And the survey says… what Millennials think about their companies, managers

While the older of the Millennial Generation are in their thirties and assuming management responsibilities, mentorship (and authority) still largely flows from senior management to middle management. As a result, Deloitte research shows that only one in five Millennials say they are “satisfied” at work. The polled group included 7,806 global interviews with college graduates born after January 1983 who now have fulltime employment. Three-quarters worked in organizations employing at least 100 people, while 78 percent were employed by private-sector businesses. The findings of Deloitte’s research suggest reasons why job-hopping has become a new and accepted professional sport within this cohort – and what companies can do to counteract that trend.

On the whole, Deloitte summarizes, “Millennials view leadership in a way that runs contrary to how they feel their current leadership teams operate, signaling a ‘leadership gap’ between what Millennials would prioritize if they led their organizations and where they believe their senior leadership teams are currently focused.”

In fact, only 10% of the Millennials surveyed felt that it was a positive trait for a manager to be “driven by financial results”. Most preferred managers who exhibited strong strategic thinking skills and/or were inspirational – leadership traits that encourage followership. Vision, passion, and enthusiasm were rated highly, while an autocratic leadership style clearly turned this generation off.

However, Millennials admit there was a disconnect for them from the softer skills they perfected in college and the technical skills they need to learn to fully participate and contribute in the workplace. Notes Deloitte, “Millennials agree that when they left college, they did not offer the full range of skills, personal qualities, and experience for which today’s businesses are looking.” If there is a silver lining, it is this: the awareness that one needs training opens the door for positive mentorship opportunities.

That’s great, but what’s too often missing is the converse: appreciation of the sensibilities that this cohort brings with it into the workplace. Asking Millennials what corporate practices or changes would go the furthest toward improving job satisfaction, Deloitte identified four areas: technology, skill alignment, innovation and empowering work-life fit and employee wellness. These interests represent their skill set as well as their mindset. Soliciting this generation’s input on company technology solutions, cross-functional collaboration or advanced training opportunities, and giving them team leadership roles in helping identify new markets or product lines – or in finding better ways to operate within the current market – would, Deloitte suggests, go a long way toward improving engagement.

The best approach, then, for retention might be to fully explore cross-directional mentorship opportunities, from senior management for technical and hard skills training, and from this newer generation with regard to social purpose and business philosophies.

After all the survey results are in, the bottom line is pretty clear: Millennials are now becoming clients as well as employees. Meeting their needs and benefitting from their talents and insights is just smart business.

About Jody Glynn Patrick

Jody is President of Glynn Patrick & Associates, which provides management consulting, executive coaching and strategic planning services. She is Publisher Emeritus of In Business magazine, which she published for 17 years. Selected as the “U.S. Business Journalist of the Year” in 2007 in Washington, DC, by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Jody has been a business reporter, editor, radio talk show host , and has won other state and national journalism awards. At the same time, she has helped corporate clients grow their businesses -- the basis for her practical coaching advice here. She also was the 2005 Athena Award recipient for her leadership role in mentoring other professional women. Jody will be talking with you weekly on TDS’ blog to share her insights and tips from the C-Suite perspective. Follow on G+.

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