For the month of August, Forward Wayne County is focused on Employability. We asked Wayne Williams, One Stop Operator for Eastern Indiana Works, to write a guest blog on the topic.

It is probably time to stop assuming that all young people are lazy. After all, that generation some are referring to in this manner – yes, Millennials – aren’t so “young” anymore (two additional generations have come along since then – Gen Z and Gen Alpha, for those playing at home).

Additionally, members of this group (that comprise of approximately 35% of the U.S. workforce and by 2025 will have share of 75% of the global workforce) hold leadership positions… probably within your organization.

Just step on out to the production floor or get up from your cubicle and look around. See those leaders or up-and-comers in their twenties and thirties that troubleshoot your tech issues? They didn’t get promoted because they showed up to work late or spent their shift scrolling through their phones.

For those that are analyzing their own experiences and saying “Nay,” this isn’t opinion but rather rooted in fact. For those Traditionalists and Boomers (that have led a mass workforce exodus) that see deep meaning in proving value to a company, those succeeding these generations long for work where their employer communicates value to them. But what does that mean?

Conventional wisdom would lead us to believe that this is equation is true: more money + good benefits = value, when the math actually looks more like this: quality leadership + well-articulated values + work/life balance > pay. Care over cash.

“But Wayne, you didn’t really provide any data and that graphic of a Millennial looks like a thinner version of you. So, yeah, of course you’re going to be on this soapbox.” (Psst, Millennials… on a soapbox is a term that originated in the late 1800’s to help describe someone that was providing an unsolicited opinion by shouting while standing on a box made for shipping soap). Also, that’s what you get for generalizing and analyzing my weight. While I’m technically a Millennial, I identify more with Gen X and the Baby Boomer mentality (aka, promote me and pay me, I’ll be loyal ‘til I croak). Oh, I also want to have global impact and feel appreciated. See, not everyone fits neatly into some category.

This article from highlights several studies that really drive the point home:

  • 95% of millennials note a healthy work/life balance as a top priority when searching for a new job (Docebo)
  • 87% of millennials had expressed that professional growth and development opportunities were among their top priorities (Gallup)
  • 86% of millennials would take a pay cut to work at a company that holds the same values as their own, which compares to just 9% of baby boomers (LinkedIn)
  • 70% of millennials have considered leaving a job for another boasting more flexible work options (Flexjobs)

Here is the best part: 90% of millennials want to grow their careers with their current companies. This isn’t about pay, it’s about care. You could break down the care over cash equation this way: employer care = employee retention. You don’t have to an MBA to conclude that if you keep people happy, they’ll stay. In turn, they will tell others how great their employer is. Ipso facto one’s employee retention efforts have a direct impact on their talent attraction efforts.

Doing the math, so to speak, isn’t a problem to be tackled alone. Eastern Indiana Works, your local workforce development board, guides both job seekers and employers to alleviate labor woes. Contact us today by visiting or downloading our app via Google Play or the App Store. Oh… and follow me on LinkedIn and TikTok. People think I’m funny.

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