By Sean Fogarty
Millennials are loosely defined as the 75 million young adults born between 1980 and 2000 and make up about one-third of today’s U.S. workforce. Although this generation has been called everything from “innovative” to “entitled,” the recent “Stress in America” study from the American Psychological Association has different label for them: Stressed.
According to this survey, which has measured the stress of Americans since 2007, stress levels decreased across the board in 2012 except for those between the ages of 18 and 33. On the survey’s 10-point scale, where a 10 indicates ‘a great deal of stress,’ the average stress level of all Americans was 4.9. For millennials, it was 5.4. Millennials reported their top stressors as work (cited by 76%), money (73%) and relationships (59%).
An employee assistance program — through short-term counseling and work-life benefits, such as financial consultation — can have a positive impact on the aforementioned stressors. After reading this survey, I wanted to determine if there was any correlation between the study’s results and CuraLinc’s book of business EAP utilization data for 2012. What I found was interesting, to say the least:
• Millennials do have job stress. Despite only representing 29% of all EAP users, those between 18 and 33 years old constituted almost half (48%) of EAP cases where the primary presenting concern was ‘Job Stress’.
• Millennials are resolution-focused. Case resolution within the EAP was higher with Millennial employees (95%) than it was among all other age groups (87%).
• Millennials have personal financial concerns. Two in five cases (41%) involving financial consultation through the EAP were provided to Millennials, even though those between 18 and 33 years old made up only 29% of EAP users.
• Promoting benefits to Millennials requires a multi-pronged approach. Employees between the ages of 18 and 33 were twice as likely to learn about the EAP through electronic promotion (email messaging, a client’s web portal, eFlyers, etc.) than other generations.
In a nutshell, the trends across CuraLinc’s book of business are consistent with the findings in the APA’s “Stress in America” survey. Millennials will seek assistance from an EAP for their job stress – and will maximize their time with the program by focusing on resolution.
The key to leveraging this information into an actionable plan is to tailor a communication strategy that drives maximum awareness of the program to millennials. This approach should combine traditional EAP promotional vehicles such as brochures, flyers and orientation sessions with a technology-based marketing approach.
In 2025, three in four working Americans will be Millennials. By helping them manage stress and anxiety in their 20s and 30s, they’ll be more productive and better-equipped to assume leadership positions down the road.