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Millennials: How They Live and Work

Millennials: How They Live and Work

People often ask Gallup, "Are millennials really that different?"

The answer is yes -- profoundly so. Millennials will change the world decisively more than any other generation.

As this report shows, millennials will continue to disrupt how the world communicates -- how we read and write and relate. Millennials are disrupting retail, hospitality, real estate and housing, transportation, entertainment and travel, and they will soon radically change higher education.

Millennials are altering the very social fabric of America and the world. They're waiting longer to get married and have children, and they're less likely than other generations to identify with specific religions or political parties.

Defined by their lack of attachment to institutions and traditions, millennials change jobs more often than other generations -- more than half say they're currently looking for a new job.

Millennials are changing the very will of the world. So we, too, must change.

Gallup is recommending that our client partners change their organizational cultures this year from old will to new will. Below are six functional changes.

1. Millennials don't just work for a paycheck -- they want a purpose. For millennials, work must have meaning. They want to work for organizations with a mission and purpose. Back in the old days, baby boomers like me didn't necessarily need meaning in our jobs. We just wanted a paycheck -- our mission and purpose were 100% our families and communities. For millennials, compensation is important and must be fair, but it's no longer the driver. The emphasis for this generation has switched from paycheck to purpose -- and so must your culture.

2. Millennials are not pursuing job satisfaction -- they are pursuing development. Most millennials don't care about the bells and whistles found in many workplaces today -- the pingpong tables, fancy latte machines and free food that companies offer to try to create job satisfaction. Giving out toys and entitlements is a leadership mistake, and worse, it's condescending. Purpose and development drive this generation.

3. Millennials don't want bosses -- they want coaches. The role of an old-style boss is command and control. Millennials care about having managers who can coach them, who value them as both people and employees, and who help them understand and build their strengths.

4. Millennials don't want annual reviews -- they want ongoing conversations. The way millennials communicate -- texting, tweeting, Skype, etc. -- is now real-time and continuous. This dramatically affects the workplace because millennials are accustomed to constant communication and feedback. Annual reviews no longer work.

5. Millennials don't want to fix their weaknesses -- they want to develop their strengths. Gallup has discovered that weaknesses never develop into strengths, while strengths develop infinitely. This is arguably the biggest discovery Gallup or any organization has ever made on the subject of human development in the workplace. Organizations shouldn't ignore weaknesses. Rather, they should minimize weaknesses and maximize strengths. We are recommending our client partners transition to strengths-based cultures, or they won't attract and keep their stars.

6. It's not just my job -- it's my life. One of Gallup's most important discoveries is that everyone in the world wants a good job. This is especially true for millennials. More so than ever in the history of corporate culture, employees are asking, "Does this organization value my strengths and my contribution? Does this organization give me the chance to do what I do best every day?" Because for millennials, a job is no longer just a job -- it's their life as well.

The Change in Leadership
My Paycheck My Purpose
My Satisfaction My Development
My Boss My Coach
My Annual Review My Ongoing Conversations
My Weaknesses My Strengths
My Job My Life


Jim Clifton is Chairman of Gallup.

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