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How Today’s Youth Want to Work and Live

 How Today’s Youth Want to Work and Live


Great Place to Work® is pleased to announce the 2020 list of Best Workplaces for Today's Youth. To be eligible for this list, organizations must be Great Place to Work- Certified™ in the past year, at least 30% of their employees must fit the Millennial or younger demographics and they must have minimum 90% positive response to the statement "I am treated fairly regardless of my age". We determined the BEST based the overall Trust Index score from the youth working in the organization.

A lot has been said and written about the youth of today over the last decade and, as you may have noted, not all of it has been complimentary when it comes to attitudes and expectations of the workplace. They’ve been called lazy and entitled. Could they, instead, be among the first to understand the proper role of work in life?

Ability to Learn and Rise Through the Ranks

Employers face the regularly referred to challenge  that Today’s Youth have unrealistic timelines for being promoted. Growing up in fast times and coming of age in an on-demand culture, they have little patience for stagnation, especially when it comes to their careers. Perhaps, leaders  need to reframe the work environment to avoid the trap of  trying to “cure” Today’s Youth of their career impatience, and get more comfortable with the accelerated career advancement expectations of this generation. Leaders need to arm themselves with a few creative strategies to satisfy the desire for career progression, if they want to retain and attract this talent.

To this end the Best Workplaces for Today’s Youth in Canada have proven strategies, with 85 percent of their younger demographic affirming they are offered training or development to further themselves professionally.

Work-Life Balance

That same saturation with communication technologies that earns Today’s Youth the label of digital natives has also taught them how hard it can be to “turn off.” When your mobile phone is your work phone and an office email can appear on your smartwatch at any time, the traditional nine-to-five schedule can take on the dreamlike aura of a bygone time in which it was once possible to keep work life enjoyably distinct from personal life.

In reaction, they’ve pushed back against the “always-on”  reality of  their work  and advocated for better life balance in their careers. . Burn out is real, and it’s no secret that happier people are more productive employees, and more likely to stick around.

Recognizing this and living it means success in the Best Workplaces, where 90 percent of Youth report that they are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.

Strong Manager / Employee Relationships

Another area in which you can expect to see Today’s Youth making change is in leadership style. Fading are the days of the corporate strongman, whose word becomes instant workplace policy, and whose authority is derived solely by title or position.

It could be the result of growing up in a postmodern era, but this generation is hyper-aware and skeptical of power dynamics and tend to see legitimate authority as earned rather than assumed. Consequently, they respond better to leaders who inspire by example and embody the mission of the company. They want a boss they can trust, someone they feel comfortable talking to and who is invested and interested in their professional and personal development. They place a high value on credibility and in return, offer tremendous respect and loyalty to leaders who walk the talk and deliver what they promise.

In the Best Workplaces for Today’s Youth, 95 percent of employees firmly believe that management are competent at running the business.

Aligned Personal and Organizational Values

It’s not just cultural alignment that’s important for Today’s Youth – feeling that their organization’s values align with their own beliefs is also important. As people’s work and personal lives become more intertwined than ever before, there has been an increased expectation that the companies we work for have our shared values.

Pride is key to having employees speak positively and share the great employee experience they are having, 94 percent of employees think it matters that they’re able to be proud of the company they work for.

A Powerful Purpose

While the jury is still out on whether Today’s Youth are more or less brand loyal than preceding generations, one thing is for certain: they value brands that demonstrate authenticity, and that authenticity is shown by remaining true to a cause.

This is the case for both patronage and workplace preference. They want to buy from and work for businesses that have a purpose at their core. A job is often not only  about a paycheck and putting food on the family table; for Today’s Youth, it’s very much about purpose and connection.

89 percent say they feel good about the ways their organization contributes to the community.

The unique characteristics of Today’s Youth demand a different strategic approach to the recruitment and retention of employees. They’re looking for more in life than “just a job” or a steady climb up the corporate ranks. They want to do something that feels worthwhile, they take into account the mission and values of a company when considering a job, and they are motivated by much more than money.

Overall, 95 percent agree that their workplace is a great place to work.

About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the Global Authority on Workplace Culture. We make it easy to survey your employees, uncover actionable insights and get recognized for your great company culture. Learn more about Great Place to Work Certification.

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