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Research Proposal: Work Engagement and Retention of Millennial Employees

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Baby boomers are now on their way to retirement and the pool of millennial employees grows in an organisation. The millennial generation is changing the workplaces’ work engagement and retention companies have practised for a long time is becoming inapplicable as the needs and expectations of this generation are distinct. And due to millennials’ reputation as ‘job hoppers’, many companies have become creative from recruitment to retaining employees. If companies miss addressing this, this may become a great loss for businesses when the future workforce is indifferent and disconnected, they keep on losing them to competitors. 

Millennials are more diverse, and unique, and thrive on growth. If they will be treated like the older generations, they leave. No wonder this generation created the words FOMO (fear of missing out, YOLO (you only leave once) and JOMO (joy of missing out). It represents that they know what they want to achieve and are already ‘woke’ in life. They fear a lack of change and career growth. They leave jobs that don’t bring the best out of them and rather start their own business. They want to work on a job that has a mission and purpose. They are looking for coaches, not an old-school boss that is commanding and controlling. They want appreciation for a job well done and continuous development than being punished for their weaknesses. For them, their job is a passion and it’s their life. According to a Gallup study of the millennial generation, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, only 29% of millennials are engaged at work – 71% were not engaged or actively disengaged. They have been tagged in many studies as a lazy and entitled generation. Many think that they are fearless but rather I see them as ever-shifting. By understanding their primary concerns and the right opportunity, this generation can make great contributions. Have them room to develop and provide outlets for them to use their talents, then maybe companies can keep them longer, happier, more engage and productive.

I understand that not all millennials are alike. That’s why I would like to understand what will make them stay for their job and what drives them to leave. As I hit this new road in pursuing a master’s degree in industrial psychology I wish to conduct research on this because I think the result of this will be helpful in reviewing the current employee engagement programs and workplace environment of my employer especially now that we have observed high turn-over rates of hired millennial.

Having mentioned those reasons, what I wish to gain from this research are:

  • What jobs do millennials enjoy?
  • How can millennials be satisfied and retained?
  • What kind of leadership style would work for them?
  • Can positive psychology be a factor in their engagement?
  • What are the factors affecting their productivity?

I am thinking of creating a survey or interview as a tool for this research. Also, I wish to conduct this study on an organisation where the majority of the employees are millennials or Gen Y.

Rona Mina Manguera is a master’s degree student at Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

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