A recent poll from Gallup found that millennials are the least engaged generation in the workplace, with only 29% saying they were engaged at work. This has resulted in high turnover rates as businesses struggle to retain young talent. While companies scramble for a solution, recent studies suggest the answer could be in a flexible working strategy, as three out of five millennials stated that work-life balance drives their career choices.
A New Way of Working
For many years, businesses have been operating in a hierarchical structure, communicating through a strict chain of command. Nowadays, forward-thinking CEOs believe in a different approach. Co-founder of Airbnb, Nathan Blecharczyk states that “creating a creative environment inspires a lot of employees to come and do their best work”. And it seems that this collaborative approach is favorable among millennials. A recent report found that 42% of millennials want feedback every week – more than twice the percentage of any other generation. What’s more, CEO of HCL Technologies, Vient Nayar believes that “[millennials] expect to work in communities of mutual interest and passion – not structured hierarchies”.
Arguably the most entrepreneurial CEO of them all, Richard Branson, Founder and CEO of the Virgin Group, believes strongly in this new way of working. To highlight the flaws of the old-fashioned approach, Branson held a 'corporate day' at the Virgin Group. This consisted of employees turning up at 9am, calling colleagues by Mr/Mrs, dressing in suits and having no access to any social media channels. The result was a "horrible experience for everybody” says Branson. He believes companies should promote more flexibility, allowing employees to work from home or part-time if they wish.
Driven by Purpose, Not Money
Nathan Blecharczyk suggests that millennials favor this new way of working because they are "known to be more purpose-driven”. According to a recent report entitled Millennial Talent 2015, 60% of millennials cite that a sense of purpose is part of the reason for choosing their current employer. By being purpose-driven, a flexible working environment allows millennials to use their initiative and self-motivation to deliver results. It’s for this reason that Steve Caplin, CEO coach, testifies that:
"If CEOs try and over control in the old way then millennials will walk, but if you can harness their ideas, passion and energy then that's going to power the future success of the company”.
Giving millennials responsibility and a purpose will keep them engaged, keep them at the company and keep you ahead of the competition.
Being the first generation to embrace a wireless, connected world, millennials are used to technology being an integral part of their lives – including in their career. According to a PwC report, millennials “expect the technologies that empower their personal lives to also drive communication and innovation in the workplace”. Described as “digital natives” by Tracy Benson, CEO of On the Same Page, millennials expect to use social networking, instant messaging, video conferencing and blogs in the workplace.
With a need for more flexible and creative working environments, purpose-driven millennials will shape the next generation of agile organizations. To keep up with these expectations, make sure your workplace is ready to support flexible working. From desk booking to video conferencing, flexible working technology can ensure millennials stay engaged and remain an integral part of your company’s future.