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How to Retain and Engage Millennial Employees

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The bulk of talent working today are from the millennial generation (or younger) and research has shown for Millennials a good salary is no longer the leading factor on where they want to spend their time working.

The opportunity to grow, quality of manager, how interesting the work is and work-life balance are all influential factors in staying or leaving a job for millennials.

Different generations expect different things, and with such a high demand for certain skillsets, your business needs to adapt to match these demands.

It's also an uncertain time for millennials which adds extra pressure. In one study by Deloitte, it was reported that millennials (those aged 23 to 38 in 2019) expectations of the economy are currently at the lowest they have been in 6 years. Millennials are uneasy and aren't afraid to job hop if their current role doesn't match their lifestyle and goals.

What can you do to ensure your company is addressing these issues and fully engaging millennial employees?

If you want the best from your younger workers, you need to adjust to ensure productivity and wellness levels are high.

Here are the key things to be aware of to retain millennial employees into the future:


Flexible working policies are now almost the norm in many industries and are expected by everyone from millennials to baby boomers. Millennials and younger generations have matured in an age of constant connection. Our use of SMS, VOIP, instant messaging, e-mail and social media is all above the international average. We consume & communicate on the go, so why can't we work on the go?

A very important aspect to this is trust - millennials want to be trusted to manage their own workload without being micromanaged or 'stood over'. Think of the big picture, rather than if your employee is at their desk or not.

Open a dialogue with your employees, millennial and otherwise. Ask them what ways of working would work for them, and what ways of working don't work.

Flexible working works differently for different people, however by simply addressing the topic and actioning change your employees will feel heard and valued. Whatever you do don't just stick to the old way of working because that's traditionally been the way.

Work-Life Balance

Millennials & Gen Zs want to work for companies that care about them beyond their output. We want a healthy working environment with clear boundaries between our work and home life. As a millennial myself, I can corroborate the main threads of this.

We want meaningful work, to be part of a bigger picture, to work for a company that assumes responsibility for their actions.

More and more employers are recognising the importance of their role in their employees' wellbeing and how this impacts performance. Offerings of wellness initiatives, everything from flexible working to fitness challenges created for everyone to be able to contribute and participate, show their appreciation for their workforce.

These small things enable millennials to succeed and again make them feel valued and seen within a brand or company.

Professional Development & Feedback

Millennials grew up in a time of rapid change and technological advancement. Aged between 23-38 millennials have lived through the introduction of mobile phones, the internet and social media.

The way other generations worked previously is very different from the way we, millennials, work today. We're used to change and expect it, so help millennial employees feel prepared for the future by providing training and tools. Clear communication, goals and established expectations will all help you get the most out of millennial employees.

Provide clear pathways to progression and set deadlines and clear expectations that will both challenge and reward them. Finally, always use open and transparent communication with continual feedback to ensure that they know how they're doing. Which ties in closely with the next point, the value of mentoring.

A Good Manager & Mentoring Opportunities

58% of millennials consider a great boss extremely important. Qualities millennials and other workers alike seek out include supportive, empowering and engaging managers and managers who genuinely care about them.

Provide training to your managers to ensure they are equipped to offer this kind of relationship to younger employees - one style of management will not work for all within a multi-gen workplace.

Mentors are another great way to engage employees. A mentor offers the qualities of a coach and offers real-life experience and a very interactive opportunity to learn.

To quote our own Client Services Director Siobhan O'Shea, 'A trusted advisor, internally or externally, formal or informally, who has already been through the journey is invaluable. Coaching and Mentor programs create learning and networking opportunities and offer great support to potential leaders.'

This goes back to the desire for trust and genuine meaningful work, not to be micromanaged or talked down to.

In short, Millennials aren't looking for anything unrealistic or achievable - Gen Z-ers also have similar needs from their employment. At the core, they (we) just want to be treated like a person, rather than a cog in a much larger machine.

If you'd like to learn more about hiring or retention strategies please get in touch, we'd be delighted to advise.