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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!

Young Lawyers are Leading Change in the Law Practice, Like it or Not

Change is coming one way or another. That was the conclusion of a recent report from Major, Lindsey, and Africa, a leading attorney search firm, in which they detailed their findings after surveying over 1,200 millennial attorneys. And while their survey was exclusively focused on law firms and the people they employ, we’ve noticed similarities about our clients inside law as well as those we work with across all kinds of industries.

There are three things we’ve deduced from the survey as being absolutely critical for employers to understand: 1) Work-Life Balance Rules 2) Lack of Authenticity and Transparency is a Non-Starter 3) Career Pathing is Your Duty

Just look at these results:

-Less than 30% of respondents described their firms as being very transparent about an associate’s career path.  Yet more than 80% of respondents still described transparency surrounding their individual career paths as being important to crucial to them.

-Only 20% of respondents classified themselves as being highly loyal to their firms. And of those, 54% still said they were not open to new job opportunities. It seems these things go hand in hand!

-When evaluating prospective employers, respondents cited these three factors as being most important in their decision: the employer’s commitment to fostering work-life balance, compensation, and professional development.

-If a respondent was open to new job opportunities, it’s usually because they were seeking better compensation, looking for a change in management or company culture, or wanted more work-life balance.

-More than 60% of respondents said informal mentorship has had a significant or crucial effect on their career. And almost 30% indicated that formal mentorship was irrelevant.

(Click here to read the full survey)

Did any of those results surprise you? They surprised ME and I do this for a living!

Like it or not, change is coming to your organization. So the question is: are you ready?

We’re going to break down how you can prepare your company to meet the needs of the worker of the future so that your organization can survive and thrive. After all, a company is only as good as its people. And if you can’t figure out how to give your best people what they want, they’ll find someone else who can – like your competition!

WORK-LIFE BALANCE RULES

We’ve been fighting to achieve work-life balance SINCE THE BEGINNING OF WORK.

Can we actually achieve work life balance or is it a myth?  And what the heck does work-life balance even mean? Because it’s different for every single employee.

One hack is to turn your organization upside down and ask each employee what work-life balance means to them. Understanding what your audience wants, a novel concept. Does it mean coming in early so they can leave early? Does it mean working from home a few days a week? Or does it mean not working a weekend, ever. Whatever it is, you’ve got to figure out what your employees need from you and then figure out how you can deliver it in a way that still serves your business goals.

There, now you have a system to find a way to help your employees achieve the work-life balance they crave. Remember, it goes both ways. You can give employees the better balance they want, in a way that meets your expectations.

LACK OF AUTHENTICITY AND TRANSPARENCY IS A NON-STARTER

Ah, transparency. Seems everybody and their brother wants the people, the government and the companies in their lives to be more transparent.  Science and data demonstrate people want the truth, as in can you be trusted.

So, you need to figure out how to be really real with your employees. And not just raw and authentic when it suits you – it needs to be baked into your company culture.  So entwined with the day-to-day operations that it is embedded in your culture.

How do you get there?

Friggin connect with your employees. Learn their story, find out what they want out of their job and their life, and understand what really matters to them. If you can achieve that you will create Trust.  Having a culture of trust and transparency and communication is what creates results.  See The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey:  (Strategy x Execution) Trust  =RESULTS . And not just any results, exponential results!

CAREER PATHING IS YOUR DUTY

In a world of on-demand learning, is it really any surprise that formal and forced mentorship is on the decline? We all want to learn at our own pace, on our own schedule, and with who we trust – which just doesn’t gel with a rigid mentorship structure.

Which isn’t to say that formal mentors themselves are out. We just want advice delivered in a more informal, of-the-moment way. So rather than formally defining our relationships with our employees in the workplace or relegating their career development to some far-off date on your calendar, practice delivering real-deal, authentic feedback. That means correcting the behavior when it happens, not during their annual review. It means taking time out of your busy schedule to commend an employee on a job well done – even when you’re so busy you can’t think straight.

We have to find a way to build more mentorship and professional development into the day-to-day culture of the workplace. And while you may be rolling your eyes and thinking, “Sure Dan, I’ll be sure to add that to my never-ending to-do list” the truth is, it’s critical you get this right. Employees who are listened to, supported in their role, given the tools to succeed, and encouraged to bring new ideas to the table do better work and STAY! It’s that simple.

