5 Tell-Tale Signals That Tell You When it’s Time to Fire your Millennial Employee

Is it time to fire your millennial employee? A bad employee is a bad employee, whether it’s a baby boomer, Generation X, or a millennial. We all know how “one rotten apple can spoil the barrel,” and you don’t want that in your company, do you?

Managers are in every organization have the unenviable task of identifying bad employees and the unpleasant task of firing them. Here, we discuss the tell-tale signals that tell you when it’s time to fire your millennial employee. These signs can be seen in all generations but are more likely to be displayed by millennials employees because they are not as seasoned about the right and wrongs in the workplace.


Sign 1: Poor Communication Skills

In an earlier article, we discussed tips on how to communicate with millennials and the importance of communication in improving workplace productivity. An employee, millennial or not who is unable to connect with fellow co-workers is a liability. They become barriers that stop the flow of ideas, ultimately dragging team performance down.

According to a report released by The Economist Intelligence Unit, poor communication can result in:

  •         Employees reporting higher stress levels 52 percent
  •         Delay or failure to complete a project 44 percent
  •         Low morale 31 percent
  •         Businesses complain of missed performance goal 25 percent
  •         Obstacles to innovate 20 percent
  •         Failure to close a sale 18 percent
  •         Slower career progression 13 percent
  •         Loss of a client 13 percent
  •         Increased enforcement of disciplinary actions to employees 5 percent

Poor communication can have a very negative effect on the workplace and drag overall performance down. With 44 percent of the study’s respondents attributing poor communication for delays and failures in completing projects, a manager who is unable to identify and fire employees with poor communication skills is equally responsible.


Sign 2 Not a Team Player

A common misconception about millennials is they prefer to work independently. This is not far from the truth. Most millennials prefer to work as freelancers opting to work on “gigs” rather than work full-time in a company. Essentially, valuing workplace flexibility.

Managers should inspire creativity and encourage workers to be more proactive. Rather than simply waiting for instructions, employees must take the initiative and act in the company’s best interest. The problem is when employees become too independent or confident in their abilities. 

According to a study by Red Brick Research shows that 80 percent of hiring managers find that millennials have narcissistic tendencies. And more concerning, 27 percent of managers claim that their young employees are not team players.


Sign 3 Planning To Jump Ship

Several studies have shown that millennials are less likely to stay in their current jobs. Compared to earlier generations, they have a higher tendency to hop from one job to the other.

Aside from being vocal about leaving the job for another company, which rarely or never happens, managers should be on the lookout for telltale signs that an employee is leaving. For millennials, it would be a good idea to check their social media accounts if they are posting about wanting to look for a new job. A sudden interest in another company for example could be just be the tip of the iceberg.

Signals that indicate an employee who has plans of jumping ship:

  • Sudden drop in productivity
  • Frequent absences
  • Refuses a promotion
  • Indifference to authorities and co-workers
  • Frequently complains about the job
  • Complains about their salary and says that they deserve better

A report by Gallup on Millennial work habits show that 21 percent of millennials have changed jobs within the past year. This number is three times as high compared to non-millennials. The report also showed that 60 percent of millennials are open to job opportunities and are willing to act on these opportunities. Another disturbing number shows that 36 percent of millennials will be actively seeking new jobs in the next 12 months if the job market improves.

Highlights of the story show that:

  •         Millennials are the most likely generation to switch jobs
  •         Six in 10 millennials are open to new job opportunities
  •         Millennials are the least engaged generation in the workplace

So why should we be concerned with millennials planning to jump ship? According to Gallup, the U.S. economy loses $30.5 billion annually as a result of millennial turnovers. A millennial who is actively searching for new job opportunities is less likely to be productive.

These employees can be described as people in the sidelines just waiting for their next paycheck. People who would immediately run to the door once a better opportunity arrives.


Sign 4 Disrespect To Workplace Authority

An employee who has no genuine interest in his job is more likely to exhibit little or no respect to his seniors. Other factors that could lead to low regard for authority includes being too confident and independent.

Having little or no respect for authority is not a millennial trait. Given the right leadership and motivation, millennials just like any other employee can be trusted to follow the company line. But even with the best leadership, some employees simply display no respect for authority.

Millennials are highly motivated individuals. And if a company does not provide this motivation, they are most likely to disillusioned and remain apathetic to its leadership. Some millennials can be too high- strung and no amount of motivation can keep them onboard. When you see this in your millennial employees then its high time to show them the door.


Sign 5 They’re Always Unhappy

According to a study conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, today’s millennials are the most informed generation. They know their rights and are very vocal about what they want in the workplace, and sometimes “very.”

A happy employee is a productive employee. Millennials prefer workplaces that are “fun.” They also tend to ask for more perks and benefits to make their job more rewarding. Excellent amenities, open workspaces, and perks like gym benefits are just some of the popular demands among millennials. 

Millennials are also all about work-life balance. And we can see in the changing environments in today’s workplace. Employers have started to implement this by making office spaces more “fun” and “open.” This makes it attractive and more importantly keep the growing numbers of millennials in the workplace.

Millennials are very expressive and are more transparent about their unhappiness in the workplace. This can result in poor performance, continually being late or absent at work. However, keep in mind that lack of job satisfaction can easily be seen as a bad attitude at work.


Should You Fire Your Millennial Employee?

Having any of these signs should be a cause of major concern for any manager. However, an employee displaying one or two of these signals isn’t someone you can’t work with. Sometimes it all boils down to leadership or sitting down and simply asking the employee how they feel. An effective leader is someone who can identify these signals and know how to address these immediately and competently.

Should you fire your millennial employee? When these habits become consistent, and you have already tried intervention to fix a poor attitude, then I would say DEFINITELY.

Jeff Butler

Jeff Butler Internationally respected speaker and consultant, Jeff Butler helps bridge generational gaps between Millennials and companies looking for their talent and patronage. Butler has quickly built his reputation as a memorable presenter with tangible solutions for attracting, retaining, and engaging Millennials as employees and customers. Within just the past three years, he has spoken at two TEDx events and multiple Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn.


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