Businesses must adjust how they nurture loyalty among millennials (those born between the 1980s until early 2000s) or risk losing a large percentage of their workforce, according to Deloitte’s fifth annual Millennial Survey.
About half the millennials surveyed (44 per cent) say that, given the choice, they expect to leave their current employers in the next two years.
That figure increases to 66 per cent when the timeframe is extended to 2020. The findings were revealed through a survey of nearly 7,700 millennials from 29 countries during September and October 2015.
Concerns regarding a lack of development of leadership skills and feelings of being overlooked were often voiced by those considering near-term career changes.
But larger issues around work/life balance, the desire for flexibility, and differences around business values are influencing their opinions and behaviours.
Millennials appear to be guided by strong values at all stages of their careers, says the report. It’s apparent in the employers they choose, the assignments they’re willing to accept, and the decisions they make as they take on more senior-level roles, it says.
While they continue to express a positive view of business’ role in society and have softened their negative perceptions of business’ motivation and ethics compared to prior surveys, Millennials still want businesses to focus more on people (employees, customers, and society), products, and purpose – and less on profits.
“Millennials place great importance on their organisation’s purpose beyond financial success, remaining true to their values and opportunities for professional development. Leaders need to demonstrate they appreciate these priorities, or their organisations will continue to be at risk of losing a large percentage of their workforce,” said Omar Fahoum, chairman and chief executive at Deloitte Middle East.
“Fortunately, millennials have provided business with a roadmap of how employers can meet their needs for career satisfaction and professional development.”
Earning millennials’ loyalty
Millennials seek employers with similar values; 7 in 10 believe their personal values are shared by the organisations for which they work. This is the potential “silver lining” for organisations aiming to retain these young professionals.
Closing the “purpose gap” also will be critical to attracting and keeping millennials. They want to work for organisations that focus on improving the skills, income, and ‘satisfaction levels’ of employees; create jobs; and provide goods and services that have a positive impact on peoples’ lives.
Millennials recognise the need for businesses to be profitable and to grow, but feel organisations are often too focused on those objectives. To millennials, organisations with a strong sense of purpose will achieve long-term success while organisations that do not are at risk.
According to the survey, employers that provide opportunities for leadership development; connect m millennials to mentors; encourage a work/life balance; provide flexibility that allows millennials to work where they’re most productive; give them more control over their careers; and foster cultures that encourage and reward open communications, ethical behaviour, and inclusiveness, are those that will be most successful in retaining millennial employees.
Values are traditional, less compromising
Contrary to perception, the survey found that millennials aren’t particularly influenced by the “buzz” around particular businesses or employers. Survey respondents also indicate little desire to be famous, have a high profile on social media, or accumulate great wealth. Instead, in broad terms, millennials’ personal goals are rather traditional.
They want to own their own homes, they desire a partner for life, and they seek financial security that allows them to save enough money for a comfortable retirement. The ambition to make positive contributions to their organizations’ success and/or to the world in general also rate highly.
When asked to state the level of influence different factors have on their decision-making at work, “my personal values /morals” ranked first. Most millennials have no problem standing their ground when asked to do something that conflicts with their personal values.
This includes more-senior millennials, whose emphasis on personal values continues into the boardroom – suggesting future leaders will base their decisions as much on personal values as on the achievement of specific organisational targets or goals.
“A generation ago, many professionals sought long-term relationships with employers, and most would never dream of saying ‘no’ to supervisors who asked them to take on projects,” said Fahoum. “But, millennials are more independent and more likely to put their personal values ahead of organisational goals. They are re-defining professional success, they’re proactively managing their careers, and it appears that their values do not change as they progress professionally, which could have a dramatic impact on how business is done in the future.”