Those who know me know that I'm the last person to buy into the millennial hype. And I still won't. That being said, I do think that workplaces must continue to evolve as the habits of all employees change. Juan Meng, Ph.D., University of Georgia, and Bruce K. Berger, Ph.D., University of Alabama, conducted research for the Institute for Public Relations and the Plank Center for Leadership on millennial communication professionals in the workplace.
Those classified as "Millennials" now represent 35% of the workforce and what's troubling is the finding of a key disconnects between younger communication professionals and their managers. There were differences in more than 80% of the survey questions regarding workplace values and attributes, leadership capabilities and readiness, engagement with the job and the organization, leadership development opportunities, and recruitment and retention drivers.
Here are some of the bigger gaps:
- 83.3% of Millennials say they are ambitious about getting ahead, but only 51.7% of managers believe they are
- 82.7% of Millennials say they are passionate about work. 47.6 of managers see this passion
- Only 47.6% of managers believe Millennials possess strong ethics and professional values, but 76.9% of millennials feel they do
Is this something unique for millennials OR is this a typical disconnect between older and younger generations. Were Gen Xers the same way with Baby Boomers? I bet if research was done, we'd find something similar. Notice that many label millennials as "digital natives" but none of those large gaps have anything to do with technology.
I think the bigger opportunity for companies to remove the generational labels and focus on overall employee retention and employee experience. As the data points out, the top three reasons millennials leave a job in 1 to 3 years is because:
- Poor cultural fit
- Better pay and benefits
- Supervisor issue