Organizations are continuously trying to understand the millennial mindset, particularly when it comes to how they perceive the workplace.
A recent study found that millennials are happier at their jobs..
The study, conducted in Britain, found that one in six workers over 35 said they were unhappy, which is more than double the figure for those under 35. It’s safe to assume that the threshold age of 35 is a time when work/life balance issues often come into play and “living to work” transitions into “working to live.”
Because millennials seek fulfillment in the workplace, they are often faced with a certain amount of burnout due to unrealistic expectations. A simple Google search of “millennials and happiness” results in multiple articles offering ways to keep millennials happy at work. Regardless of why millennials have higher or more unrealistic expectations than their older coworkers, organizations are prioritizing their happiness to attract and maintain talent. While it’s necessary for organizations to consider how their culture is perceived by employees, it begs the question: Are we treating the symptoms instead of the disease? Millennials might respond to certain perks that distinguish one organization from another to increase happiness but the mysterious root cause of millennial discontent still remains.
Today, the only constant is stimulation – we are practically guided through life by the light of our smartphones. What can older workers teach millennials about approaching work in a way that might offer them more fulfillment?
1. Beware of the filter
Saturating your brain with the well-crafted display of your peers’ successes via social media platforms will only take your expectations to a more unrealistic place. Instead, focus on what you can control and improve in your real life and set attainable goals that you can celebrate with the person you see in the mirror, not behind the screen.
2. Yes isn’t always best
It’s ok to say no sometimes; taking on too much doesn’t just overload your schedule, it complicates your life. If millennials make participation choices based on the impact they are trying to build and the goals they are hoping to reach, it might make for a more fulfilling outcome.
3. Keep things simple
It’s important to know, fundamentally, that the information that surrounds us will never stop. Newsfeeds, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter saturate our brains with constant chatter, which is the enemy of a clear, calm mind. While it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all of the information constantly available to us, taking the day one email, problem and personal interaction at a time could be useful.
While it’s often assumed that millennials are illuminating new information and ways to be more efficient for an older generation, the opposite is also true. Older employees can teach millennials to approach work in a different way so that they might remain satisfied on a deeper level. We’ll continue to examine the minds of millennials in our blog series and include more studies, like those we referenced today from the UK. In your experience, how might these results differ in American organizations?