February 12, 2016
Have you given up on understanding millennials, a.k.a. Gen Y? Do you believe they feel entitled, lazy and selfish? Here are some key insights to help you better understand them and work with them. Sure enough, this “largest generation” (80 million Americans) is very different from its predecessors.
First, who is a Millennial? Exact ages and definitions vary, but here is how the Center for Generational Kinetics1 defines the five generations currently making up our society:
The Center for Generational Kinetics recently published a white paper2 that compiled data on Millennial employment and provided five insights. The insights pertain to employment in general and apply to veterinary medicine as well.
The first insight is the five motivators for Millennial employees, ages 19 to 37, to engage with their jobs:
The first four traits relate to Millennials’ understanding of the organization and how they interact with it:
The next four traits relate to Millennials’ self-image within the company—for example, how they perceive their self-worth, opportunities and compensation:
Millennials are attracted to well-advertised jobs and to organizations with good branding. Related factors include the job description, the employer’s career page and how easy it is to apply for a job. This last point is crucial: 43 percent of Millennials believe they should be able to use a tablet computer to apply for a job, and almost 40 percent think they should be able to apply on a smartphone.
Other factors include the information provided by social media outlets, such as www.GlassDoor.com, a website with employment ratings.
An organization’s mission appeals more to Millennials (60 percent of them) than to other generations. Part of the mission statement should include valuing employees and their personal and professional growth.
Data on how long Millennials plan to remain in one job and how many jobs they want over their lifetime is not consistent in the white paper. This actually makes sense because their ages vary so widely—19 to 37. So they are at different stages of their lives. For example, young Millennials studying in college often hold part-time or transitional jobs that they don’s see as leading to careers.
After graduation from college, however, the time that Millennials will stay at a job lengthens. One study revealed that 54 percent of Millennials wanted to work for two to five employers throughout their careers.
The Center for Generational Kinetics offers advice for supervisors looking to retain Millennial employees. Supervisors can compare their rates of retention to those of a peer group in the same industry. This is helpful because, depending on factors like industry and geography, turnover among Millennials can vary from 15 to 150 percent.
Supervisors also can determine the six-month period in which Millennials have the highest turnover rate. This period depends on several things. For example, the increase in turnover could be seasonal.
Four months before the turnover mark, supervisors should decide what to do to retain their Millennial employees for another six to 12 months.
Of note, the center also revealed that most Millennials prefer weekly feedback.
The study shares many excellent ideas to get the best out of Millennials. Give them a try and you may be surprised to discover a few superstars among your youngest employees.
Here are six things you can do to improve Millennials’ performance.
Originally published in the February 2016 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today!
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