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How Millennials and Gen Zs Are Navigating the Pandemic: Stress and Resilience Revisited for the Young

Each year, Deloitte releases their annual survey about the youngest generations in the workforce, Millennials and Gen Zs. I look forward to their report because it’s full of valuable research and statistics we use to inform much of the work we do here at launchbox by bridging the gaps with our clients.

Conducting a study of this size and magnitude is a serious undertaking that takes months and months of work. So what do you do when a global pandemic arrives and changes the world as we know it almost overnight? If you’re Deloitte, you take your original research and back it up with a pulse survey to see how some of the original respondents are faring amidst extreme change. Then, you use that data to publish a survey that offers one of the most informative and well-researched pictures of how young people are doing at work and at home even as they face an uncertain future.

Hint: they’re doing better than a lot of us would have thought. And the younger they are, the better they’re doing with uncertainty.

Below, we break down some of the key findings in the 2020 Deloitte survey and what this means for employers who are struggling to connect their remote employees to each other and their teams.

 

Key Finding #1: Millennials and Gen Zs Are Less Stressed Now Than They Were and That Means No More Business as Usual

Deloitte’s original survey was conducted between November 2019 and the early weeks of 2020. In that survey, 48% of Gen Z respondents and 44% of Millennial respondents reported that they were “stressed all or most of the time.” But in the pulse survey Deloitte conducted in April and May of 2020, they discovered an 8% decrease in stress for both generations. This is despite the fact that about 25-30% of respondents actually lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. Pretty crazy what a huge reset will do to a generation or two.

What does this mean for employers? It means that many of your younger employees aren’t going to want to go back to business as the old usual. For some, the pandemic has had measurable benefits and they’re going to want to keep them. Things like the ability to work remote, flexible schedules, a reduction in calendar obligations, and more. 69% of Millennials and 64% of Gen Zs reported that they believe having the option to work from home in the future would relieve stress. After the pandemic is over, 64% of Millennials and 60% of Gen Zs said they would like the option to work from a remote location from frequently. So as an employer, ask your people what they want from you and their workplace. What parts of life pre-pandemic do they miss? And what do they hope stays in the past? We know they miss connection – look at the bars! However, do they need work connection 24/7 like we thought? No. They want to be trusted and also have more control and freedom about how and where they live and work. Pandora’s box is open.

 

Key Finding #2: Job Loyalty is Increasing Amongst the Younger Generations

A common complaint I hear from the older generations is that Millennials and Gen Zs “aren’t loyal.” They job hop a lot and when something’s not working for them, they are quick to seek alternative employment rather than stick it out to see if it improves. It’s one thing I love about the youth – they refuse to settle for anything less than what they think they deserve.

Yet in Deloitte’s primary survey, and contrary to popular belief, “more millennials said they’d like to stay with their employers for at least five years than would prefer to leave within two years.” In fact, just 31% of Millennials respondents to the primary survey shared that they intend to leave their current employment within the next two years, down from 49% in 2019! Interesting because we are seeing this with our clients too. They really want more safety and belonging. If you trust them and grow them, they will want to stay. Imagine that.

Deloitte hypothesized that the increase in job loyalty amongst the younger generations is due to their employers doing a better job addressing their needs, creating a diverse and inclusive working environment, and supporting their development through training and mentorship, among other factors. Across both generations, 71% of respondents felt that their employers were doing a fairly good job at creating a working environment that is inclusive and diverse. And roughly 70% of Millennial and Gen Z respondents felt their employer was making a positive impact on the local community. As an employer, pay close attention to these findings. We know that some of the things young people want from their employers include opportunities to learn and grow, transparency, real-deal authentic communication, and purpose and contribution. Make sure you have a system in place that gives your people what they want. Need help? Reach out to us – we have actionable tips and hacks that will help you create that system inside your business.

 

Key Finding #3: The Pandemic Has Increased Individual Responsibility and Empathy

If there’s one thing we can all agree on about the pandemic, it’s that we’ve all been affected in one way or another. Some of us dramatically, others marginally. Yet the coronavirus pandemic has emerged as one of the defining moments in living history, uniting us against a common enemy. For our young people, it’s had the positive effects of increasing their empathy for others and encouraging them to get more involved in supporting their local community. In Deloitte’s pulse survey, 75% of respondents across both generations reported, “once restrictions are lifted, they will take actions that have a positive impact on their communities. Seven in ten said they already have done so.” Three-quarters of respondents also mentioned that the pandemic had made them more aware of and sympathetic towards the needs of different people around the world.

