Retaining Talent – Meaningful Work

According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2016, 44% of Millennials are willing to leave their current employer for a new organization or to do something different within the next two years. Two in three expect to leave by 2020.

To put it even simpler –  Millennials are perennial job-hoppers who don’t have any real allegiance to their companies. However, if you look at the other way, many companies aren’t giving Millennials much reason to stay. And this issue may not be so neatly tied to a only Millennials.

Who Doesn’t Want Meaningful Work?

Overwhelmingly, Millennials say they are looking for meaningful work. They want to do work with a purpose for organizations that have a strong mission and culture grounded in making a difference. If they can’t find that where they are, they’re going to keep looking for the opportunity elsewhere, even if it means taking non-traditional career paths to find it.

We look at this desire for meaningful work as a Millennial trait. But does that mean other generations don’t really care about it, or that we shouldn’t worry about providing it to them?

While Millennials may be the loudest voices in the room, our research shows that meaningful work of all kinds—work that stimulates, energizes and motivates a person—combined with a supportive climate and tools, creates higher engagement, productivity, and well-being, no matter what generation someone belongs to.

When people aren’t stimulated by the work they’re doing, they drop out of the game. On the other hand, giving them access to work that stimulates them pulls them into performing at their highest level.

Providing Meaningful Work: It May Not Be What You Think

Meaningful work is something that motivates all of us. But what is meaningful to one person is not necessarily meaningful to another.

One size doesn’t fit all.

However, because most work is mental, and because thinking preferences influence the kinds of work someone will enjoy most, the HBDI® can help. You can also use the Whole Brain® Model as a diagnostic tool to understand the mental requirements of a job. The more aligned an employee’s preferences are with the thinking requirements of the work, the more rewarding they’ll find it and the more motivated they’ll be to stick with it, give it their all—and stick with you.

Engaging Hearts and Minds

Here are some things you can do to encourage greater alignment between people, the work, and the culture.

  • Educate employees how their thinking preferences relate to their productivity, effectiveness, and personal and professional fulfillment.
  • Work with employees to adjust job tasks where possible.
  • Clarify how their talents, the work they do, the culture and values align to the mission and purpose.
  • Provide training, tools, and support to help them succeed today and pursue the work that inspires them.

As more and more companies struggle to retain Millennial talent—and as engagement levels remain low across all generations—it’s time to think more deliberately about passion and purpose at work.

While many companies are asking why Millennials are leaving and why so many people are disengaged, the better question might be, are we giving them a good reason to stay and contribute their best?

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