Millennials who hate their jobs have heard the same comment again and again: They’re entitled. Their older peers see their dislike for their job as being spoiled. But in fact, job dissatisfaction chooses no age. Even older, high-level managers can hate their jobs and think of quitting.
So why are Millennials getting the brunt of the older generation’s wrath? Probably because of technology. Before social media, employees who hated their jobs didn’t have a platform for expressing their feelings. They only talked to their friends and family. But now, anyone with a smartphone and internet connection can voice out their thoughts. They can announce how much they dislike their job. They can also publicly lament their lack of choice in the matter.
And their managers and employers can see it. Some of them would react harshly and use the same old stereotype that millennials are lazy and entitled. Others would be more understanding and empathetic. If you’re in this situation, you’d know which of the two reactions can help you and your employee better.
Studies show that employees — not just millennials — hate their jobs for different reasons, none of those being laziness and entitlement. Those who quit are lucky because they can afford to have a gap in their career. But the typical employee doesn’t have this privilege. They have no choice but to stay with their company because it pays the bills.
In this case, motivating them and keeping them engaged is the least you can do. Below are ways to uplift an employee who hates their job:
1. Find Out Why They Hate Their Job
When one of your employees hates their job, it’s normal to be a little defensive or even a little offended. After all, managing people isn’t easy. To hear that someone is dissatisfied can sound indicative of poor management skills. But that’s not necessarily the case. Before jumping to conclusions, hear your employee out.
According to Gallup’s research, these are the most common reasons people, especially millennials, hate their jobs:
- Unrealistically high expectations of what their daily work lives would be like
- Impatience and frustration over not advancing in their careers within months
- Distorted perception of reality because of social media
- Employers who don’t provide new opportunities or reasons for them to stay
Millennials make up the majority of the workforce nowadays. Hence, don’t be surprised if plenty of your employees are unhappy with their jobs. They could be experiencing any of the situations listed above.
We can’t blame Millennials for having high expectations about the “real world.” Schools didn’t teach them the difference between student life and working life. Though they’ve had internships, it would never compare to actual employment. Passing subjects aren’t the same as completing tasks set by an employer. Plus, Millennials were taught how to be managers; college degrees don’t normally teach what it’s like to be an employee. They’re focused on the responsibilities of a leader, so Millennials tend to expect that they can move up their career ladder within months. It doesn’t help either that social media exposes them to the early success stories of their peers.
You can help motivate them by providing opportunities for career development. Learn your employees’ strengths and give them tasks that would utilize those strengths. This can break their stagnant routines and make them look forward to working.
2. Use Technology
Technology plays a role in motivating and engaging employees. Software programs like Slack can encourage collaboration, which helps in making employees feel more involved with the team. There are also specific employee engagement programs designed to find what exactly motivates employees. Even the simple act of recognizing top-performing employees on messaging platforms makes a big difference.
In addition, technology can provide resources for employees chasing a promotion. If you sponsor their online course, for example, they can study and work simultaneously. They can be inspired to use their new knowledge in their daily tasks. Sponsoring education may be costly, but it’s an investment for your talent. When you support your employees’ aspirations, they’re more likely to learn to love their jobs.
3. Create a Joyful Space
Your physical environment affects the way you feel about your job. If you have to get up early in the morning to stay in a plain, dreary cubicle all day, you would probably hate your job too. So spruce up your workspace to create a motivating environment. Do a full-scale remodel if budget permits.
Changing your office design can make your employees feel refreshed and re-energized. It’s like seeing a revamped home and feeling excited to experience the new space. The novelty will wear off in time, sure, but at least there’s no more sad-looking cubicles and dull colors!
Don’t underestimate the effects of unhappy employees. Disregarding their concerns can make your company pay the price. Remember, retaining talent is one of the best and cost-effective ways to maintain your company’s success. So uplift your dissatisfied employees and give them a safe space.