It’s always been tough to find and keep good workers in the high-turnover restaurant world. Don’t expect it to get any easier soon. The Gallup organization is telling operators that, going forward, they can expect constant churn among their millennial-aged (20-36) employees and, equally troubling, mediocre engagement levels among those who stay put.
That’s the upshot of “How Millennials Want to Work and Live,” a new report from Gallup. The global research firm found that while the 73 million members of this age cohort rely on technology and social media to remain constantly connected with others, their levels of engagement and attachment with employers are much lower than those of prior generations.
Millennials don’t hate their jobs per se, the 20-page report points out. Only 16 percent are “actively disengaged,” which Gallup characterizes as “meaning they are more or less out to do damage to their company.” On the plus side, 29 percent are classified as “engaged,” meaning they like their job and their company. The big problem comes with the 55 percent in between these two extremes that are “not engaged,” i.e. just going through the motions until a better offer comes along.
“The millennial workforce is predominantly ‘checked out’ — not putting energy or passion into their jobs,” says the report. “ They are indifferent about work and show up just to put in their hours.”
Despite this low level of engagement, the study found that millennials are not job-hoppers in the traditional sense of the word. But they are always on the lookout for something they perceive would be a better, more fulfilling position.
Gallup data shows that 60 percent of millennials are open to different job opportunities — that’s 15 percent more than the rest of the workforce is. Twenty-one percent of workers in this demographic have changed jobs within the past year — three times the number of non-millennials who found new employment. Thirty-six percent said they will seek a better job during the coming year if the job market improves; only 21 percent of non-millennials indicated they would to the same.
In short, Gallup’s numbers indicate that high labor turnover will continue to be a fact of life for restaurant operators, with employees likely to switch jobs at a higher rate than they already do. “Half of millennials — compared with 60 percent of non-millennials — strongly agree that they plan to be working at their company one year from now,” Gallup found. “For businesses, this suggests that half of their millennial workforce doesn’t see a future with them.”
So what can you do to get millennial-aged employees to join, stay and better engage with your organization? Try adjusting your restaurant’s management style to better address the millennial mindset. Gallup says you’ll want to keep these factors in mind.
• Millennials don’t just work for a paycheck — they want a purpose.
• Millennials are not pursuing job satisfaction — they are pursuing development.
• Millennials don’t want bosses — they want coaches.
• Millennials don’t want annual reviews — they want ongoing conversations.
• Millennials don’t want to fix their weaknesses — they want to develop their strengths.
It all sounds like a little more outreach and hand-holding than many old school restaurant operators will want to do. But Gallup’s extensive study is telling them that these are the adjustments that have to be made if they want to keep good millennial-aged employees around today.