Millennial employees – Today’s workforce, tomorrow’s leaders: How to engage and retain millennial employees

Millennial employees are here to stay, and here are our tips on engaging and retaining today’s workforce so they become tomorrow’s leaders.

Our eBook, The Millennial Mindset: How to Attract and Retain Millennial Employees, explores how to engage and retain millennial employees, and it addresses the monumental shift we’re seeing in the way the large majority of the global workforce perceives, demands and expects to be treated by employers. This is a new breed. A generation that’s prioritising self-preservation and meaningful careers over financial gain.


Revamp, rework, remodel

“By 2020 millennials will form 75% of the world’s workforce” (PwC)


This is a reality that employers must adapt to if they are to retain their employees and evoke loyalty to their business. Many are already ahead of the game, introducing innovative management structures that play to each individual’s strengths and idiosyncratic needs.

Tanya Korobka, Millennial Marketing and Workplace Consultant at Lucky Attitude says that with the right attitude, companies attract (and retain) the right people:


“Organisations need to encourage bottom-up company culture, which is based on the idea that initiatives for change should come from employees not management. No matter what industry we’re talking about, it’s time for companies to get more personal with their employees and customers.”


Traditional business practices are fading. Employers are offering millennials flexible working hours, leisure and experiential benefits – such as gym membership and cinema tickets – and an internal coaching system that values them both as people and employees.


The Millennial Mindset

If you dig deeper, you will also find that millennial employees boast passion, entrepreneurialism, ambition, spontaneity, a social conscience, a global view, technological adeptness…and many other assets.

The generation-Y differentiators are clear. Research has shown that baby-boomers identify their strengths as organisational memory, optimism, and a willingness to work long hours. These strengths have played well to ageing organisations with large corporate hierarchies of the past.

David Cruickshank, Global Chairman of Deloitte explains…


“In my generation, most people viewed their careers as long-term at one or two companies, but millennials are a lot more demanding in terms of themselves and expectations at work. They want the places they work for to match their values, they want to be stretched, their tolerance of things they don’t agree with is pretty low, and they are certainly a lot more choosy when it comes to where they work.”  


Millennial employees are switched on. They’re eager to show their worth, but unwilling to sacrifice their time, health and ideologies to do so. In our connected world – a world where personal well being has emerged as a priority – this is a generation that’s simply flat out refusing to sell its soul to employers to make a quick buck.

So how can employers transcend traditional, professional paradigms? How can they beckon in a new era of fluid, versatile management that puts precedence on nurturing young talent and helping it grow in the right direction?


Engage your millennial employees


The millennial employers making all the right noises

Rules kill innovation

US video streaming company, Netflix, ripped up the rule book when it comes to employee holidays. Salaried employees can take as much time off as they like, whenever they want to take it – as long as their managers know where they are, and their work is up to date.

As Steve Swasey, Netflix’s vice-president for corporate communication has said:


“Rules and policies and regulations and stipulations are innovation killers. People do their best work when they’re unencumbered. If you’re spending a lot of time accounting for the time you’re spending, that’s time you’re not innovating.”


Hootsuite nurtures gurus

Hootsuite’s founder Ryan Holmes has deliberately tried to avoid creating traditional hierarchies, giving teams more power rather than having a layer of management which dictates to others.

A key part of this is Hootsuite’s ‘guru track’, designed to harness and nurture individual’s skills beyond managerial roles. As Holmes told Fortune:


“Managing people is a specific skill set. Not everyone has it. Not everyone wants to develop it. And there’s a strong case to be made that shunting top performers down a one-size- fits-all management track is hardly the most effective use of company resources.”


Bigger budgets, bigger projects, bigger problems

The formalised ‘guru track’ means individuals are able to progress up the organisation and see their rewards increase commensurately without having to move into a management role. Instead they may be given larger budgets or bigger projects to work on, or be tasked with solving specific problems. As Holmes commented:


“The result is a potential win-win for employee and employer. Exceptional employees get to continue doing what they do best while also getting a clear path for advancement. The organisation itself, in turn, improves its odds of retaining top talent.”


Cisco snaps up new talent

Global technology company, Cisco, has 70,000 employees all over the world. In May 2016 it began using Snapchat to strengthen its employer brand. As Carmen Collins, social media manager for Cisco’s Talent Brand Team says, the company asked,


“How, as a brand, would we take the personal connections with our employees and our technology, and tell the stories with their voice so that we could attract more great employees?”


‘Super ambassadors’ were spotted…

Cisco identified 30 super ambassadors, who naturally use social media to extol the virtues of working for the company. These employees run the Cisco account on Snapchat, posting videos and photos based on a pre-agreed content calendar, embracing everything from conferences and meetings to office tours and food.


What’s the secret?

Millennials are not just today’s workforce, but tomorrow’s leaders. 2020 is not far off, and if predictions are correct, companies need to compete hard for this emerging wave of talent.

The secret is not to talk at millennials, but to engage in dialogue and really listen. We know more about this generation than any previous group, and employers have an unprecedented chance to use this intelligence to strengthen their offering to the millennial employee.

After all, millennials are not half as frightening as they might at first seem.

And what’s more, they’re here to stay.


For more on millennial employees and their expectations of employers, click below!

Download eBook

<< Back to all posts