Dylan Ogline is serial entrepreneur and author known as a pervader of work and lifestyle optimizations. He is the founder of Ogline Digital.
Millennials have grown up in a world where work has become increasingly mobile and global, and corporate loyalty is no longer a clear-cut concept. While traditionalists might be stumped by the behavior of this generation, I believe millennials have definitely astonished their predecessors by being willing to look for greener pastures and staying loyal to their skills rather than to any one organization.
Objectively speaking, millennials are more likely to job-hop than their older counterparts, and their idea of corporate loyalty centers more around work-life balance, personal growth, meaningful work and financial security. From my perspective, it is not surprising, then, that they have been pushing the idea of what loyalty in the workplace means by striving to find positions that match their values more than any one given organization.
What Millennial Loyalty Is Made Of
Many millennials value career growth and self-improvement highly. In addition to this, millennials often seek positions in companies that will provide work-life balance and professional development opportunities. Of course, research indicates that millennials do value financial compensation as well, not just job stability or promotions. In fact, Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey (download required) found that pay is the No. 1 reason Generation Z and millennials left their jobs in the past two years.
All of these factors tell me that millennials’ loyalty lies more in the job itself rather than the organization. It also comes as no surprise to me that a clash of values can unfold in the workplace. The challenge is that some companies today lack the capabilities and resources to provide millennials with what they’re looking for. From my perspective, companies too often fail to invest in their people and focus on their products, which produces a disconnect between the corporate goals and the employee experience.
Millennials are caught in the perfect storm between the need for competitive salaries, career growth and people-first corporate cultures. This leaves them with no choice but to turn to other sources of work—or even become entrepreneurs—in order to meet their needs.
Earning Millennial Loyalty
Millennials are the largest segment in today’s workforce, which makes them an invaluable piece of any organization. Employers must carefully consider how to bridge the gap between management and millennials.
I believe the key to earning millennials’ loyalty is to create an environment that focuses on the importance of continuously developing and investing in employees. Companies should create enriching opportunities for their team, including flexible working hours and work-from-home arrangements.
In order to accommodate millennials’ preferences, companies should also consider offering competitive pay rates and pay raises as well as fringe benefits such as healthcare, paternity/maternity leave and vacation days. Managers can also try incorporating performance reviews at least twice a year in order to gain a better understanding of what motivates millennials and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
Finally, creating a culture of recognition could help foster loyalty with millennials. This should include communication, feedback and even rewards for a job well done. Companies should also strive to create a sense of community and support among their employees, which will further strengthen loyalty.
From my view, millennials have disrupted corporate loyalty conventions. Companies would be wise to focus on investing in their people. This means creating an atmosphere of growth, recognition and support. By doing so, companies stand a better chance of capturing millennials’ loyalty.
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