will or want? be able to influence the way they work, how they work and where they operate in the workplace. They may also be able to command reward packages and typically ask for and expect more.

This generation most likely will create one of the biggest challenges for managers in creating synergistic work environments and productive cohesive teams. We’ve already begun to see it with companies tracking Millennial Turnover separately in internal reports.

Characteristics of Millennials

hiring and retaining millennial workersAre Millennials really that different to previous generations? Some make the mistake of thinking that their lack of experience, responsibilities and youth is responsible for their behaviors. Although it may be true that with maturity, one’s behaviors and priorities will change, it is important to realize that there are many other factors that contribute to generational differences.

Learning about the unique characteristics of the Millennials will aid leaders and HR professionals with some of the problems or challenges of Millennials in the workplace.

Our perspectives form during our formative years. Many of our most powerful and lasting beliefs are shaped in our teens and early 20’s.  It is during these early teenage years that the things we see and hear have an impact on the conclusions we draw, which in turn influence lifetime values, attitudes, beliefs, and personal priorities. This includes who we trust and how we measure success.

Interesting article on the characteristics of millennials and what makes them different from other generations. Click To Tweet

Each generation shares some of the same global experiences and tend to form some common traits, attitudes,  perspectives and assumptions on life and the workplace.  Therefore, the unique characteristics we see in Millennials and in each of the generations, is based upon the perspectives formed in the early development years.

millennial worker characteristics

Some of the characteristics of Millennials that contributed to their beliefs and attitudes include the 9/11 terrorist attack on our country. While that event affected most of us, the Millennials were the only ones in their formative years.

Other events  that have shaped the Millennials values and beliefs include the shootings at Columbine High School, drugs at school, guns at school, the internet, and reality TV.

In addition as this generation got older they continued to hear and see (on TV) additional reports of grade school, high school, and college campus shootings.  Needless to say, safety is a major concern for the Millennials Generation… and that includes safety in the workplace, including workplace violence as seen on TV lately, but also gender or sexual orientation issues..   

This group were raised with the “Baby on Board” caution sign in the back window, and the “Have You Hugged Your Child Today” mentality. Parents protected this group and worked to build the self-esteem of their Millennial children.

Parents developed this group’s decision-making skills early, asking their opinion on just about everything from what they wanted for dinner to what they wanted to wear each day. This has lead to the millennial characteristic of  expecting choice in the workplace.

3 strategies to hire and retain millennialsOne of my surprising research findings was asking about personal heroes for each generation. It was surprising to learn that the heroes of Millennials are very different than previous generations.

With the Baby-Boomers their heroes are sports figures like Micky Mantle or actors like Robert Redford.

With Generation X their heroes are sports figures like Michael Jordan, or astronauts like John Glenn.

With the Millennials when you ask who their heroes are… you will get mom, dad or a close family friend or relative as the response. This is a significant Millennial characteristic, because the research suggests that personal relationships are very important to them, and that includes the relationships in the workplace.

Learn more about the Myths, Misconceptions & Truths About Millennials in the Workforce

Millennials in the Workplace Statistics

My generational  research started early in 1990, and continues to this day. Over the years I have studied generational characteristics, team dynamics, learning preferences, workplace issues, management best practices, and communication issues.  Most recently I completed a 3,000 working Millennial study addressing motivation and workplace retention.

statistics of millenials in the workforceOne of the significant statistics uncovered in my research in understanding Millennials in the workplace is the role of education. Prior to the Baby Boomers only 3%  of Traditionalists (those born between 1922-1945) went to college.

With the Baby Boomers (those born between 1946-1964), 30% went to college, due to the GI Bill after World War II.

With Generation X  (those born between 1965-1980) 60% were college educated. 

And with Generation X there was an increase with the number of women who were college educated and over 50% of female graduates continued in school and  received advanced graduate degrees.

With Millennials those numbers are even higher for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. The Pew Research reinforces my own millennial workplace research statistics, in that the Millennial generation is the most educated of all the previous generations.

