Are Millennials Really the Job-Hopping Generation? Only If We Don't Listen to Them

     

It shouldn't come as any great surprise, but according to Gallup, Millennials aren't particularly engaged in their jobs.

According to Gallup's How Millennials Want to Work and Live reporta whopping "71 percent of employees in the Millennial generation (people born between 1980 and 1996) are either not engaged or actively disengaged at work."

Are Millennials really big job hoppers?

This is why Gallup refers to Millennials as "The Job-Hopping Generation." And, the data reflects this view. For example:

  • One in five (21 percent) of Millennials report changing jobs within the past year;
  • Six in 10 Millennials say they are are open to different job opportunities right now;
  • Only half (50 percent) of Millennials plan to be with their company one year from now;
  • One in two Millennials say they would consider taking a job with a different company for a raise of 20 percent or less.

And as Gallup goes on to say, just in case you don't understand the larger implications of these numbers:

This trend is troublesome for leaders because these (Millennial) workers currently make up 38 percent of the U.S. workforce. Some estimate that they will make up as much as 75 percent of it by 2025."

This job hopping trend is a troubling trend, but as Gallup notes, some say employers "should also accept that the workplace is becoming more fluid and consider the evolution an opportunity. Others have even suggested we need to encourage it, stating that job-hopping is an important part of the employee life cycle, particularly at the beginning of the employee journey."

That's all well and good, but it can cost a lot to replace job-hopping employees -- as much as 150 percent of a person's annual salary, Gallup estimates or more -- and, "employers are making a costly mistake if they write the job-hopping tendency off as unchangeable or out of their control."

Gallup's take on how to help the Millennial workforce

There's an answer to all of this job-hopping of course, and by Gallup's analysis, it all comes down to one thing: better engagement. Here's their advice on how to fix this:

If managers don't proactively initiate and continually welcome development conversations, their Millennial employees might explore other opportunities -- an easy task in an age when job seekers are always digitally connected and aware of their options. By failing to actively meet Millennials' need to learn and grow, managers are likely to get hit with letters of resignation before they even knew there was a problem.

Managers and leaders need to get ahead of the issue by understanding Millennials' basic workplace needs and making it a priority to fulfill them. From the start, managers could use frequent coaching conversations to discover each Millennial employee's interests to better provide ongoing opportunities to learn new skills.

Managers also need to convey that they care about Millennials' long-term plans. It is managers' responsibility to ensure that Millennials understand their future in the company and communicate that workers don't have to go somewhere else to advance. Assuming that Millennials can visualize the potential for advancement -- or grow on their own -- is a big mistake."

It takes a more "managing by walking around"

My take: I've said this before, but it is my take that Millennials are really not all that different from any of the other generations that have come before them. Yes, they have their own unique issues and perspectives given how they have grown up and the times they live in, but overall, they want what other generations want -- meaningful work, decent pay, help with their personal development, a visible career path, and a sense they are making a difference.

They also want to be talked to as equals and not dictated to by those higher up in the workplace pecking order. In fact, they are most engaged and happy when they are brought into the conversation and seen as part of the solution rather than just a worker bee who is seen as simply someone to get stuff done.

What Millennials want is right in front of you -- as long as your are receptive to hearing them talk about it. You should be getting it in the interview stage before they're hired, and later, in the review stage as you hear their peers' perspective about how they're doing.

If more managers got out of their office and spent more time engaging with people -- yes, it's called "management by walking around" -- they would hear what their workers think and have a better feel for how to keep them productive and engaged.

It's not that hard. The only question is, are today's managers motivated to get out and do it?

Editor's Note: Companies everywhere are rethinking how they evaluate employee performance, and you can also take a different approach by using Checkster's 360 Checkup. It gives quick, pointed and timely feedback compared to the traditional time-consuming approach. 


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About The Author

John Hollon is Checkster's Vice President for Content. He is an award-winning journalist and nationally-recognized expert on leadership, talent management and smart workforce practices who previously was Vice President of Editorial and the founding editor of TLNT.com. Before that, John was Editor of Workforce Management magazine, the longest published HR and talent management publication in the U.S.