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Millennials Face Uphill Battle to Wow Co-Workers with Work Ethic

National Poll Shows Skeptical View of Young Workers’ Engagement in the Workplace


Contact: Jon Weiner


RALEIGH, N.C., November 28, 2011 - The growing power and influence of millennials (age 18-29) on the American workplace is difficult to deny. But the results of a new national poll show that as a group, this generation has a lot of work to do to impress their colleagues.


The poll of American workers, conducted by Workplace Options, a leading global provider of work-life programs and employee benefits, shows a shared sentiment across age groups that millennials have a distinct attitude toward workplace responsibility – one interpreted as largely lackadaisical.


Poll results show that:

  • 77 percent of workers believe millennials have a different attitude toward workplace responsibility  than worker of other age groups
  • 68 percent feel that millennials are less motivated to take on responsibility and produce quality work compared to their counterparts
  • Nearly half (46 percent) think millennials are less engaged at work than other employees

    “The idea that younger workers are not as engaged or motivated as older workers is interesting from a management perspective, but may be shortsighted,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer at Workplace Options. “The attitudes reflected in this poll may stem, in part, from the responsibilities younger workers typically have as more junior employees, but this is certainly a trend to monitor.”


    “The new challenge for managers is not only finding ways to engage millennials in workplace culture, but also bridging the gaps that exist between employees of different age groups,” he explained.

    A Tough Self Examination

    The results of the Workplace Options poll show that while older workers are not yet impressed with the work ethic of their younger counterparts, millennials do not completely disagree with their colleagues’ overall assessment.


    Among only millennial respondents:

  • 59 percent agreed that their generation has a different attitude toward workplace responsibility than their peers
  • 55 percent acknowledged that workers of their generation are generally less motivated to take on more responsibility
  • More than a third (34 percent) reported that millennial workers are less engaged than older workers

    “Compared to the results across all age groups, these self-assessments do not paint a completely different picture,” Debnam said. “Workplaces are currently going through a ‘changing of the guard’ with new technology and new ways of doing business being implemented every day. As these changes take place and millennials grow into new roles that come with more senior responsibilities, these perceptions around attitudes and productivity will likely change across the board.”


    The Technology Trump Card

    Aside from the engagement aspects of the poll, 78 percent of workers agreed that millennials are more tech-savvy in the workplace than other generations, and 70 percent of all respondents (including 85 percent of millennials) consider this technological edge to be an inherent career advantage.


    “Technological abilities are a sense of confidence for younger workers, as they should be,” Debnam said. “Workplace managers are now being faced with questions about how to integrate technology into their business, not only from a productivity perspective, but also for talent recruitment. Younger workers want to be able to use their skill sets, and the dynamics of the American workforce are changing rapidly to afford them this opportunity.”


    The national survey was conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling, September 8-11. The survey polled 637 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/-3.9%.


    To learn more about the employee solutions provided by Workplace Options, please visit Also, follow us on Twitter at @workplaceoption and visit Workplace Options' YouTube channel at




    About Workplace Options

    Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal needs to become healthier, happier and more productive, both personally and professionally. The company’s world-class employee support, effectiveness and well-being services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care and stress management to clinical services and wellness programs.


    Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support services and work-life provider. Service centers in Raleigh, N.C., London, Toronto, Dublin, Singapore, Panama, and Tokyo support more than 46 million employees in over 34,000 organizations, across more than 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit


    © 2014 Workplace Options, Inc. All rights reserved.