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How to stop your millennial workforce burning out

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One in four millennials would quit their job in the next year if they could, according to a 2016 Deloitte report into the workplace behaviours of this generation. So what can you do to keep them?

Millennials expect meaning at work

One of the main reasons why this generation moves jobs so frequently is that they lose contact with a sense of meaning and purpose at work. The explosion of information and rise of technology also means the modern millennial workforce faces more pressure than ever, with people working longer hours and juggling multiple responsibilities at work and at home. Many young professionals are pushing themselves to extremes and feeling overwhelmed by stress as a result. This ‘millennialitis’ is threatening to become an epidemic.

Worryingly, some employers are still failing to realise the support their employees need. More than a third of millennials prioritise workplace wellbeing but only 17% think that their employers do, according to Deloitte’s millennial study. As a result, we are seeing an increase in staff looking for alternative roles to cope with the stress, creating a vicious cycle of disengagement and burnout. Yet, this is an issue that employers can take action to stop.

Actively prioritise wellbeing

By helping millennials to cope more effectively with stress, you can have a healthier, more engaged workforce but also one that is more psychologically flexible and able to perform under pressure.

Studies have even shown that workplace-based wellbeing interventions can bring both short-term and long-term cost savings to employers with an annual return on investment of more than £9 for every £1 invested.

You can help your millennial workforce by actively prioritising wellbeing and giving employees skills that help them thrive under pressure. Pressure can be a positive force, but only if staff know how to use it to their advantage. 

Tips to share with your millennial workforce

1. Manage energy, not time

  • Athletes see recovery as essential to performance, not an additional luxury. By managing energy strategically, on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis, we help people to perform at their best sustainably.
  • By proactively prioritising activities that bring meaning, purpose and joy we dramatically reduce the risk of burnout and further enable peak performance.

2 .Focus on marginal gains

  • Rather than looking for big changes in behaviour, focus on small, specific ‘marginal’ changes. This could be anything from working in short focused bursts followed by a break, keeping a water bottle on your desk, hitting the gym at 3pm or cutting meetings from one hour to 45 minutes. The key is to focus on small, specific changes that are easy to accommodate, rather than large changes that create an additional burden.
  • These small changes result in marginal gains, the benefits of which compound over time and deliver significant impacts on people’s wellbeing in the long term.

3. Develop task focus

  • While technology can draw us into a reactive way of working with multiple distractions, research clearly shows that this kind of multitasking is not effective. When we multitask we take 30% longer to complete a task and make twice as many mistakes. In times of peak demands, it’s important to develop psychological flexibility – the ability to improve focus on the task in the presence of distractions, including distracting thoughts and emotions. This core resilience skill has been shown to dramatically improve health, wellbeing, job satisfaction and performance in a huge range of working environments. 


Rob Archer

By Rob Archer

Rob is a chartered psychologist and director at Cognacity

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