An Open Letter to Businesses Everywhere: Signed Yours Truly, The Millennials and Generation Z

Contrary to popular belief, Millennials and Z-ers do want to work, they just don’t want to work the way their parents did.

Image courtesy of Stocksnap.io via Burst Photography

Dear Businesses Everywhere –

We hate to point it out, but you have to get with the times or you will never get back the loyalty of the 40 year employee.

Almost half the millennial workforce polled wants to quit their job sometime in the next 24 months, according to The 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey. It is a fact that the two aforementioned generations change jobs more often than any generation ever before. Instead of assuming that means they’re lazy or hard to appease, I challenge you to ask yourself why they’re leaving jobs at unprecedented rates.

It could be a number of things, such as, but not limited to: no flexibility allowed in their work schedule, nonsensical requirements for a low salary (no, your ‘entry level’ $25,000/year job should not require a master’s degree), hostile work environments, and poor work-life balance.

Image courtesy of Stocksnap.io via Tim Gouw Photography

What they want:

  1. They want to work remotely – working remotely offers many benefits for the employee, but also for the company. A company will save money by not having to expand buildings or pay for all the toilet flushes, lights, heat, AC, desks, refrigeration units in the breakrooms…you get the gist, if you have fewer employees working in an office space you’re going to save money. Millennials want to work remotely so bad that they’re willing to take a pay cut for it because they value work-life balance and their mental health: they have kids, they have pets, they want to be able to work in a productive space that they are comfortable in.
  2. They want livable wages – please save the “back in my day” speeches of how in 1960 you worked for $2 an hour full time as a grocery store clerk fresh out of high school. Why? Let me tell you: your $2 per hour is equivalent to $17.33 per hour in 2019, due to inflation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, today’s prices in 2019 are 766.75% higher than average prices throughout 1960. A lot of job postings today brag about how you can work full time for them for $14 an hour as a customer service representative as long as you have a bachelor’s degree. You see the disconnect, yes?
  3. They want you to let them do their jobs – I truly do believe that no one actually enjoys being micromanaged, but unlike their predecessors, Millennials are vocal about their dislike of it with HR and management. Instead of gossiping by the water cooler with Barbara and Jan about your ridiculous boss micromanaging your team, Millennials will ask for it to be addressed; if it’s not fixed, they’ll just quit.
  4. They want a job that provides a flexible schedule because they’re burnt out – “Millennials aren’t lazy, they’re workaholics”. You have to remember, this is the generation that graduated high school and college in the middle of the worst recession since The Great Depression. They saw their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. lose absolutely everything. They don’t want to become those people. So what do they do? They work themselves into the ground and then become burnt out.
  5. They want you to trust them – There is nothing worse than a boss looking you square in the face and them telling you that they don’t trust you. Millennials want you to trust them to bring you the results you’re looking for, rather than be babied or smothered by overbearing, unnecessary procedure; they want you to believe in them so that they can believe in you. Businesses don’t realize that when they don’t trust their employees, their employees won’t trust them. Much like respect, trust is a two way street.

Millennials and Generation Z’ers want to work, but they’re also not willing to compromise their values for a workplace. Businesses need to take note, because as seen so frequently in these generations, if they don’t like your workplace, they’ll just start their own.

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