Here’s the bottom line: if you want to survive in the years to come, you’ve got to figure out how to create and deliver:

1.  Work Life Balance

2.  Authenticity and Transparency

3. Career Pathing

It’s the only way.

Need help figuring out how to give your employees what they want in a way that still serves your company? Reach out to us for coaching – we’ll equip you with the tools you need to succeed! Click here to sign up for your free coaching session.

What Millennials Want From Employers

After training over 14,000 millennials around the world from the United States to as far away as Singapore, I’ve discovered that millennials all want the same four things from their employers. The good news? It’s not rocket science. The bad news? Most employers are still not getting it right with their millennial and gen z employees.

Millennials around the world face unique pressures from their governments, culture, and society, but they’re pretty united on what they want out of life, especially from the workplace. Just take a look at this Reddit thread from the summer of 2018 – I’m sure you’ll notice that a lot of the ideas floated by the millennials in this thread sound identical to things you’ve heard from the mouths of your own millennial employees.

The problem of connecting generations is not an American problem, but a global problem. And whether you have a mom-and-pop shop or own an international powerhouse, you need to pay attention to the things your younger employees want from you in order to better connect with them. Getting it right with all your employees is the real key to company growth. So if you want to grow in 2019 (and I bet you do!) you need to learn and implement these four concepts in your workplace:

Millennials Want to Learn and Grow

Millennials want to learn from you, gain real skills, and grow their careers. They are looking for employers who can mentor and guide them or at the very least, make sure they’re getting the education and developmental support they crave.

If you’re not up for mentoring your employees (though I highly encourage you to be that for them) there are tons of resources you can provide them with instead. Earlier this year we talked about the eLearning Revolution. Allow them to sign up for webinars, online conferences, and even courses that will either further develop their skills for the role they have or help them move towards the job they want within your company. You can also send to in-person conferences, seminars, masterminds, networking groups, or workshops to support their professional development. Once a month we teach Strengths & Story here at launchbox – click here to send them to our next workshop. We can also come to your office and work with your team directly.

Millennials Want You to Be Real With Them

As digital natives, the average millennial can sniff out BS a mile away. They’ve seen it ALL. Every sales scheme, fake photo, doctored video, or piece of fake news out there. By default, they expect that people aren’t being honest with them – so it’s up to you to BE REAL!

Millennials want to know your real-deal vision for your company, your plans, goals, and how they specifically fit into that picture of the future. They want to know if there’s potential to grow with your company and if there is, if your vision for their role aligns with their own personal goals. Again, they want to learn and grow and need to know if your company is the place for them to do that. But they can only be sure of it if you get real with them and communicate authentically and transparently about where you’re going.

Millennials Want Great Feedback and Communication

Millennials want authentic feedback from you and clear communication about your expectations for them. They are trying to better themselves both to serve their own goals and yours, but they can’t do that if you’re not straight with them. Learn to deliver honest and consistent feedback daily and coach them to do the same for you. Yes, you deserve great feedback, too! Feedback is how we all learn and grow.

You also need to teach and model good communication skills for your millennial and gen z employees across all mediums: face-to-face, phone, email, and text. For some of your employees, your business might be their first “real job”. So don’t be surprised if they don’t communicate in a way that’s appropriate for the workplace. But it’s up to you to teach them! Don’t be the boss that gripes about them under your breath without doing anything to fix the problem. If you don’t help, then you’re PART of the problem!

Millennials Want Purpose and Contribution

Perhaps above all other things on this list, your millennial employees want to feel that their work has purpose and that they’re contributing in some way, whether it’s to your company or the world at large. For some companies, purpose and contribution are embedded into their very DNA. It’s easy to see who they serve, why they serve them, and how they’re making a difference. But for other companies, it’s not so clear-cut. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook though. Your millennial and gen z employees want purpose and contribution. And it’s up to you to give it to them or risk losing them to another company that will.

Not sure how to connect the who, what, why, and how of your company to topics of purpose and contribution for your employees? We can help. We can assist you in discovering and developing your personal story and by extension, your company’s story. When you know who you are and what you stand for, you can better articulate what your company is and what IT stands for. The clearer you can make the vision, the better you’ll be able to help your employees find their own purpose and contribution within your company. Because they’re right: the best way to motivate people and retain them, is to give them the sense that what they do actually matters.

 

Having trouble connecting the generations in your workplace? Reach out to us at launchbox to discuss how we can help!