There is no denying that millennials have a very different work-style than that of their senior generations. Some chalk it up to laziness or a sense of entitlement. A common perception is that millennials refuse to work as hard as their parents had to in order to build a career.
While it’s unfair to paint the entire millennial generation with this exaggerated view of work ethic, it has been suggested that the problem does not solely lie on the shoulders of a young generation. It might have to do with the differences in efficiency within the workplace. Older workers, in general, may take a little longer to get the hang of new software programs, whereas millennials were raised with a keyboard at their fingertips.
What Causes It?
In a study by Udemy, the following was found to be true of workers, as it relates to workplace boredom: millennials, aged 21-24, were more likely to be bored at work (38 percent) than baby boomers (22 percent), aged 55-75.
The report also found out that employees who experience boredom in the workplace are more likely to quit their job for another opportunity or simply job hop within the next several months. The important thing to note is that the reason for this may not be because they are irresponsible. On the contrary, it might be that they are so efficient that they finish their work in record time and do not know what to do when they are finished.
Those who have been raised with technology are used to adjusting to the efficiency of the latest programs and software. It is easier for them to figure out how to work smarter versus working harder.
Here's the Problem
This has become a problem for employers on both sides of the coin. The more efficient workers have a hard time staying engaged and feeling challenged, so they fill their downtime with social media or taking strolls around the office. When an employee who is less efficient sees this behavior, it is difficult for them to maintain motivation and self-confidence. How can an employer satisfy both types of workers?
That said, another study revealed that a whopping 64 percent of millennials would prefer to bring in only $40,000 per year doing a job that they are passionate about than getting paid $100,000 for a job that does not interest them.
These numbers do not sound too bad for an employer. If you could pay an employee less for a role that challenges them, you would have a happy employee and a happy budget. The key to engaging and retaining an employee, who tends to be more efficient, is basing the assessment on how challenged they feel and their boredom level, as well as offering fair compensation.
Learning Opportunities for Millennials
According to Udemy, 80 percent of surveyed employees said that they would be more engaged in their jobs if they were able to learn new skills. By providing learning opportunities for their staff members, employers would be doing a lot of good within their organization. Not only would they see employees’ confidence rise with their new challenges and growth in skill set, but the employer would be applauded for pouring into the people who make the organization run.
Udemy’s report also revealed that the biggest reason for employee boredom was directly related to the lack of learning opportunities. With these offerings, employers can redirect the employees’ downtime to doing something productive, that would ultimately make them more valuable to themselves, as well as the company.
Darren Shimkus, the vice president and general manager of Udemy for Business, notes that employers need to remember that their employees are human beings, who are always evolving in their interests and goals. Employers would do well to combine employees’ interests outside of the workplace with training that would benefit them within their role at the company, as well. Many people would be thrilled to improve themselves. For example, some would love to be able to speak more confidently in a public setting; a public speaking training could easily be offered within an organization and would raise an employees’ self-worth.
In this scenario, the employer and the employee both win. The employer has found a way to keep a highly efficient worker engaged, and the employee feels challenged while developing a new skill set. This could prove beneficial in the future, as well, where the employee may have the chance to shift into a new position, utilizing what he or she has learned.
Decrease Working Hours
One solution to keep an efficient worker at a company could be to reduce the number of working hours per day. For example, Stephan Aarstol, the CEO of Tower Paddle Boards, moved all of his staff members to a shortened workday of only five hours. He believes that a lot has changed in the last two decades with regards to the knowledge workers have and that they are now four times more efficient than they used to be.
The business director at Tower Magazine (Tower Paddle Boards’ publication), Courtney Russell, thinks that those who spend a traditional eight hours sitting at their desks could complete all of their work within as little as five hours. That is if they spent those short hours focusing intently on what they were trying to accomplish.
Many people are realizing that it is important to create a work-life balance. Tower Paddle Boards are encouraging this concept by giving employees additional time outside of the workplace to pursue other interests. This complements the highly efficient millennials’ work-style quite nicely.
Alex Resnick, director at Sunglasses By Tower, acknowledges that time is something we need to cherish. It is important for companies to recognize this and give their employees the opportunity to have a life outside of the office. It will ultimately boost morale and create company loyalty.
Other companies should see the positive effects of Tower’s schedule and take a page out of their book. If employers would open their minds to a different way of working, perhaps their business could change for the better.
While not every industry can easily shift to a five-hour workday, the concept is intriguing and seems to be working well for Tower. Instead of measuring an employee’s work in hours, the company is looking at the overall output and the end result. Employees can get all of their work finished within the shortened day and still put a good chunk of each day toward something else they care about deeply.
What Can You Do?
Of course, not all bored millennials are efficient, but this is definitely the case for some. If companies were to offer more learning opportunities or shorter days, perhaps they will see a positive change with the quality of work and employee morale. At the very least, it is worth taking a deeper look.
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