I sat watching in horror as my older colleague slowly worked away on a laptop with the inefficient “two-finger peck” typing style. Most millennials can relate to this experience. Maybe it wasn’t slow typing, but instead, an inability to quickly navigate programs that are native to young workers. How in the world are older workers able to be as efficient as we are?
While broad strokes are never an accurate for an entire generation, I will suggest that part of the perception problem of millennials being lazy and unwilling to pay their dues is in fact correlated with a difference in workplace efficiency.
According to a recent study released by Udemy, young millennials (ages 21-24) are nearly twice as likely to be bored at work (38%) than Baby Boomers (22%).
Udemy’s report found that bored employees are twice as likely to leave or job hop in the next three to six months. Millennials aren’t necessarily bored because they are neglecting responsibilities. In fact, they may be so efficient or tech savvy that they complete their work faster than their peers and find themselves with extra time.
Young adults who have grown up with technology are often more capable of finding ways to automate their work. In a way, they’re working smarter, not harder.
This wave of efficient but bored employees has created a real problem for employers. How do you keep a less efficient employee motivated while they watch someone else wander around the office or browse social media with their extra hours? Further, how do you keep an efficient employee engaged and challenged so they don’t leave?
The news isn’t all bad though. According to Intelligence Group, 64% of millennials said they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.
Pay millennials less and challenge them more? You bet. While it may not be the best move, the statistics speak for themselves. The sweet spot of efficiency, employee engagement and retainment is where a talented employee is frequently assessed for boredom and challenge level, but is still adequately compensated for their work.
Challenge Millennial Employees By Offering Learning Opportunities
“Overwhelmingly, 80% of employees surveyed agree that learning new skills at work would make them more interested and engaged in their jobs,” shared Darren Shimkus, VP and General Manager of Udemy for Business, an online learning and teaching marketplace. “Employers should capitalize on that willingness to learn by providing opportunities for employees to be challenged and rewarded, and enjoy a sense of growth and momentum.”
According to Udemy’s report, bored employees stated the most prominent reason they were bored is due to the lack of opportunity to learn new skills. Employers can drive employee satisfaction with all that extra time that efficient millennial employees have by offering tailored learning opportunities for their staff.
“Remember that your employees are human beings rather that static resources, with interests and goals that will evolve over time,” continued Shimkus. “Listen closely and offer cross training tailored to those interests outside their current role too. The sky’s the limit here, but a lot of employees would jump at the chance to learn how to improve their presentation skills, feel more confident through body language, have a better memory, be a more successful negotiator, etc.”
It’s a win-win for both the employer and employee when learning opportunities are offered to highly efficient staff. The work that needs to get done is accomplished, while the staff is happier to learn more. In the future, those employees can be tapped for their new skills, as well as their old skills.