Workplace stresses and financial pressures have crossed all our desks at some point, but research indicates these factors are hitting Gen Y the hardest.
Global HR think-tank Reventure has surveyed more than 1000 Australian workers, finding those aged 23 to 37 are much more stressed than their Gen X and Baby Boomer colleagues, with finances an area of top concern.
Close to 40% of young workers were worried about finances, followed by 33% who were stressed about work overall.
Lead researcher and managing director of Reventure, Dr Lindsay McMillan, says it boils down to the burden of modern times.
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“I think the demands of the workplace these days are enormous,” he says.
Part of the problem lies in the pressures of modern technology, with staff now on call around the clock. However low wages growth is also taking its toll particularly with younger workers, with the wage price index lifting just 2% this year in seasonally adjusted terms.
“The millennials are finding that challenging — because of it, they’ll just leave their job if they’re not responded to by their employer,” he says.
SMEs have power to keep millennials on board
However, McMillan says SMEs are uniquely placed to offer Generation Y workers more value.
“SMEs are organisations that can get close to their employees because of their numbers,” he explains.
“Conversations need to start as to ways of sharing the financial benefits of the business. And also ways to alleviate the stress of work demands — things like flexible hours can often help.”
Failing to address these issues can take its toll on personal relationships at work and in some cases leave staff looking for the exits.
“High staff turnover is costly. Anyone who’s looking the bottom line needs to recognise that employee churn is a cost to the business and jeopardises the results people are looking for,” McMillan says.
Ultimately what Gen Y workers are looking for is the means to chase a higher purpose, McMillan says, believing the best way to foster that need is to create a better workplace culture.
“Employers needs to engage them — they want to be part of the decision making. They want to make a difference and it’s up to the employer to tell them where they fit into the bigger picture and to recognise their value and contribution,” he says.
And few employees, he says, could be more important to cater to.
“They are the future generation of employees. They’re the ones that are coming into businesses with high expectations and requirements, both organisationally and personally.”