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8 ways to keep star millennials in your workforce

Speaking as a millennial, I can say that we’re a generation presumptuous enough to expect our work to work for us.

Speaking as a millennial, I can say that we’re a generation presumptuous enough to expect our work to work for us. What I mean by that is that while we know it’s necessary to work to earn a living, we’re fairly adamant that that work should also be stimulating, rewarding, and life-enhancing. We grew up being told that we can achieve anything we want, after all.

There are just a handful of years left before millennials will tip the 50% mark and dominate the workforce. So now more than ever before older executives need to address the unique characteristics of millennials in their companies’ retention strategies. This means finding ways to not only work with millennials, but also make the workplace work for us, because we are not going to stick to a job if the experience of working does not fit in with our personal sense of fulfilment, calling, or life vision. Quality of life simply ranks too highly with us.

So here are 8 red-hot tips on how to make millennials happy at your company so that we’re inspired to loyalty and commitment (which, by the way, is something many of us want):

1. Pay us what we’re worth

Whatever else I argue, this is always going to be among the top three most important factors. We want a pay cheque that allows us to live the sort of lifestyle we desire.
Good compensation moreover equals appreciation in our minds. We millennials want to know we’re valued, and our pay cheques are often felt to be the most important indicators of this.

2. Don’t ever stop challenging us

Millennials grow bored easily. We like to keep things current. To multi task. Run with new technologies. Evolve.
With that being the case, if you let your company stagnate, or suppress our youthful out-of-the-box thinking, then we’ll start to look elsewhere for employment. Recognise our unique offerings, and allow us to branch out, be creative, define new roles, and stretch ourselves and the company.
Since technology plays a major role in our lives, if you want to keep us you can’t cling to old processes and systems when newer ones could prove better. We don’t want to be left behind in trends, and we’re actually one of your most valuable assets in terms of helping you to assimilate relevant ones.

3. Support our growth

We’re an ambitious generation, even if that ambition looks different from yours. Help us to see opportunities for growth in the organisation, but don’t make them too far away – we’re not so interested in possible senior positions 20 years from now as we are in exciting opportunities a few months or years from now.

Note that we enjoy attending conferences and workshops that introduce us to new skills, allow us to network, and enhance our skills, so don’t neglect such opportunities.

4. Provide us with mentors

Millennials are accused of many things, including lacking many of the quality traits of elder generations. Well, mentors are a great way of transferring said qualities. And from our side, we’re still trying to figure things out and a mentor can offer invaluable insights as well as important work and emotional support.

The best of us want to learn. And when we have someone high up who can champion us and help us find our sweet spot in the company, we’re more likely to achieve and perform well for you.

5. Help us achieve a good work-life balance

We all want a Google office equivalent: dynamic, exceptional, and generous (with a few sleep pods thrown in!). Our grandparents would probably think us soft, but we see the focus on a good work-life balance as healthy and progressive.

So what can you do as the employer? For starters, offer flexible work hours, so that employees don’t have to sit in peak traffic, miss seeing their kids off to school, etc. This could also include the occasional work-from-home day when appropriate, so moms don’t have to skip work if they have a sick child, and so on. You’ll have to trust us a bit, but it’s worth it. And Big Brother vibes really tick us off anyway.

Furthermore, don’t skimp on leave, paid overtime, and perks. Our time is very precious to us.

6. Help us with our health

Having a gym and showers in the workplace can seriously up the value of a company in the eyes of millennials. Many of us would love to fit a quick run into our lunch hour, or be able to exercise somewhere that’s not a far drive from where we work, or establish walking and running groups with colleagues because a post-exercise shower is an option.

Providing healthful eateries or eating options is also another big plus. We’re very health conscious.

7. Provide a way for us to give back

Whether through the work itself or CSI opportunities, we millennials are socially aware and want effective ways of contributing towards the wellbeing of our society and planet. We want to feel we’re doing something that matters, and that matters to us very much. ln fact, it often matters more to us than our salaries, or at least in equal measure.

8. Let there be fun

We see having fun as an integral part of the good life. We want to laugh in the office, play the odd prank, and be sociable. Companies that play together certainly have a higher chance of staying together. So organise staff outings, activities, and more – be creative. Make us feel that we’re part of something unique and special.

In keeping with this, don’t be so formal when it’s not required, and don’t regulate small matters that don’t really matter. Let us ‘be’, as it were. We prize individuality and self-expression.

Finally, let me say this, and I mean it kindly: enough with talking about us as though we’re a troublesome generation. Every generation has its collective strengths and weaknesses. It’s tiresome to hear a broken record of our shortcomings. There are great things about us too.

I believe the company leaders that like us and take us as we come – theirs are the companies that will succeed in the long term, because the best of us may well stick around to help make it happen!


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