Millennials & Engagement: It’s Complicated

Like the interaction of pay and engagement, the issue of generational impact on engagement is also complicated. Millennials tend to be lumped into buckets based simply on their birth date, but, as is true for most people, what lies beneath the surface is always more complex. In our engagement studies, we’ve seen millennial profiles that are textbook, aligning with every stereotype written about this generation. In other organizations, with the same demographics, the results look very different. However, three items were consistent in our generational analysis.

1. Millennials give lower scores for engagement, especially loyalty

As indicated in the chart below, the youngest employees provide the lowest scores for enagment, and engagement increases in a linear fashion across generational topics. This pattern was true for every company we tested. Within individual organizations, Millennial scores were an average of four points lower than those provided by Generation X employees, and 15 points lower than marks from Baby Boomers.

Loyalty, a sub-component of engagement, follows the same pattern, with Millennials giving scores an average of eight points lower than Generation X, and 17 points lower than Baby Boomers.

2. But, they’re often equally likely to recommend your company

While lower engagement and lower loyalty scores are recorded for younger employees, Millennials often provide recommendation scores that are equally as high as those of their GenX and Boomer counterparts. In fact, for one organization in our sample, Millennials had the highest recommendation score of all generations, despite having the lowest loyalty score. This suggests that Millennials may be willing to recommend their place of employment to others, even if they themselves are open to other opportunities.

3. For employers looking to improve engagement among Millennials, focus on training and professional development.

Team member development was a driver for Millennials at every organization we analyzed, accounting for an average of 32% of the drivers for Millennials. While questions varied by company, they included such items as “New employees are trained adequately;” “My supervisor provides regular feedback;” and “I am aware of training opportunities.” From our qualitative analysis of comments, Millennials suggest that a focus on training and development serves three functions:

– It provides a more seamless transition for new hires, helping them to assimilate into the company culture and understand what is expected of them.

– It communicates a willingness to invest in the employee

– It contributes to more long-term stability.

Investing in employees by providing the training they need to be successful can pay off ultimately in higher loyalty and engagement scores, particularly for the youngest employees in your workforce.

Considering an Employee Engagement study for your company?

The business case for employee engagement is salient—and IQS Research is here to help.

While many research companies offer a one-size-fits-all approach to assessing employee engagement, our data collection process is tailored to meet your organization’s needs. Drawing from a portfolio of validated questions and applying cutting-edge methodologies, we gather candid feedback to provide actionable insights so that your organization can own your tomorrow.

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