August 16, 2016

Employers question Millennials’ loyalty at work

Millennials are a fickle bunch who will only stay in an organisation where they can see a clear and quick career progression. That is one of the many findings of the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016. But that won’t come as a surprise to many HR professionals or employers. It is well known that millennials don’t feel bound by loyalty to their employer the way that previous generations have. But then again, many employers have also shown that loyalty is dispensable in recent years, something that millennials are very aware of too.

The Deloitte survey of nearly 7,700 millennials from 29 countries found that two-thirds of millennials want to leave their current organisation by 2020. When you consider that millennials account for a large chunk of the working population – in the US millennials comprise the largest part of the workforce – no wonder employers are worried about their loyalty.

In order to keep hold of this crucial part of the workforce, HR and employers need to understand them – their values and ambitions, what drives them, what they want from a job and how they want to work.

Let’s take a look at what the Deloitte survey can tell us about these areas. Firstly, it found that 71% of respondents in the UK expect to move on in the next five years. What is causing this? Many millennials have already reached senior level positions, but more than six in 10 (63%) say their “leadership skills are not being fully developed”.

Last year’s survey asked respondents to rate the skills and attributes most valued by businesses. Leadership came out top, cited by 39%. However, only 24% thought that leadership was a strong personal trait of theirs upon graduation. As a result, it would appear that millennials do not think businesses are doing enough to ensure the next generation of business leaders are being developed.

The least loyal employees were significantly more likely to express the following two statements:

– I’m being overlooked for potential leadership positions
– My leadership skills are not being fully developed

Conversely, the most loyal employees were more likely to agree with these two statements:

– There is a lot of support/training available to those wishing to take on leadership roles
– Younger employees are actively encouraged to aim for leadership roles

Are male and female respondents expressing the same sentiments? Fifty per cent of men and 48% of women say they are “being overlooked for potential leadership positions”. However, the starting point is not the same – 21% of millennial men said they were leading a department or were members of the senior management team, compared to 16% of women.

The survey urges employers to listen to what millennials want and understand the values proposition. Millennials want to work for organisations that share the same values. Three key actions are recommended in the survey:

– Identify, understand and align with millennials’ values
– Satisfy the demands millennials have of employers
– Support millennials’ ambitions and professional development

It suggests mentoring schemes, developmental opportunities and a company purpose that reaches beyond just financial success.

The findings show that millennials are more likely to want to stay when they feel in control of their own career and there is a high level of cross-team collaboration. Pay and financial benefits are very important to millennials (22%), followed by work-life balance (16.8%), opportunities to progress/be leaders (13.4%), flexibility (11%) and sense of meaning from work (9.3%). Trailing in 14th and last place is reputation of leaders (3.1%).