For Millennials, It’s All About Work-Life Blend

If you are a member of Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976, you are often referred to as independent, self-reliant, mistrustful of institutions, and at times focused on your personal “back-up plan” – just in case things do not work out for you.  But the one value most remembered for Gen Xers is the mantra of work-life balance. Gen Xers watched their parents make tough choices often favoring their career and then, just as they approached retirement, these parents were left without a back-up plan. So Gen Xers come to the workplace wanting flexibility in their job so they can devote time to their families and personal well-being.

Enter the millennials, born between 1977 and 1997. They have morphed the idea of work-life balance into work-life blend. Instead of switching between professional mode and personal mode like Gen Xers, millennials are often in both modes at once!

This blending of work and life is a major finding of a new study, “Millennial Branding Gen-Y & Facebook Study,” of 4 million Gen Y Facebook profiles from a database of 50 million.

The top findings of this study include:

  1. Millennials, on average, are connected to 16 co-workers on Facebook. For these millennials, work and life are the same thing and they want to stay connected to colleagues, see their photos and keep in touch with their personal lives long after the work day is over.
  2. Only 7 percent of millennials list a Fortune 500 employer on their Facebook page, with the U.S. military being the largest millennial employer overall and the travel and hospitality industry attracting the greatest number of millennials (7.2 percent of sample). The top 10 industries and employers of millennials include:

Top Industries

Travel   7.2 percent

Consumer Products   6.8 percent

Government   4.5 percent

Technology   4.4 percent

Education   3.9 percent

Retail   3.6 percent

Finance   3.3 percent

Media   2.3 percent

Health care   2.1 percent

Nonprofit   1.1 percent

Top Employers

U.S. Army   3.2 percent

Walmart   0.53 percent

Starbucks   0.45 percent

Target   0.44 percent

Best Buy   0.38 percent

McDonald’s   0.28 percent

Abercrombie   0.26 percent

YMCA   0.23 percent

CVS   0.21 percent

UPS   0.20 percent

So what does this mean for you in HR and talent management?

  1. Expect millennials on your team to want to “friend” you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter and connect with you on LinkedIn.
  2. Retailers, such as Walmart, Starbucks, Target and Best Buy are the largest employers of millennials. These employers should consider investing heavily in training and development since millennial front-line workers today are the future store managers of tomorrow.
  3. While millennials “talk” about being entrepreneurial, they rank working for the government ranks as their third choice and in nonprofits as their 10th choice. This reinforces our view that overall millennials have a respect for authority. This clearly shows in their career choices. Our question to you: How can you leverage this “trust of authority” in the workplace? One suggestion: Expand opportunities for “group mentoring” where senior managers can mentor a group of millennials so mentoring becomes part  of the culture of your organization!
That’s our take; what’s yours? We want to hear from you – especially if you are a member of Gen X or a millennial. Send us your comments, and we will continue the dialogue.