When looking at generational characteristics with the Millennials as well as the other generations, it is important to consider how they may be influenced by social, political and economic events. My research extended across 54 different cultures in 29 different country’s around the world, which included Europe and the Middle East.

Based on this research it is significant to point out that the generations of each country are unique. The generational characteristics in one country do not hold true for another.  So what we see in the USA will not be the same with the same generation in another country.

“ Successful companies of the twenty-first century will be built around the ability to encourage intellectual team synergies.”
~Deanne DeMarco

Millennial worker statisticsAn interesting millennial statistic affecting the workplace is technology. The Millennials use of technology clearly sets them apart from all the other generations. One defining characteristic for this generation is their affinity for everything digital. This generation grew up with technology, including cellphones, laptops, and social media. Many in this generation were playing video computer games before they started grade school. This tech savvy group stays in contact with friends and develops large social networks.

One workplace statistic, from one of my recent studies reports that 60% of that Millennial study group use their home computers and then transfer the work they completed at home to computers at work. In the follow up question as to why, this group said that the computers they had at home were better than the ones the company gave them.

Many reported that they could complete the work 40-50% faster using their personal computers.  59% said that employer supplied up-to-date technology was  a consideration before they would accept an offer.   

Work with Deanne Demarco 708 836-0118

Problems with Millennials in the Workplace

Understanding the unique characteristics of the generations is key to understanding the problems and expectations each generation, especially the Millennials, brings to the workplace.

millennial workplace issues

As an Illustration, Millennials are technology savvy. Their technology skills are a strong asset to a company but also creates workplace problems. It is important to understand how Millennials u

se technology and is one of the keys in understanding, leading, and retaining Millennials in the workplace. It is not just how Millennials use technology but also how they behave due to technology. For example they expect instant access to information and they are very comfortable with change.   So they become frustrated and turned off with rigid corporate information silos, and multiple layers of management.

With this hi-tech generation, technology touches every aspect of their lives, so it should not be surprising that 42% say they prefer to communicate electronically at work than face-to-face or even over the telephone. Additionally, 76% believe that access to technology at work makes them more productive  

One problem with Millennials in the workplace that was uncovered is that technology sometimes caused workplace tensions.  Over 53% said that they believe their managers did not understand the way they use technology at work.

millennial problems in the workplace

As children, Millennials played computer video games. Whether it was Bejeweled, or Super Mario,  they received instant feedback on their game progress. This instant feedback has also created problems in the workplace.

Millennials expect instant feedback on their work performance.

Let me take a minute to break a myth. The myth is that this generation expects blue ribbons and trophies. That is NOT the case. My research clearly points out that this generation does NOT expect rewards for doing good work, they just want to be informed how they are doing. Are they progressing and meeting expectations? 

FYI: it was the parents of the Millennials that wanted the trophies and ribbons… not the children.   However Millennials view constructive feedback as learning. Are they winning at work? Receiving frequent positive and corrective feedback is important to them.

Millennials are looking for a very different work environment and workplace culture. They  expect rapid progression, a varied and interesting career, and routine  feedback.  The once a year or twice a year performance appraisal is out dated and is frustrating for them.

One of the workplace problems Millennials are reporting is around workplace relationships. Building relationships with leaders, managers, and peers is important. They value mentors and are comfortable working with older generations.

However 41% are saying that older senior managers do not relate to them and 34% of Generation X employees are intimidated by their drive and ambition.   Additionally, over 64% report feeling that they are being held back by their managers outdated management working styles.

Millennial workforce characteristicsIt is clear that Millennials want a management style and corporate culture that is noticeably different from years ago. The old blah, blah, blah management skills no longer work! Millennials in the workplace are looking for collaborative partnerships.

Additionally, corporate rewards need to be results based NOT on the number of hours worked.  

It is important to realize that managers and leaders must learn the new skills that work today. These new skills include how to build collaborative partnerships and cohesive teams built on a foundation of trust and mutual respect.

SHIRM data reinforces my own study, that the #1 driver of millennial employee satisfaction and retention is the manager – employee relationship. In other words, a company can no longer afford to keep, let alone promote poor managers!

