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The Millennial Workforce, are you ready?

Posted by Julie Maloney on February 22, 2017

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At Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, we are constantly adapting our understanding of the workforce as it evolves.At  Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, we are constantly adapting our understanding of the workforce as it evolves. If we take a short look ahead at our working populations, by the year 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Millennials and you need to be prepared now.

This is a hot topic and for good reason! Gallup recently published their findings from a deep dive into Millennial data and found that Millennial turnover due to lack of engagement already costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. Leaders, you are going to want to get to know some of the nuances of this research for future organizational stability. Data thus far has revealed that people born between 1980 and 1996 generally want:

  • To have purpose in their work. Sure, they want to get paid, but if they don’t feel like they are making a difference, they won’t stay.
  • Their leaders to coach and support their development. They want to grow fast and be seen for what they have to offer.
  • Connection and ongoing conversations with their peers and leaders. If the only time leaders and members of this group really sit and discuss their growth is during the sixth month and annual review—they are not going to stick around.
  • To focus on what they are good at and not worry about the weaknesses. If they are not maximizing their strengths, they are likely looking for another work opportunity where that will happen. Sixty percent of Millennials say they are open to or looking for new job opportunities. This is not to say that coaching on development opportunities isn’t needed or useful, but it’s important to have a strengths based approach.
  • To not separate life and work. Technology contributes to this openness and transparency. The idea of going to work just for a paycheck is not a Millennial mindset. They want their work to matter to the greater good and they want that to be known at work.

Your company needs to engage Millennials and Goodwill offers training to helpHow is your company prepared to attract and engage this emerging workforce?

Gallup has found that Millennials have the highest unemployment or underemployment rate in the U.S. and only 29% of those working are engaged, meaning emotionally connected—a key desire for this generation.

Here are a couple considerations for organizations to look at and mitigate the high cost of turnover:

  • Are you asking what Millennials want and willing to hear what they have to say?
    • If top down leadership is your organization’s main approach, Millennials, wanting purpose and to matter, will likely continue to shop around for a different employer. Instead of the company swag, the water bottles, ID badge clip, and company gear, they want their ideas heard and to know they are making a difference.
  • Do you understand what motivates Millennials and work toward mutual development?
    • This is an organizational investment, but there are many resources available for organizations to develop their leaders' coaching abilities, resulting in greater investment by Millennials to their work community. This may push change in your organization, even the physical layout of workspaces to promote more interaction.
  • Are you still using the same technology from five years ago for employee engagement?
    • You have Millennials in your workforce, ask them what makes sense for them, and catch up. They will love you for it.

Many of these changes are not quick or easy, but they are possible and necessary for financial and cultural health. Goodwill is in the process of adapting with everyone else. We can also help as Goodwill offers a variety of training for our customers, including training that would support Millennial engagement in organizations. If you would like more information please contact Julie O'Malley, Sales & Business Development Manager (414) 847-4264 or email julie.omalley@goodwillsew.com.

Written by Julie Maloney

Julie Maloney joined Goodwill’s Workforce Development team in 2013. As the Senior Educator and Instructional Developer Julie supports internal and external training programs run in alignment with customer needs and are responsive to the evolving workforce needs. She believes for teams to be effective, each voice needs to be heard and valued. Julie’s continual study in communication, empathy, emotional intelligence and collaborative empowerment of individuals in the workplace is integrated in how she chooses to show up each day. Being a part of Goodwill allows Julie to experience individuals in programs arrive for work more fully themselves and aware of the contributions they have to offer.
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