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Millennials and Employee Engagement

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As I travel and speak with CEO’s around the country I hear a lot about their struggles with the newest entrants to the labor pool – the so-called Millennials. Their needs and expectations are different than the generations before them. According to some of the recent research Millennials expect, among other things to:

• Be promoted within 18 months
• Receive a 63% pay raise in the first 5 years
• Maintain a work-life balance by sticking to a 40 hour workweek

One item that caught my eye in a USA Today article was the following, “Millennials understand that there’s a good chance your employer won’t be around in 10 years, and if it is, you won’t be working for it, no matter how much face time you clock.” All of this to point out how “stupid” it would be to invest a lot of extra effort in their employer. The essential issue here is loyalty, and it appears to be in short demand among our youngest co-workers.

The answer? When loyalty is not concomitant with the paycheck, organizational leaders will have to earn it, every day. Clearly, having a High Performance Culture will deliver valuable dividends as the higher levels of employee engagement will create the points of connection that do deliver loyalty and commitment. Taking workers – of any generation – for granted is a strategic business error and a price will be paid. “Workers” are actually people; they have emotional needs and cognitive expectations. There’s no mystery here, so let’s get on with the most important business value issue of this decade – creating High Performance Organizational Cultures.

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