Unlike Generation X that tolerated change and the Boomers that hated change, Millennials are very comfortable and expect change and that includes changing jobs if their needs are not being met. Their view of work is also very different than previous generations.

Millennials want to make a difference. And expect the workplace culture to be positive, with a strong corporate brand and where leaders walk the talk. In my study 36% said that they would leave a company based on corporate culture and 25% said they would not even apply to a company with a poor culture.

Question for you: Describe your workplace culture. Why do people want to work for you?

Don’t over look the millennial as a buyer. This generation is attracted to power brands that support corporate / social responsibility. Millennials value similar attributes in a workplace employer brand as they do as a consumer brand. 

So bottom line, what does your company brand say to the consumer?  Just as your organization drives to achieve a positive consumer experience with your product or service, the Millennial is expecting a positive employee experience.Millennials in the workplace

Do not confuse your company’s customer brand with your employee brand. While there is a relationship, they are two distinctive  promises.

Just as a consumer can not be forced to buy a certain product or service, the Millennial can’t be mandated or pushed to act a certain way, or be summoned to be creative, innovative, or collaborative. However this unique generation can be guided.

This is a knowledge based generation. The knowledge based worker requires meaningful work with a sense of purpose for engagement. When the Millennial is engaged they resist distractions, enjoy workplace challenges, and their collaborative synergies can be contagious.

This group like no other generation, wants to make a difference and they identify proudly with their work. Likewise they also want to be proud of where they work.

The unique characteristics of millennials- such as their drive, optimism, desire to keep learning, and to move quickly through an organization – or to leave if needs are not met, requires senior leaders to focus on the millennial worker and the employee experience.  It is important to note that personal development and work / life balance are the top two benefits wanted by Millennials in the workforce.

Related Content: Millennial Job Hopping and how to reduce it.

The Time is NOW

Human resources management training to reduce millennial job hopping a retain employees.

It is time to challenge century-old assumptions about workplace talent and the relationships between workers, managers, leaders, and corporate culture. We are entering into a new era of more effective teams and organizations guided by a new generation of authentic, purposeful and participatory leaders.

It is time to get serious about generational diversity, and understand that the Millennials in your workplace matter and are the key to the success of your organization in the future.

Understanding the unique characteristics of the Millennial Generation is the first step in moving to a more engaged workforce. Leadership must re-think their employee brand, and their workplace strategies from interviewing, on-boarding, and leading.

Would you like to learn more about the Myths, Misconceptions and Truths About Millennials in the Workforce? Click here.

HR Training

Are you: – Looking to Reduce Millennial Job Hopping? –  Improve Team Cohesiveness? – Decrease Unhealthy Conflict and Improve Communication?

human resources training for hr managersMany groups are seeking to bring the latest information and issues affecting talent, communication, and business culture into focus to build workplace synergies, and consensus for action, in order to gain the competitive advantage.

Deanne is a business culture strategist and works individually with companies who are looking for current in-depth information, practical strategies and proven solutions that leaders and managers face in today’s multi-generational workforce.

Her speeches and workshops are designed to do just that. With humor, rich facilitated discussions, case studies and the latest understanding of employee engagement, motivation, and collaboration. – She helps you to energize your team, create those ah-ha moments, adjust a few attitudes , and work through ideas and approaches that are best suited to meet your organization’s needs.

Customized Human Resources Training for HR Managers

HR training from Deanne DermarcoAll of her sessions are customized to the specific needs and interests of the group and can be presented in either a keynote or interactive workshop. For workshops, I have developed a number of fun, interactive group exercises specifically designed to encourage participation, learning, and workplace application.

Deanne also offers her clients a bi-weekly newsletter, BizTips, exploring cutting edge topics, and issues facing business leaders, including the changing workforce.

Human Resources Management Training

Call Deanne today at 708-836-0118 or e-mail for more information on how she can help your organization create a corporate culture Where People Want to Work!

Deanne DeMarco, Business Culture Strategist
Author, Generations Gaps: Manage and Communicate Effectively