millennial employees

Our June roundup of HR news hones in on Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace, financial wellness, flexibility bias, and more. Dive in!

Embrace Change for Millennials

Millennials now make up more than one-third of the U.S. labor force. And according to a recent Mashable article, they get frustrated when faced with the "We've always done it that way" mantra. They don't want to work in a rigid environment that's reluctant to change and that doesn't embrace current times and trends. "You've got these millennials with so many skills, niche skills and experiences, that aren't being put to work because there's so much structure around old ways of working that are still so prevalent right now," Emma Gannon, author of The Multi-Hyphen Method, told Mashable. How is your organization embracing change and working with Millennial employees? Are you looking to the future?

Will Your Culture Attract Generation Z?

As Gen Z grew up, mobile phones, social media, tablets, laptops, and all things digital were front and center...and consequently, their skills in the digital space are unmatched. As this generation makes its way into the workforce, how are those skills being leveraged? How should organizations adapt to fit younger employees' needs? According to a recent CMS Wire article, technology is key. "Companies need to embrace new technologies, whether that's augmented technology that allows employers to join meetings via holograms or telepresence instead of Skype as well as video walls that allow for data visualization," said Pushpa Gowda, global technology engagement director at JLL.

Employee Wellbeing Includes Financial Wellness, Too

Today's employees want to know how to manage their money. And that doesn't just mean saving for retirement they want help with budgeting, advice on student loan repayment, tips on purchasing a home, and more. According to a 2017 Prudential Financial Inc. survey cited in a recent SHRM article, 83 percent of employers offer financial wellness programs, up 63 percent from 2015. And 49 percent of survey participants (decision-makers for group insurance benefits at U.S. businesses with 100+ full-time employees) say that these programs led to increased employee satisfaction, while 41 percent noted an increase in employee productivity. Have you added a financial wellness program to your benefits package?

Make Sure Good Ideas Don't Get Lost

Often, an organization's success depends on its employees' creativity and their willingness to contribute new ideas. But according to a recent Harvard Business Review article, if your idea submission process is complicated and time-consuming, it'll be hard to keep those innovative thoughts flowing. This was exactly the case for Israeli electro-optics company, Elop. So, in 2007, division leader Joseph Golan decided to implement a new system. His goal was to eliminate employees' fear of making mistakes and give them appropriate resources by developing a simple intranet platform. This led to greater transparency and fair assessment. And employees no longer had to worry about pitching their ideas, either their managers took care of that step for them. Over a period of seven years, Golan's division 430 employees submitted more than 5,000 ideas, over 70 percent of which were implemented. And by 2015, these ideas resulted in millions of dollars in savings, more efficient employees, and a dramatically different culture.

When Flexibility Hurts Employees' Careers

Working moms need flexibility...but they aren't the only ones! Everyone benefits from it, whether they need to take a pet to the vet, attend a wedding or religious event, or go to the dentist. But not everyone feels comfortable utilizing it and some actually feel that doing so can ruin their careers. According to a recent survey cited in a Harvard Business Review article, this flexibility bias leads to unhappy even depressed employees who are more likely to say they'll quit in the future. "Even men who don't have kids and who have never taken family leave or worked flexibly are harmed when they see flexibility bias in their workplaces," wrote the author. If you're worried this is plaguing your employees, take a closer look at who actually uses your flexibility policies...and how often. If you notice a red flag, encourage your higher-ups to lead by example when employees see senior management taking advantage of flexibility, they'll feel less anxious about doing so, too.  

Written by: Jeannie Krill

About the Author

Jeannie Krill at Bright Horizons

As a former Bright Horizons preschool teacher, Jeannie has seen what child care means to clients firsthand. She also offers a view from the Millennials camp, cluing us into what’s challenging today’s largest demographic, and what they really want. She holds a BA in Psychology from Valparaiso University.