Let’s get this out of the way right away: no generation gets bashed by other generations more than millennials. Google it, ask a friend, look yourself in the mirror and admit it: it’s true.
What’s also true is that millennials, like every generation that has come before, have shifted our world of work for the better. We’re benefiting from the millennial shift, as will future generations.
The millennial shift
The millennial shift refers to the displacement of the Generation X workforce (39 to 54-year olds) by millennials (23 to 38-year olds) that began around 2017. Millennials are now occupying over 20% of leadership roles and nearly 40% of the total workforce. Although many improvements to our world of work were set in motion decades ago, today’s millennial workforce are accelerating specific improvements.
Five important shifts
So, how is the world of work improving because of the millennial shift? More than ever, today’s workforce is:
Expecting meaningful work
When we experience our work as meaningful, we’re more satisfied with our work, and research shows that higher work satisfaction is correlated to higher work performance. The most successful companies are now focused on creating a meaningful work experience.
Successful prosecution of workplace discrimination is increasing. Although many barriers remain, our workplaces are more diverse than ever. Any obvious lack of diversity is an immediate turn-off for today’s top talent.
Seeking deeper connections with coworkers
Initiatives to combat workplace loneliness, and understand work as our primary connection to our greater social context, have been the subject of recent research. Today, we expect the workplace to be a catalyst for off-the-job social relationships.
Being able to contribute to wellbeing through our work is often our greatest motivation to succeed. The rise of benefit corporations and the focus on CSR ratings (corporate social responsibility) ratings shows how employers are responding to our demands for sustainability and community engagement.
Expecting employers to do what they say
For decades, one of the top complaints about leaders has been that their actions are not aligned with their words. We’re calling that out like never before and companies are quick to respond when their leaders shatter trust.
In steps Eric Termuende
When Eric Termuende (pronounced ter-mun-day) finished his commerce degree in 2014, he already had an impressive CV: Vice President of a large student union, a leader in his university’s business club, and elected as class ambassador. And in 2014, the world of work said that it wanted to attract the best, new talent. But Eric and his cohort were experiencing a disconnect between what companies said they wanted and how those companies were trying to get it.
When I interviewed Eric, he said, “We all heard how companies wanted our tech-savvy, our entrepreneurialism, and passion for making a difference. But I didn’t experience a world of work that reflected those desires.” And, when someone finally got an interview after applying for a hundred different jobs, they were often subjected to a bureaucratic and zestless selection process. Eric saw the disconnect between what the world of work was saying and what it was doing.
In his first book, Rethink Work: Finding & Keeping the Right Talent, Eric Termuende tackles that disconnect head-on. “The company didn’t tell the real story of what it was like to work there,” Eric writes when discussing why many people quit a job within the first 3 years.
Rethink Work provides an engaging account of what new workforce entrants were craving in 2014. But the fact that some of those expectations have been operationalized into today’s best places to work (see the Five Important Shifts, above) further supports Termuende’s insight.
Rethink Work includes insights from the next generation of workers who want to work at a company “with a mission that sounds like our own,” and want to work with “co-workers we like and might even go for a beer with or a hike after work.”
Eric’s now of work
In Rethink Work, Eric Termuende makes his case for continuing the conversation about work, “we need to change the way we talk about work and what it means.”
Eric has changed the conversation about work. He still has a lot to say, and a lot of people want to hear him say it. Although he is often asked to speak about attracting and retaining the next generation of top talent, his insight into the impact of technology, and on optimizing the employee experience, is valued by some of the biggest and best places to work. Eric’s speaking career puts him on the road over 150 days a year. Speaking about work is a full-time job.
When I asked Eric if there are three things he’d like to tell Work Feels Good readers about the future of work, here’s what he said:
- The future of work is something that we are creating today. If we want a different future, we need to do something different today.
- Because change in the workplace is happening faster than before, we need to respond faster than before.
- Organizations will thrive when they focus internally and create a unique employee experience, rather than externally and try to mimic the latest workplace trend.
What’s next for Eric Termuende
More speaking and publishing another book are what’s next for Eric Termuende. What’s the new book about? That’s Eric’s secret project and you can find out more on his website. I’m hoping to find out more when I see him present in Calgary next week at the Liftoff Workplace Culture Symposium.
How has your workplace shifted? What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the last 5 years? Please let me know by leaving a comment, below. Or, you can connect with me and comment on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Also, please share this article with your family, friends, and coworkers.
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