Millennials in the Workplace: 11 Ways to Attract and Keep Them

Wondering how to train millennials in the workplace? Conferences and courses are useful, but it’s also about making room for mistakes and feedback. Especially because millennials are still younger and thus less experienced when compared with the overall workforce.

Managing Millennials in the Workplace

Millennials play a vital role in the workforce, accounting for more than one-third of American employees. They’re an ambitious group who often value transparency and work-life balance over salary and title.

Recruiting the millennial generation requires finesse. But it doesn’t end there. The hard work also comes in retaining them. Millennials aren’t known for loyalty to employers, willing to leave for greener pastures and costing businesses untold amounts in lost productivity in the process. Gallup pegs the turnover cost to the economy at $30.5 billion annually. If your business doesn’t want to add to that figure, it is important to understand the ways to keep millennial workers happy, whether they are in the office or working from home.

Who are the millennials?

Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials are the largest living group at 83.1 million strong. They are tech savvy, care about more than just a paycheck, and are accustomed to having a voice and seat at the table. They’re an optimistic group who love social media and want their jobs and encounters to have meaning.

Millennials possess unique characteristics that need to be embraced and harnessed in the workplace if you want to breed loyalty. If you can’t meet their basic needs and provide the right work environment, they will quickly jump ship. From their comfort with technology to their need to collaborate, here are the six characteristics that define millennials in the workplace.

1. They are technology natives.

Millennials grew up with technology, whether that was a laptop, desktop computer or smartphone. They favor email, texting, and messaging apps over phone calls and face-to-face meetings, and they are ready and willing to try new technology and apps. They expect their employers to support technology, especially mobile apps.

2. They crave work-life balance.

Many millennials grew up watching their parents put all their time and effort into a job, only to lose it during the great recession. They also lived through the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. Both of these events influenced their views of work and life.

As a result, millennial employees crave balance between their work and personal lives. Many of them choose flexible hours and the ability to spend time with family and friends over a high salary. This is something small business owners can use to their advantage when competing with deep-pocketed companies for talent

3. They expect collaboration.

The typical millennial worker isn’t the go-it-alone type; they prefer to work with others in the company, often those in other departments. Collaboration is a key tenet of work for millennials – one that may have been more difficult during the pandemic if it weren’t for their comfort with technology. Whether it’s through video conferencing or collaboration apps, millennials need to feel engaged and part of the team even if they are at home.

4. They require a seat at the table.

Millennials grew up having a say in family decisions and expect that same right at the office, regardless of their level within an organization. They want to be heard and respect the companies that give them that ability. That may be difficult for a baby boomer, Generation X or Gen Z boss to accept, but you need to get used to it; millennials are an ambitious group. Give them the path and the rules, and millennials will work hard to achieve their and the business’s goals.

5. They want to keep on learning.

Learning for millennials doesn’t end once they graduate college. This group has a deep passion for learning and a desire to grow in their careers. They value opportunities to learn more and seek mentorship from those who came before them. Companies that provide opportunities for ongoing education and mentorship will likely do a better job of retaining millennial workers than those that don’t.

6. Their loyalty is fickle.

Millennials are a loyal group when a company does right by them. However, they wouldn’t think twice about leaving a company if another one offers them a better opportunity to learn, grow, or balance life and work.

Key takeaway: Millennials in the workplace tend to share certain characteristics that business owners need to embrace. They are tech savvy, want work-life balance, and expect to be heard. They are looking for employers that can provide ongoing education and a career path for them, but beware – company loyalty isn’t their strong suit.

How to Attract and Keep Millennials in the Workplace

1. Improve internal communications

They want ongoing conversations. The way Millennials communicate (texting, tweeting, liking, facetiming, etc.) is now real-time and continuous. This dramatically affects the workplace because Millennials are accustomed to constant communication and feedback.

2. Support diversity

According to Delloitte’s research on Millennials, 69% of employees who believe their senior management teams are diverse see their working environments as motivating and engaging. This is true for only 43% of employees who don’t perceive leadership as diverse.

3. Offer competitive salaries

4. Implement advocacy programs

Millennials are extremely active on Social Media networks. To be precise, 42% of Millennials use Social Media at work. So why wouldn’t employers engage their employees in employee advocacy or social selling programs and reward them for doing so. It’s a win-win for both employers and employees.

5. Build trust

Trust and good relationships are very important for keeping Millennials in the workplace. A research on best workplace for Millennials, says that when Millennials believe their company has a high-trust culture, they’re 22 times more likely to want to work there for a long time.

6. Offer flexibility and remote work

7. Support teamwork and share of voice

8. Digitalize

If there are tools and software that employees can use instead of boring Excel spreadsheets, you should implement them at your companies. Fortunately, modern employee apps provide completely new digital employee experience which significantly impacts employee engagement and productivity.

9. Support learning and development

Employers who encourage employee development have lower turnover rates. Millennials want to advance and learn new things in order to progress in their careers. In addition to teaching them new hard skills, employers have to invest in teaching Millennials personal and interpersonal skills such as communication, patience, coping with pressure and being a team player.

10. Offer career growth opportunities

Therefore, career growth opportunities have a big impact on attracting and retaining Millennials in the workplace. Moreover, LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report states that 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.

11. Empower

As Millennials are the generation that careers a lot about their influence on company’s success, they also want to be empowered. When employees feel that way, as per a survey by TINYpulse, they are 20% more likely to stay in their roles.

Problems With Millennials in the Workplace

It is not easy to attract and retain MIllennials in the workplace. This generation has very specific characteristics, needs and expectations. Therefore, employers have to put extra effort to make them happy, engaged and productive.

Low engagement

High turnover

High turnover cost

Turnover is expensive. Since Millennials tend to change jobs more often than other generations, employer expenses increase. Millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy an estimated $30.5 billion annually.

Sceptics of business motives

Millennials are attracted to employer brands that they admire as consumers. Moreover, 88% were looking for employers with CSR values that matched their own, and 86% would consider leaving an employer whose values no longer met their expectations. (PwC)

High expectations

According to the previously mentioned research, Millennials are looking for a good work/life balance and strong diversity policies but feel that their employers have failed to deliver on their expectations.

Part-timers and freelancers


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