Why Millennial & Generation Z Loyalty Can’t Be Bought

by Kaitlan Whitteberry on January 25, 2019

What if 60% of your workforce put in their two weeks’ notice…today?

While that’s not likely to happen, statistically it could happen over time. According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey conducted in 2018, “43% of millennials and 61% of generation z say they plan to leave their current company within two years.”

How could this be? It turns out they’re unsatisfied at work, and most employees don’t feel connected to your company. Throwing money at the problem won’t help either, as the issue of loyalty in the workplace goes much deeper than that.

Here’s why millennials and generation z can’t be bribed to stay, but what you can do to make them reconsider leaving.

Millennials and generation z are some of the most talked about and misunderstood generations to date. While they’re touted as being lazy and entitled, and impatient to receive promotions and responsibility before its earned. This is actually pretty inaccurate. Younger workers think of loyalty in a different way than their predecessors. Growing up in a world full of layoffs and instability, they’re thinking of their career in terms of what’s best for themselves. You have to give millennials and generation z reasons to stick around – or they’re going to search for greener pastures. 

Here are a few changes that you can adopt in your workplace that will help you not only attract the best talent, but keep them. 

1. Be Open to Different Ways of Working

There’s a reason you’ve seen so many articles bashing the open-office floor plan recently. It’s not because it’s this terrible idea everyone hates, it’s just not ideal for everyone. There isn’t going to be a magic work environment that meets the needs of every employee, it doesn’t exist. They’re people, and you hired them because of their uniqueness, but expecting them to all work in the same way counteracts that idea.

Some people work best with background noise, some need absolute silence. Some people thrive with constant interaction with colleagues, some need solitude to inspire and nurture their ideas. Creating a workplace that provides multiple ways of working is going to meet the needs of more than just one type of worker. Even adding a few private call booths, group huddle rooms and some reservable space could give people the sense of choice they want in a workplace.

2. Create a “Honey Empire”

With a workforce comprised of nearly 80 percent millennials, Gary Vaynerchuk believes creating a stronger company heart is the solution to engaging your youngest employees. He does this with what he calls the honey empire.

The “honey empire” is defined by putting your people first, and running your business by doing what is right for them. Sometimes making company decisions because it’s the right thing to do (and maybe not the most profitable) give your workplace a sense of heart. Vaynerchuk believes it is possible to create successful businesses that treats people well, but you have to see your workforce as your greatest asset. 

Do you offer “honey” at your office? Are your PTO policies desirable? Are people expected to work more than they’re paid to? Is your CEO approachable? Is everyone treated with respect no matter their status?

If you have to question any of your answers, your workplace needs to take a hard look at its culture.

3. Provide Workplace Tools

When it comes to millennials and generation z, they can be incredibly productive, when given the right tools for their job. In Deloitte’s study they found that younger workers are well aware of the impact that artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and cognitive computing analytics can have on their company. Although, instead of fearing for job security, like many older generations, millennials and generation z believe these additions will, “give them more time to focus on creative, human and value-added work”.

“Only 35% of millennials and 30% of generation z feel they have the workplace tools they need to succeed.”

Your youngest workers have a positive outlook when it comes to technology and automation in the workplace, because they know it will allow them to eliminate mundane tasks from their routine and focus on cultivating more creative, interpersonal skills. Millennials and generation z aren’t afraid of technology, they want it in their workplace. Incorporating employee experience solutions like iOFFICE Hummingbird allow your workforce to interact with your workplace in an efficient way. Eliminating those redundant tasks they see as wasteful is a good way to convince them you’re a forward-thinking organization that is willing to use proper resources to give your team what they need to succeed. You’re saying you understand that an initial investment in your employees’ workday will reveal positive turnaround in the end for the company as a whole. 

4. Don’t Expect Loyalty, But Reward It 

While you know it’s best for your company if your workforce sticks around for a while, what are the benefits offered to your employees for that loyalty? The obvious come to mind like granting additional PTO and opportunities for advancement. But considering these young generations want different things than baby boomers and generation x, you may want to look into other ways of rewarding your team. 

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson

Considering a remote work policy that enables employees to work from home part of the time could give younger workers the sense of freedom they crave. While this may not be a realistic course of action at the beginning, once an employee has established themselves at your company, consider offering remote working options to see how they handle that level of autonomy. You hired them to do their job, and allowing them to choose where they do it shows they’ve earned your trust and that you value their time. 

Millennials and generation z are redefining the way we work. It’s no longer just about showing up between 9-and-5 and moving on with your day. Younger workers want to work for companies that value them and show that value through offering the proper technology and flexibility to get things done in the most efficient way. Prove you can offer these benefits to your team, and you won’t be seeing many two-week notices anytime soon. 


Kaitlan Whitteberry

Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.

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