For Millenials, Mutual Respect in the Workplace Trumps Compensation
I am a Millenial. I am friends with a lot of Millenials. Most of us have grown up in families with parents shaped by a corporate market economy, leading us to a collective conclusion.
If I make twice as much money, that does not mean I will be twice as happy.
There is an incredible documentary out on NetFlix right now called I Am. The film is produced and directed by acclaimed comedy film director, Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty, Ace Ventura, The Nutty Professor), and his journalistic pursuit of the life’s greatest questions: What is our purpose? What makes me truly happy? Here is the story of a man who “made it.” He had the 7K square foot Malibu homes, fame, the invitation to the inner circle, all of it. But a tragic bike accident which brings him to the edge of despair suddenly changes his perspective. He realizes he is a victim of the great lie of consumerism, and suddenly the world becomes a place to live, rather than a commodity to own.
This is the mantra of the Millenial Generation.
Each generation is shaped by the generation prior. Our parents were shaped by mothers and fathers who had endured the depravity of the Great Depression and the close-knit parochialism of communal economies. Millenials have been forged by parents who saw that communal economy grow to a national and global level, with swelling corporations driving an increased culture of competition. All this happened with the promise that more money and more power will translate into more happiness.
I know I am painting with broad brush strokes. Here’s the point. The Millenial generation that is entering today’s workplace doesn’t buy it anymore. We are not slaves to the almighty dollar (or at least are fighting not to be). We prefer simplicity, professional development, and genuine relationships over total compensation packages. And the most important aspects of Job Satisfaction, according to SHRM Research, are Mutual Respect in the Workplace, and Trust Between Employees and Senior Management.
The shrinking talent pool has been a major topic for Human Resources and Human Capital Management Professionals. Our Millenial Generation is much smaller highly technical, and highly educated. The Henry Ford production line workplace no longer fits the workforce, and the employers that are delayed in this realization will have a difficult time growing their talent pool.
From a Millenial perspective, when we hear Mutual Respect in the Workplace, we think of the following:
- Managers will be open to constructive feedback, and deliver constructive feedback candidly and professionally
- I will have a defined succession path, and my employer will invest in my development
- I will receive clear expectations from my leaders, and they will take time in helping me to meet those expectations
In short, the expectation is that there will be an open relationship comprised of give-and-take which allows both management and employee to collectively grow in competency, productivity, and workplace satisfaction. The giving and receiving back and forth between leader and junior is the foundation of building the second most important aspect of job satisfaction: Trust between employees and senior management. It is an investment, but I can say from my experience in the Marine Corps, the greatest satisfaction comes not in hitting the numbers, but in helping another realize their fullest potential. It is a win-win.
Like Pope St. John Paul II shared, “Man cannot fully find himself except through the sincere gift of himself.” What does this mean to the current leaders and managers of the Millenial workforce? It means that your greatest happiness will come only when you invest yourself in the development of your Millenial workforce. Trust me, the numbers will follow.
Now, go and rent I Am! I recommend watching it at least once a year.