What does this mean for employers? It means your younger generations, who were already pre-disposed to wanting to make a difference by doing work that matters, have had their innate generational desire towards purpose and contribution reinforced by recent events. Which means you really have to get this right with them! You need to connect them to their purpose, help them see that the work they’re doing matters, and give them the tools to create impact for others. It’s a tall order, but we think you’re up to the challenge. And we recently launched a new virtual product, Strengths & Story, to help. Your employees will learn how to identify their strengths and connect to their story so they can create an impact that matters. Contact us to learn more about getting access to this product for your team.

 

Click Here to Read the Full 2020 Survey From Deloitte

 

Did any of these key findings surprise you? Are their areas you know you need help in? We’re here for you. We’ve helped companies from start-up to Fortune 500 bridge the gap in their workplaces and solve for success. Reach out to us to claim your complimentary call and learn what we can do to help you succeed!

4 Important Questions You Should Be Asking & the 4 Actions They Will Make You Take to Win the Millennial Race!

“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.”

– Thomas Berger

 

The only way to get powerful answers is by asking powerful questions. Deloitte released a brilliant and insightful report about 10 questions you should be asking. We’ve taken 4 of these 10 key questions and shifted the focus on how they relate to your millennial workforce.

1.) What risks are my biases creating?

Every action we take is in accordance with our belief system. The beliefs we hold are much more powerful than we realize. They can cage us in or empower us; they can hold us back or push us forward. If you are biased by the myths that millennials are entitled, lazy, and selfish, could that be affecting your business? Considering that millennials are 60% of the world’s population (and that number is growing fast), this could adversely affect your operations, your relationship with millennial employees and your strategy moving forward.

The Deloitte report reveals, “during periods of great change, at the very moment rationality is needed most, the impulse to act without reason kicks in.” To act impulsively and think from a victim mindset is the easy thing to do. “My millennials don’t work hard. They don’t care at all.” But what if you take a different approach, taking responsibility for your workforce and finding ways to empower and engage them? Seek advice from people in your organization who you can trust, especially millennials themselves. Ask people outside your organization what they think. This will help remove any biases that may be holding your business back from excelling.

ACTION: Ask the Millennial and Manager so you can bridge the gap!

2.) Am I acting decisively when I see change around the corner?

The world is changing, and fast. Technology is altering the way we do business and will continue to do so over the next decade. If you don’t grab innovation by the horns and adapt to current and future trends, you will be left by the wayside. It’s evident that company culture, business ethics, virtual opportunity, and generational gaps are among us. But, as stated elegantly in the Deloitte report, “The problem is not just seeing around the corner. It’s also deciding when to take arms, and then taking them confidently.”

Boom. It’s one thing to notice a problem (or opportunity, depending on how you see it.) It’s another thing to take initiative and act. Three out of four companies do not have a plan in place to adjust to the millennial shift in both the workforce and economy. Great leaders make changes before the changes overcome them. Make sure your organization is equipped and prepared for the rise of millennials.

ACTION: Get a friggin plan together now, appoint a committee, DO SOMETHING TODAY!

3.) What’s your reputation worth, and who owns it?

Reputation is everything. It’s worth more than just dollars, and is measured in a variety of currencies like attention, trust and loyalty. Reputation defines the heart of your business. It reveals what you represent and how you fulfill the promises and expectations of your customers and employees.

We agree with the Deloitte report, which encourages a brand reputation program to help enhance, progress and preserve your reputation and business. “That program should engage employees as corporate ambassadors, constantly look for gaps in what is promised vs. what is delivered, and invest in systems to monitor and track external feedback across stakeholders.” What are you promising your millennial employees? A Deloitte Millennial survey revealed that 44% of millennials rejected a job offer because the company values didn’t match their own.[1] Is your company delivering on its moral values? Make sure you are transparent about who you are and what you stand for.

ACTION: Develop your brand story clearly, create it, be it, live it, live it with relevance. Don’t look back. Be your brand and millennials will make your brand relevant!

4.) Who digs in and challenges the assumptions in my strategy?

Having a devil’s advocate is essential for challenging assumptions, eliminating biases, surfacing blind spots, offering new perspectives and building a resilient strategy. As the old adage says, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Assumptions can be wrong. By openly discussing strategy and encouraging a devil’s advocate to challenge strategy, you can remove possible flaws and weaknesses as well as adopt new ideas to strengthen your game plan.

The great part about having a diverse workforce is that every person has a unique set of experiences. Therefore, each individual may see a problem or opportunity that only they can see due to his or her perspective. As Alan Alda said, “Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.”

ACTION: Push yourself now. Engage a millennial to push you and let them. You will be better, stronger and wiser, which will grow your business.

DO SOMETHING NOW: GO GROW YOURSELF!

Chasing Relevance by Dan Negroni

Interested in learning more about bridging the gap between millennials and managers? Here’s your chance! Grab your copy of  Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

 

[1] Yakowicz, Will. “Half of Millennials Would Reject a Work Assignment That Clashed With Their Ethics.” Inc.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2016.