In 2016, Deloitte collected the points of view of nearly 7,700 Millennials representing 29 countries around the globe. All participants had been born after 1982, had obtained a college or university degree, were employed full-time, and predominantly worked in large (100+ employees) private-sector organisations.
We have said it already: Millennials represent an increasing share of the workforce. Moreover, they are no longer leaders of tomorrow; they are, increasingly, leaders of today. As such, understanding their views on how business works and how it should conduct itself goes beyond mere academic interest.
According to Deloitte’s Millennials survey, if given the choice, one in four Millennials would leave his or her current employer to join a new organisation or to do something different. That figure increases to 44 per cent when the time frame is expanded to two years. Why are they so eager to leave their organisations? By 2020, the research adds, 40 per cent of employees will be self-employed or entrepreneurs.
This ‘loyalty challenge’ is driven by a variety of factors. Millennials, in general:
• Feel under-utilised and believe they are not being developed as leaders or using their full potential in large-scale organisations. They express little loyalty to their current employers and many are planning near-term exits. Regardless of gender or geography, only 28 per cent of Millennials feel that their current organisations are making ‘full use’ of the skills they currently would like to offer. Millennials believe businesses are not doing enough to bridge the gap to ensure a new generation of business leaders is created.
• They think that businesses should be more ethical and society more focused. They share positive views of businesses’ role in society. Millennials feel that most businesses have no ambition beyond profit, and that there are distinct differences between what they believe the purpose of business should be and what they currently perceive it to be.
• Personal values have the greatest influence on Millennials’ decision-making. Millennials often put their personal values ahead of organisational goals, and several have shunned assignments (and potential employers) that conflict with their beliefs. Only when their personal values match with the organisation’s values do they say they would like to continue to work there.
• The values that support long-term business success are treatment of people, ethics, and customer focus. Deloitte asked Millennials, ‘What are the most important values a business should follow if it is to have long-term success?’ They responded that businesses should put employees first, and that they should have a solid foundation based on trust and integrity. Customer care and high-quality, reliable products also ranked relatively highly in importance. Attention to the environment and social responsibility were also mentioned by a significant number of Millennials. It is noteworthy that few (five per cent) of those answering thought profit-focused values would ensure long-term success.
• Millennials are not anti-profit profiles and recognise money-making as a vital component of business success. They would simply advise against placing too much emphasis on short-term profit maximisation.
The link between Millennials’ loyalty and their feelings about business is not a coincidence. Large-scale organisations are not able to respond sufficiently to Millennials’ preferences. Companies need to be more agile, innovative and inclusive to recover the current deficits in the organisational culture. Thus, those organisations that ‘do the right thing’ may be less likely to lose their Millennial employees. Learning, listening, empowering and sharing are the key actions for them.
Next, we’ll look closer at the generation that follows.