Millennials and Gen Z always have the worst rep when it comes to workplace loyalty. From being shamed as the “strawberry generation” to not being able to rough it out, these are some of the judgements that Baby Boomers and Gen X casually pass in the workplace. But are these allegations true?
For one, we’ll tell you that there’s been a seismic shift in the goals and aspirations across generations. And while Baby Boomers and Gen X were happy to chase the “then” Singaporean dream of working hard and starting a family early, Millennials and Gen Z aren’t afraid to chase their dreams or leave toxic situations.
Having a foosball table and fully-stocked pantry is great, but we’ve rounded up the best responses from 8 young Singaporeans across industries for a tell-all on what truly matters to them when it comes to staying in a company.
1. Feeling comfortable enough to voice out task difficulties of performance inadequacies to people above them
For 38-year-old Jack who has walked the corporate tightrope as the Head of Marketing at an international club, feeling comfortable enough to confide in his superiors about work-related issues is the biggest factor that helps him feel passionate about the work he produces.
“Not only is it comforting to know that your voice is heard, it stimulates my growth as an employee, at the same time, validating the importance of higher-level management.”
2. A company that accepts that there are highs and lows in terms of output
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If you’re in a company that pegs your performance to a monthly or quarterly KPI, then you’ll be familiar with the natural pressure that comes with being expected to surpass expectations in order to secure that year-end bonus.
But with these unspoken expectations, come longer work hours, staff burnout and the perpetual feeling of not being good enough. 26-year-old Samantha who works in media shared that beyond salary and other perks, what actually motivates her to stay loyal to a company is when its managers accept the lull periods in the year where the workload isn’t too heavy. This makes the struggle and toil worth it when peak season hits.
3. Fair and flexible working hours
Before the birth of her child, 30-year-old Kathy’s loyalty would’ve lay with any company that offered her the highest pay. Now, saddled with new responsibilities, she priotises a company that allows her the flexibility to work from both home or office when the need calls for it.
“I’m truly thankful that the pandemic paved the way for work from home. This will be a huge pull factor for me to stay with a company moving forward.”
4. Management who empathises with its employees
32-year-old Harriot acknowledges that while her salary isn’t where she’d like it to be at this point in her life, she has no plans on leaving her accounting firm where she’s been for close to 8 years. The reason: understanding bosses and colleagues.
“My current job isn’t my dream job, nor is it the highest paying, but I respect my boss because he respects me and is empathetic towards difficult life situations I’ve been put through. That’s why I’ve stuck with the same company for so long.”
5. A company culture that doesn’t exploit employees for high output at the expense of work-life balance.
24-year-old Luke who works in the Media industry stresses that having that “organisational fit” in terms of culture is key, although having an understanding management is a huge plus as well. He’d left her previous company after 3 years citing toxic colleagues and a job scope that was taking a physical and mental toll on his body.
6. Good money for daily living and stock options for longer-term horizon
33-year-old Alex, who works in tech, believes that if a company can take care of you both in the short- and long-term, they’re worth sticking with. This means good pay for the present with progressive bumps, and stock options for the future.
“If you want staff to focus, then you want to assure them that they’ll be taken care of in the future.”
7. Fair remuneration package and employee benefits
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Francesca, who is 27 years old and works in advertising, says that beyond a fully-stocked pantry – which is very nice to have, no doubt – she’s more concerned about whether or not the company offers her medical, welfare and dental benefits.
“I’ve learnt the importance of getting yearly health check-ups and regular dental work as I’ve gotten older, and a company that offers me decent employee benefits in those areas is definitely attractive to me. I know of a local company that offers a $1,000 welfare benefit that can be used for anything from holidays to groceries – no questions asked. And that says a lot about how that company values its employees.”
8. Appreciation for long-serving staff in terms of career progression
“My mother is over 60, and has held her position in her company for more than 30 years. She’s gone from an entry-level job to being the Vice President of a bank. Back in the day, career progression in a company was pretty much guaranteed if you stayed and did a good job. These days, it’s something that’s increasingly rare.”
31-year-old Amelia says that career progression is something that quite a few companies tend to neglect these days as they fill in the C-suite roles with foreign talent and “more qualified” individuals from outside the company. She tendered her resignation earlier this year after serving for more than 7 years due to multiple changes in her reporting line and no clear career progression on the horizon.
Retaining employees and growing company loyalty
It goes without saying that a good, competitive salary is something that will keep high-performing employees, but this also means that other companies can easily sneak in to poach them. Beyond monetary compensation and a fancy office, there are a multitude of factors that intrinsically motivate employees to give their best to an organisation from company culture to supportive bosses.
While most of the points listed above might seem fairly obvious, in this globalised and ultra-competitive environment, finding a company that ticks all – if not most – of the boxes is like finding a needle in a haystack. So if you’re part of a company looking to lower your employee turnover rate and increase productivity, this list might help you rejig your current policies and processes to improve overall employee morale. Only time will tell if they work to grow company loyalty!
Cover image adapted from: Unsplash