By Bre Streinz, Consultant
Millennials have long been labeled as self-centered and accused of ruining some big traditions: Marriage, brick and mortar stores, face-to-face interaction (seems a bit ironic now), and the list goes on.
Everyone has their stigmas about each generation, but world events do impact how these groups are defined by society. Most of us millennials witnessed 9/11 through innocent eyes. The 2008 financial crash maybe meant we didn’t go on a family vacation. As a young child you don’t feel those impacts. But we are now. COVID-19 is a pandemic that will influence the rest of our lives, both professionally and personally. This is our life changing moment and will represent a time in our lives that we will tell our children and grandchildren about.
Millennials make up half of the American workforce, and by 2025 are forecasted to be 75% of the global workforce. With such a large population of the workforce falling into that millennial category, it’s valuable as an employer to wonder what your millennial population is thinking during these surreal times and how your actions today can help you recover faster in the future.
Here are the top three items that are top of mind for me.
- From a professional and career perspective, young millennials have been known to job hop and switch organizations every 2-4 years, looking for that utopia where they are valued and engaged. There’s some truth to this. I’ve hired hundreds of millennials in a previous role, and I saw many of them leave, chasing that next opportunity (note: I am not one of them). This has caused organizations to see an increase in turnover costs. Now is the time to capitalize and show your millennial employees that you are capable of being that employer they’ve always wanted. Millennials will think back on this time of fear and uncertainty and will remember how their employer treated them. If it is a positive memory for them, it will strengthen their loyalty to you. They’ll know their employers find them valuable and they will continue to work to prove that they still are long after COVID-19 dissipates.
- Millennials have always begged for flexibility and to work from home, we now have it, despite how it happened. When the dust settles, can your organization embrace what we’ve learned through this experience and explore how to continue offering this option to your employees? It’s time to start embracing that we can get the work done despite unique circumstances and where you might be working from. Though I think a lot of us are recognizing the value social interaction in the workplace holds.
- Since health is on everyone’s mind, looking at how you approach this topic with your employees is worthwhile. With the concern today around visiting traditional health facilities, will that fear linger in the future? Millennial consumers will seek alternatives to address their health concerns such as telehealth solutions where they can virtually connect and communicate with healthcare professionals. Millennials also tend to view their wellness more holistically. Staying hydrated, taking mental breaks, challenging themselves to learn new things, etc. are all important to them and their well-being. Building these into your health offerings will be impactful for them as we turn the corner on what is occurring today.
Millennials want to work. And employers need us to work.
Can we create an evolved environment with what we’ve learned where organizations can have a committed workforce and where employees can feel valued despite our different workplace requests?