Part 2: Generation X & Millennial Hispanic Employees: Why Do They Leave? Stay?

Posted: Apr 21 2014

-Continued from Part 1: Generation X & Millennial Hispanic Employees

            The results of the study proved to be most interesting and rather unexpected. Both generational groups stated that they really enjoyed working at the University. Eighty-percent of Gen. X’ers and seventy-percent of the Millennials indicated job satisfaction. Both groups enjoyed the people they worked with and their work environment. Initially, I had theorized that both generational groups would be quick to leave the University for greener pastures. However, the truth was very different. In general, the respondents indicated that they would leave, but not because of any generational attribute or stereotype. Rather, they might leave for reasons related to low pay, lack of job or promotional opportunities, no advancement options within their jobs, office politics, changes in management, and lastly the ability to find better benefits outside the University.

When asked why they had thus far remained employed, their responses were very encouraging. Generally, the respondents enjoyed working at the University, enjoyed their respective work environment, felt they had great benefits, an excellent educational assistance program, and some stability in their jobs. The latter response was particularly important given the current state of the economy. Several respondents appreciated the academic setting and the ability to interact with students. These were some of the basic rewards that were significant for most employees regardless of generational affiliation.

When asked if they intended to remain working at the University, the majority (73%) of the Gen. X employees indicated that they planned to remain employed, whereas only slightly more than fifty percent of the Millennials were confident that they would do so. When asked if they planned to be at the University over the next three years, neither group believed that they would. This answer was consistent with their feelings regarding the support they thought they might receive from their department for advancement opportunities. In fact, both generational groups felt that their departments could do more in offering promotional opportunities. The majority of the respondents valued their jobs at the University and indicated that financial responsibilities to their families were primary in remaining employed. However, both generations expressed having ambitions to test the job market in a few years.

One big concern initially raised in the study was whether the area or community was a deterrent to retention. The majority of respondents were content with their geographical location. This was true for both those in the city and those living in the surrounding community. Both groups connected with their communities, and considered the city and surrounding area their home. However, even having indicated the city as their home; both generational groups felt that the leisure activities within the area were limited. For the Millennials, leaving the city would be an option if given the opportunity; whereas, a smaller number of Gen. X’ers would do the same.

As expected, there was one area which both groups indicated as a major concern. Both groups expressed deep dissatisfaction with their pay. When asked if they were also dissatisfied with their benefits as a separate component, the respondents were very satisfied with many aspects of their benefit plans, including educational opportunities, family-friendly benefits, and retirement planning. For these employees, benefits may have been a factor for many to re-think a decision to leave the University.

The results of the survey indicated that the Gen. X and Millennials employees intended to continue working for the University at least for the next three years. They would remain because they enjoy their jobs, the working environment, and the benefits. This seemed to be an overwhelming theme for many in both generational groups. These groups also felt a strong sense of community. This was an important factor in retaining staff. If employees were connected to their community, and felt a sense of “home,” this reduced the likelihood of their leaving. However, as expected, there were several areas that were of a concern to both generational groups, namely pay and lack of advancement opportunities.

The topic of generational differences in the workplace is an emerging issue. Given the state of the economy, lack of competitive jobs and decreasing number of voluntary retirements, by the year 2018 many employers may see five generations working side by side. As a result, there has been substantial discussion in books, newspapers and magazines which detail the challenges employers have in today’s workplace in dealing with generational differences. The results of the survey demonstrated that turnover and retention of staff were not necessarily related to generational affiliation or cohort association, but rather to other reasons, which were primarily job-related. Gen. X and Millennial employees were happy working at the University. They appreciated the benefits, enjoyed the academic setting, and planned to remain working at the institution for at least three more years, if not longer. An important factor keeping them at the University appeared to be the institution’s implementation of effective and consistent management practices. Employee satisfaction also came from programs that engage employees, reward and recognize employees and improve communication. Organizations must continue to gauge the climate of their organizations. They cannot take for granted that Gen. X and Millennial employees will remain employed for the same length of time as members of earlier generational groups.

By Dr. Andrew M. Peña, SPHR, MBA
September 2, 2013


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