I recently read an article from Inc.com called Hey Millennials, Stop Killing the Vacation! Immediately upon seeing that headline I knew I had to click. A lot of the time I see articles about job-hopping millennials or replacing the baby boomer workforce with my generation, but it isn’t often that a piece comes out about them being workforce martyrs.
Did you know that 43% of millennials fit the definition of a workforce martyr, which Project Time Off defines as having, “the belief that it is difficult to take vacation because: ‘no one else at my company can do the work while I’m away.’ ‘I want to show complete dedication to my company and job.’ ‘I don’t want others to think I am replaceable.’ ‘I feel guilty for using my paid time off.’” That number stands in stark contrast to the total workforce that only rates at 29%. In fact, the article also mentioned that our generation is highly likely to shame their coworkers for actually taking allotted vacation time!
So what’s really going on here? Who doesn’t like vacation?
I think ultimately, most people from the millennial generation are concerned about job safety. Indeed, many colleagues of mine have had to move on time and time again…so the question is, what can you as a recruitment professional or human resources manager do to keep your millennial workforce from burning the candle at both ends?
Make them Feel Secure
Security is an abstract concept, but to me, job security means being offered a solid benefits package up-front and being given clear expectations without threats. We’ve all worked for those employers who make us feel like the ax is going to fall any second.
Have you noticed how much worse the quality of the work gets when this type of intimidation is in place? Remove the intimidation and foster a work environment that encourages your employees to enjoy their time off without the fear of consequences.
Consider Branding It
One important aspect of recruitment branding is work-life balance. This sort of policy or slogan encourages employees to use their benefits by making it clear that it’s a part of the core values. Sometimes rebranding your company’s recruitment persona and making sure your associates understand that it’s okay to have fun can be the difference between turnover and retention.
Put it in the Manual
If you are having a genuine problem with your millennial workforce not taking their vacation time, simply make it a rule. One of our Account Manager’s wives is required to take two weeks during the summer and she definitely adheres to that rule. Sometimes, all you need to do is put vacation time in black and white terms.
While I can’t speak for my generation on the whole, I will say that I feel it is highly unlikely that millennials genuinely don’t want to use their time off. Consider making them feel like an important part of your organization so that they feel comfortable using their time off because if you don’t there could be consequences in the form of massive turnover due to burnout.
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