How Motivation Can Help Millennials/Gen Zers Avoid Burnout in the Post Pandemic Age


Why are Tech Titans and Business Leaders Worried About the Post Pandemic Workforce?

Why are so many Millennials (those aged between 25 and 40) and Gen Zers (aged below 25 years) burning out and leaving the workforce in these Pandemic times? What explains the trend of the Great Resignation wherein half of these age cohorts want to quit their jobs to do something “meaningful” and “fulfilling”?

Why did the Tennis Ace, Naomi Osaka and the Gymnast, Simone Bales, drop out midway, through the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics? To the point, why are so many of these “youngsters” feeling “lost” in their jobs and hence, looking to “give up”?

While Psychologists and Organizational Behavioral experts are still “divided” over the exact reasons for these worrying trends, it is clear that more often than not, lack of motivation and the feeling of fatigue and stress are taking a toll.

Indeed, these aspects have become so acute that worried Tech Titans and Business Leaders such as Sundar Pitchai of Google and Satya Nadella of Microsoft ( to name a few) have gathered their fellow CEOs (Chief Executive Officers) to discuss on ways and means of preventing burnout in the Post Pandemic Workforce.

Is Work From Homw (WFH) and Remote Work, a Boon or a Bane? A Middle Path of Hybrid Work Helps

No doubt, WFH or Work from Home arrangements has a role to play, both in a positive and negative way. For instance, WFH is being blamed for the reluctance of many of the Under 40 Professionals to return to Physical Offices, as they fear losing their freedom and flexibility. Moreover, research by Microsoft Workforce Trends, has shown that no commute, and the ability to Work from Anywhere has “liberated” the workforce from the “drudgery” of 9 to 5 Desk Office Routines.

In addition, in India, Remote Work has allowed many professionals from rural areas to return home and experience a newfound interest in their jobs.

What this means is that perhaps, Corporates and their Honchos, can explore making remote work a permanent or at least, Hybrid Work Models, the norm, rather than the exception. Hybrid Work, as defined, is a combination of Onsite and Remote Work that helps to keep the workforce motivated and engaged.

On the other hand, Remote Work and WFH is also contributing to a sense of “isolation” and a feeling of “disconnection” among the workforce, especially the Millennials and the Gen Zers, for whom, the invaluable learning from Face to Face interactions with their Peers and Coworkers as well as their Bosses, is robbing them of such experiences, that too in a formative phase of their careers.

Perhaps, Tech Titans like Pitchai and Nadella, should rope in Visionary Business Leaders to help the struggling Gen Zers, feel more at home (literally and figuratively) as the Pandemic ebbs and surges, with all the glorious uncertainties, of what’s next.

Moreover, HR or Human Resources Managers too have a role to play, as coming from a Psychology/Behavioral background; they can understand human nature better and hence, design the Work and the Pay and Perks, accordingly.

How Applying the Theories of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Can Help Corporates

This is where Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation come into play. The former is defined as how we motivate ourselves, through our inner desires and needs for fulfillment, purpose, meaning, and intellectual gratification.

Extrinsic Motivation, on the other hand, is defined as how we are attracted to better pay, nice perks, and the rewards and recognition that come with achievement and success.

So, theory says that all of us have a mix of inner and outer needs, through which we push ourselves and succeed in our personal and professional lives.

While some of us might hanker after Money and Fame or Power, others might want to be the Next Einstein or Edison, who can change the world through the Inner Needs of Intellectual and Altruistic Impulses.

How do Corporates figure out ways and means to motivate their workforce in these Tough Times?

To start with, a Work Life Balance Program can be introduced, where the employees work and play at the same time. Remember the saying, All Work and No Play Makes us dull.

In addition, generous perks such as vacation bookings and leisure getaways can be introduced as well.

On the other hand, Gen Zers especially, would need to be mentored and the Millennials motivated through higher responsibility and challenging work.

Of course, all these motivators must be present in a Mix and Match fashion, which requires imagination and creativity from the HR and the Reporting Managers.

When everything fails, Corporates should consider “timeouts” and breaks from work such as what Osaka and Bales did, so that the workforce has a chance to refresh and rejuvenate them. Better is to hire some Psychologists/Psychiatrists who can bring in the much needed expert view to understand why the Millennials and the Gen Zers are burning out and quitting en masse.

Conclusion

Stress and Burnout have been with us since time immemorial. However, what is different now is that they have become so endemic that they threaten the Future of Business and Society. While it is a good sign that the Biggies are concerned, perhaps more support from societal groups and governmental agencies can help before it is too late. To conclude, Corporates cannot afford a Lost Generation, especially during an Epochal Once in a Century Pandemic that can leave them scarred for life.



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