Over the past few years there has been a lot of talk among the pundits about the younger generation of business professionals and their somewhat fickle ways.
More or less, millennials are being coined as the generation that has no loyalty to the companies that they work for, and therefore they are being more and more labeled as “difficult.”
While to some extent this may seem true, I firmly believe that most of this is rooted in the fact that we have reached heightened levels of awareness through the visibility that the Internet gives us. More simply put, thanks to LinkedIn and other Internet sources, we now know every time someone makes a job change bringing more awareness and visibility to the behavior.
This past week I had the chance to sit on a “Millennial Myths” panel in NYC for IBM. The panel was to discuss the findings of a research study that they did for more than 1700 millennials around the world to better understand whether or not the myths being put on this generation is true.
One of those specific myths was that millennials are job hoppers. The study, however, didn’t find that to be the case. In fact, the study itself, which included Gen X and Baby Boomer control groups, actually found that the motivations that millennials had to leave (money and career passion) were exactly the same as the older generation. In addition, it found that Gen X employees were actually more likely to leave at the opportunity to realize their motivations.
In short, we are in a hyper connected world where we have so much exposure to information that we almost start to believe things based on what we see, but statistically it just may not be true.
Investing In Your Employees and Their Growth
With the NSCA Business and Leadership Conference coming just around the corner, I started to make the connection with the IBM study to the commercial integration space. This problem has been mentioned in the past quite often.
In fact, it was a hot topic at the CI Summit this past November. Owners and leaders within integration companies are eager to see what they can do to appeal to younger candidates as well as keep them.
The BLC is a great event for learning and connecting. Those that have the chance to attend almost always come back excited and inspired about work. I have noticed similar affects on employees that attend other events where they have the chance to learn, connect, take classes and stay engaged in the industry.
For some time I was starting to believe that maybe millennials were the problem; the distractions of social media, the lack of writing skills and basic communication skills and so on. However, this study is a great example of how we may be missing the mark. If we want loyal employees we need to remember the importance of investing in them, helping them learn and grow, and making them feel a part of the organization.
This isn’t special treatment. This is leadership. If you treat people well, as if you care, then they will be more apt to reciprocate. However, if you employ people like it is a favor to them, and you don’t nurture them and help them grow then they will leave and much of the blame in such a case belongs to the employer.
Bottom line, take time and invest in your people. Millennials as well as more experienced members of your team all need to grow to feel engaged in a company. Own that and you may see better than expected returns from your workforce.