November 8, 2016
Work-life balance is especially crucial to millennials, with nearly six in 10 members of this generation (57 percent) saying that work-life balance and well-being in a job are “very important” to them. What’s more, millennials — whose propensity for technology has the potential to keep them constantly tethered to work emails and projects — care a lot about having a job that actively promotes their well-being. Results from the US-based Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey shows that millennials are more likely than those of other generations to be thriving in physical well-being and are improving in key areas of health. But it also shows that employees who are thriving in all five elements of well-being are 81 percent less likely than those thriving only in physical well-being to seek out a new employer in the next year. These findings are particularly compelling, considering that millennials are the most likely generation to job-hop.
Gallup and Healthways define and measure well-being in terms of five elements:
- Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
- Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
- Financial: Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
- Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
- Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily
In each of these five elements, individuals can be “thriving,” “struggling” or “suffering,” depending on how they answer several questions related to each facet of well-being in their lives.
Unfortunately, the research found that millennials (born between 1980 and 1996) are the generation least likely to be thriving in all five elements of well-being. A mere 5 percent of working millennials are thriving across all five elements, and less than 40 percent of working millennials are thriving in any one element of well-being. Across all generations, just 7 percent are thriving in all five elements.
To greatly improve millennial workers’ well-being, companies need to better understand the contributing factors behind this generation’s low well-being, even as its members thrive in physical well-being.
For starters, only 29 percent of millennials strongly agree that they feel comfortable discussing life outside of work with their manager. When managers are open to conversations about life outside of work, they can more than double the likelihood that their millennial workers will be engaged in their jobs.
In fact, Gallup finds that 59 percent of millennial employees who strongly agree that they can talk with their manager about “non-work-related issues” are engaged at work. Well-being and employee engagement — both powerful performance drivers — go hand in hand and can build on one another.
Further, 62 percent of millennials who feel they can talk with their manager about non-work-related issues say they plan to be with their current organization one year from now — illustrating the power of meaningful manager-employee relationships. This dynamic can improve the likelihood of retaining millennial workers for the next 12 months by more than 50 percent, as only one in two millennials, on average, plan to be with their company one year from now.
Results are based on data collected as part of the national Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey. A total of 34,087 working millennials were included in the analysis.