“No time like the present”: the millennial mantra changing the face of business

Small businesses have an advantage in encouraging open, regular communication with millennial generation which could extend their tenure.

Once upon a time, starting your own business and switching jobs used to be risky. But if there’s one thing the pandemic has shown millennials is that there’s no time like the present. In fact, research shows that this generation is leaving their workplaces in droves and those who haven’t already done it are likely seriously considering it. Why? Because things that occupied their parents and grandparents’ generations are becoming not only less reachable but also less important.

It wasn’t that many decades ago when owning your own home, having a secure job and raising your own family (with the occasional holiday thrown in when one could afford it) was a goal shared by the majority in society. But with housing affordability becoming increasingly out of reach, the question of whether the earth needs more people affecting reproductive choices and the lure of the wide blue yonder beckoning, the goals and choices of millennials are undergoing a significant shift. Throw in a pandemic and new ways of working, and the younger generations have realised something – they don’t need to subscribe to a status quo that doesn’t belong to their generation.

Remote working and the uncertainty of what tomorrow might bring has seen record numbers of millennials grab the bull by the horns and quit their jobs. Pundits are calling it ‘The Great Resignation’ – and we know once something has an official name, it’s a ‘thing’. But where are all the youngsters going? Not to another workplace, that’s for sure. Instead, record numbers of millennials are taking a chance and doing what they want to do in life, which no longer resembles the nine-to-five slog previous generations endured.

In fact, research shows that millennials are more concerned with work/life balance/integration and mental/emotional wellness than previous generations and being stuck in an office striving towards something that they can’t or don’t want to achieve (e.g. owning a house, having kids), isn’t making them happy. Instead, millennials are taking a chance, grabbing a start-up loan, and dreaming differently.

While we can’t help cheering them on, if you look in their wake, there are employers, organisations and companies that have a problem on their hands. And perhaps for the first time ever, one that can’t be fixed by the intoxicating waft of freshly minted money. Instead, millennials want freedom.

Freedom to dictate their working hours, where they work, how they work, how creative they can be and how good they can feel. None of that has a monetary price tag attached. These new priorities are making recruitment and retention of millennial staff very difficult. Employers are going to have to change what they offer potential employees as incentives and once they have their new workers, change how they go about keeping them.

This is going to necessitate a seismic shift in the way things have always been done and likely forever change the way things are done in future. But there’s one thing we know for sure. A power shift is occurring right at this moment. A movement if you will. And millennials hold all the power.