Public Release: 23-Feb-2017
Values gap in workplace can lead millennials to look elsewhere
Lack of corporate responsibility often a deal-breaker for young workers, University of Missouri study finds
University of Missouri-Columbia
Much has been made in popular culture about millennials as they join the working world, including their tendency to job hop. Although this behavior often is explained as a loyalty issue, new research from the University of Missouri reveals one reason young workers choose to leave a firm is because they find a disconnect between their beliefs and the culture they observe in the workplace.
They found that workers expressed the most frustration if their employers touted a commitment to environmental sustainability publicly but did not follow through substantively in areas such as:
Materials selection, including the use of recycled materials
Proper management of pollutants, including chemicals and dyes
Working conditions in textile factories
Product packaging, distribution and marketing to consumers
"Fewer people of this generation are just looking for a paycheck," Ha-Brookshire said. "They have been raised with a sense of pro-social, pro-environment values, and they are looking to be engaged. If they find that a company doesn't honor these values and contributions, many either will try to change the culture or find employment elsewhere."
To ensure a good fit with a potential employer, the researchers recommend that job seekers speak with current and former employees at various levels of the organization, asking questions about areas that are particularly important to them, such as sustainability, work-life balance policies or community partnerships.
Conversely, in order to attract and retain the best employees, the researchers encourage companies to understand that the new generation of workers have high ethical and social expectations. Being transparent with potential employees about corporate culture can head-off some frustration, they said. In addition, giving employees the opportunity to shape cultural decisions through membership on committees and outreach efforts will help to increase morale.