What does #WorkHuman Mean to Millennials and Gen Z?

by Matthew Stollak on Monday, March 21, 2016


In "The Managed Heart," Hochschild coined the term "emotional labor," referring to the effort to hide one's real feelings and display the "right" emotions when meeting with others.  Airline attendants, for example, must make passengers feel comfortable and welcome, even if the attendants are having a bad day.  Sadly, thirty-three years after the publication of the book, many employees are still expected to behave this way at work.  Acting in this fashion, however, is the antithesis of working human, particularly for Millennials and Gen Z.


Embracing a #WorkHuman perspective is crucial to attracting and retaining this cohort.  How does this work in practice?

1.  Provide meaning and value to employees.  

The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey indicates that "Millennials seek employers with similar values; seven in 10 believe their personal values are shared by organizations for which they work."  Yes, all employees want meaningful work, but with Millennial loyalty at an all time low, younger workers will not hesitate to depart an organization where their values are not aligned.

2.   Invest in an employee's personal development

Organizations already have dedicated a significant amount of resources into employees, from recruitment costs to salaries to office overhead.  For younger workers, this investment is only the tip of the iceberg.  Younger employees don’t want their education to stop once they leave school, and they are loyal to organizations that demonstrate a commitment to their learning.  Combining personal development with a mentor can magnify this dedication even further.  Individuals who plan to stick with an organization for more than five years are twice as likely to when a mentor is involved than not.  

3.  Recognition is personal

Not only do these cohorts can about meaningful work and personal development, but they want to be recognized for the work they perform.  To resonate, recognition should be given in a certain way.  Not only must it be done privately, but it can come from several sources.  Luckily, recognition doesn't have to be expensive; an authentic message recognizing their human contribution can go a long way.

Want to know more?  Attend the ‪#‎WorkHuman‬ conference May 9-11 in Orlando. If you use promo code WH16MS300, you can get $300 off your registration.  And, as a bonus, the first person who e-mails me their registration confirmation (matthew.stollak@snc.edu) using the above code will get a free copy of keynote speaker Amy Cuddy's book, Presence.  That's a win-win that even the youngest of workers can get behind.


One comment

I would have to be the Devil's Advocate here. Having worked with hordes of millennials, I now know that a lot of their expectations are unrealistic. Here at Mettl, we have had a novel way of working with expectations. We allow millenials to take charge of a process which they feel is broken. 5% of millenials reported an improvement by >10% points while others had a negative report (with all necessary supervision when needed, ofcourse). It's then that they understand that there is some way to go, for them.

I am not saying that millenials are wrong in their wish to have the organization aligned to them and not vice versa but it's equally important to lend perspective to them.

by Mettl on April 4, 2016 at 4:14 AM. #

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