Why Your Millennial Employees Might Not Stick Around

By Paul Chance, NICE

Throughout history, older generations have viewed the generations that follow with a fair amount of hand-wringing, and that trend seems more pronounced than ever as Millennials come into their majority. In the culture wars, anxious Boomers and Gen Xers blame Millennials for killing countless industries, affecting everything from home ownership to the longevity of restaurants like Hooters. And in the workplace, Millennials are accused of everything from laziness and insubordination to not knowing how to take vacations.

At the same time, they have changed the nature of customer service itself. Millennial professionals have already changed how organizations think about the customer experience. We’ve seen a move toward always-on, mobile-first interactions and unscripted, more authentic communications with customer service reps.

Millennials, who surpassed Generation X in the workforce two years ago, now make up the majority of employees, especially in customer-facing roles like those in contact centers. While there certainly are generational differences in how Millennials work, and in how they view work, many common assumptions about Millennials in the contact center are little more than myth.

Myth #1: Millennials lack loyalty to their employers.

The 2018 Millennial Survey by Deloitte found that just 28% of Millennials plan to stay in their current role for more than five years, and 43% plan to quit within the next two years. That’s not due to a lack of desire for job stability, though: more than three-fourths of Millennials would prefer to have a stable job.

They don’t, however, automatically trust that their employer will provide them one. After watching the generations above them receive pink slips from long-time employers, Millennials want to understand what loyalty means from their employer’s perspective – and how longer-term loyalty will translate into financial benefits personally, the 2018 Deloitte survey found.

Myth #2: Millennials job hop because they have a limited attention span.

It’s true that Millennials are more likely to job hop than their older counterparts (though not as frequently as their Gen X counterparts did at the same age), but it’s more about advancing their careers than a lack of attention span.

Millennials are eager to take charge of their own career paths, and according to Gallup, a whopping 93 percent of Millennials left their employer the last time they changed roles. Providing a career pathway through training, coaching, education, and opportunities to take on increased responsibility can go a long way toward giving these workers the career momentum they are looking for.

Myth #3: Millennials all want gig economy jobs.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 39 percent of workers ages 18-24 and 44 percent of workers ages 25-34 reported earning extra cash through a side gig. But does that mean they prefer the gig economy? Not necessarily. DeVry University found that 91 percent of Millennials said they would prefer a single full-time job. But among those Millennials who would willingly leave their employers within the next two years, 62% see the gig economy as a viable alternative to full-time employment, Deloitte found in its 2018 Millennial Survey.

What Millennials do want is flexibility. A report from Millennial Branding found that 45% of Millennials would choose workplace flexibility over pay, while a study by Ernst & Young found that a lack of flexibility was the top reported reason Millennials quit jobs. Giving employees the ability to self-schedule in a way that meets the contact center’s needs can provide a level of flexibility these employees are seeking.

Planning for the millennial contact center

Millennials value flexibility, work-life balance, and opportunities for job training and career advancement — and they’re very loyal to employers that strive to provide a great place to work. With flexible workforce management solutions​ that help bring these characteristics to life, they contact center can be a very attractive workplace for Millennials. And that can be very good for business.

Paul Chance is Senior Marketing Manager for NICE.  He may be reached at paul.chance@nice.com.  For more information about NICE products and services, please visit www.nice.com.