With millennials, employee satisfaction is as much — or more — important than money. As these 25-35 year olds are now the largest demographic in the job market, employers can’t just rely on good salaries to bring in top talent. Employers take note: that millennials were willing to take (on average) a pay cut of $7,600 USD in exchange for a better “quality of work life.”
If you’re looking to compete, it’ll pay to invest in being a great employer.
First of all, you might be wondering if employee satisfaction is simply the same thing as employee employee engagement. Not quite.
Employee satisfaction is a measure of how happy an employee is with his or her current job and conditions. But an employee can be perfectly happy in a role without being willing — or inspired — to expend any effort.
Employee engagement, on the other hand, measures how committed an employee is to an organization. How much do they believe in the organization’s mission? How far above and beyond are they willing to go to do a great job? Of course, an employee that’s wholly engaged in a company’s mission and her own work can still be dissatisfied with the workplace.
Lacking one element or the other can be a. That’s why you need to focus on creating the conditions that both satisfy and engage your employees.
Creating a satisfying workplace for your employees starts by listening to them. There are two tried-and-true methods for measuring employee satisfaction: anonymously, and face-to-face.
Many companies use anonymous surveys to gauge how happy employees are, either sending them out occasionally or using them monthly or quarterly to establish a baseline of employee satisfaction. This method has the advantage of allowing employees to answer honestly without fear of repercussions.
Try asking simple questions with a 1-10 scale rating, like:
To get more a more detailed idea of employee satisfaction, use one-on-one conversations. Make a habit of checking in, either through regularly scheduled meetings or during performance reviews. It’s a great way to learn what people need on an individual level. The downside, of course, is that people may be intimidated about sharing their true feelings with leadership.
Some questions to consider:
The things that satisfy millennials in the workplace aren’t that different than any other demographic. Nearly every worker wants to be respected, work with people they like, and do good work that gets recognized.
The major differences come in millennials’ desire for mobility and perceived lack of loyalty. Technology has made it easier than ever to find opportunities across the globe, and even work remotely. This causes many millennials to view the traditional 9-to-5 cubicle job as a grind. In fact, according to, 63 percent of millennials would choose a company that allows telecommuting over another option.
At the same time, growing up during the recent recession and mass layoffs makes millennials naturally less trusting of the “work one job until you retire” idea. Still, it’s worth noting that even back in 2014, 48 percent of millennialssaid they’d been at their current job for over five years. And that more millennial leaders intended to stay at the same company for more than 15 years (44 percent) than non-millennial leaders (29 percent).
If you want to create a workplace that attracts millennials, keep the following principles in mind.
While it’s impossible to paint all millennial workers with broad brush strokes, by and large they are eager for opportunities to do good work, develop their skills, and be recognized for their efforts. Which, if you think about it, could apply to any of us.
The moral of the story? Create a great workplace for millennials and you’ll see employee satisfaction rise all around!