September 9, 2015
Almost one third of millennial staff (29 percent) claim that a higher salary is the biggest contributor to their loyalty, despite only 20 percent of the broader American workforce reporting the same; the Staples Advantage Workplace Index, a study of office workers in the US and Canada claims. US office workers consider title and work responsibilities (38 percent) and work-life balance (30 percent) as leading contributors to their loyalty, but Millennials favour less traditional benefits including more flexibility; generous office amenities, such as gyms; a company which promotes and supports sustainable practices; a more sociable working environment with plenty of breaks; and finally, lots of positive feedback from their direct line manager. Unsurprisingly, unlike other generations of workers, Millennials say that the use of social media enhances rather than detracts from their productivity.
The majority of millennials (70 percent) expect to be in a management position in the next five years, compared to 48 percent of the broader workforce. With more millennials expected to rise to management positions in the coming years, the following non-traditional benefits will continue to become more prominent in US workplaces.
- Flexibility where and when they work: Over half of millennials report they work from home after the standard work day is done, compared to only 39 percent of all US office workers. Given this, it is no surprise that millennials say more flexibility will improve their happiness (49 percent) and their productivity (59 percent).
- Office perks promote positive culture: Office perks, such as a gym on site, a well-stocked breakroom, and free lunches, are valuable to millennials. One in five (21 percent) define a good work culture as a place that offers incentives and perks, and nearly half (46 percent) say more office perks would improve their happiness.
- Eco-friendliness appeals to altruistic millennials: Eco-friendly practices in the workplace can provide benefits not only for the environment, but for recruiting millennials as well. When making an employment decision, half of all millennials say an eco-friendly company is important, compared to only 35 percent of the broader workforce.
- Improved breakroom and encouraged break time: Over a third of millennials (34 percent) say they feel like they can’t take a break because of guilt, compared to only 22 percent of all U.S. office workers. However, over half of millennials (62 percent) say having a break time to refresh would increase their productivity. Millennials also say a well-stocked breakroom leads to happier employees (57 percent), less stress (35 percent), more productive employees (35 percent), and a more social environment (33 percent).
- Trust in leadership and relationship with direct boss: Millennials that are not expecting to change jobs note that trust in leadership and trust in their direct boss contributes to their loyalty. In addition, one in five millennials report that their direct boss motivates them to do their best work, and over a third (35 percent) note that strong leadership defines a good work culture. Feedback from their boss is also important to this generation. Nearly one third of millennials (28 percent) say feeling appreciated contributes to their loyalty and 26 percent say recognition motivates them to do their best at work.
“Millennials are becoming the largest demographic in the U.S. workforce – about one third of all workers – so it’s critical for employers to understand how to attract and retain millennial talent,” said John Burke, senior vice president, chief culture officer, Staples, Inc.
“Our Workplace Index found that contrary to popular belief, salary is important to millennials, just as it is to older workers.” The survey also revealed that flexibility and office perks are key to retaining to millennials.
The survey found that Millennials seem to be less concerned with technology issues than the broader employee base. While 72 percent of all US office workers say poorly performing technology decreases their productivity, only 56 percent of millennials reported the same. In addition, 49 percent of millennials say limited IT support will decrease productivity, compared to 62 percent of all U.S. office workers.
Millennials are also social media natives, and as such, it does not seem to negatively impact their productivity. In fact, they say the use of social networking sites/tools (28 percent) and apps that track to-do lists (42 percent) actually increase their productivity.
When asked how employers can help employees combat overwork and burnout, the majority of the broader employee base (54 percent) said employers should decrease their workload or provide more time to complete tasks, compared to only 42 percent of millennials. This could be due to millennials having grown up in the digital age where the always-on mentality has dominated, so their threshold for information overload is a bit higher.