How to Attract and Retain Millennial Employees (A Guide)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 April 2022

As a generation, millennials have unique preferences that have resulted in shifts in consumer behaviour, education and workplace relationships. Millennials can be an integral part of any workforce because of their open-minded approach, their exposure to technology while growing up and their drive to make their work environment culturally diverse and enjoyable. If you have an interest in a human resource (HR) career, it can be helpful to know the skills and traits millennials possess and the factors that can attract them to their careers.

In this article, we discuss what a millennial is, outline how to attract them to the workforce and retain them and explore why they can be important.

What is a millennial?

The term 'millennial' refers to a young adult born between 1981 and 1996. They're the first generation to utilise technology as a focal point of their jobs and the first generation who commonly prioritise flexibility and work-life balance over long-term job security when looking for a career. Millennials are the future of the workforce and, because of this, they can be an important asset to any company.

How to attract and retain millennial employees

The steps below include some ideas on how to attract and retain millennial employees:

1. Allow employees to work remotely

Millennials typically like to maintain a good work-life balance. Allowing employees to work remotely may help encourage this. You can consider allowing employees to work from home regularly. This may mean setting a roster to allocate each team member with one or more days per week to work remotely, depending on what works best for the overall business, their department and team.

Remote work may require certain technology changes to ensure team members can access systems from home and complete their tasks successfully. This software can include mailboxes and phone lines. While this may be a financial output for the business initially, being able to keep your millennial team members long term is likely to outweigh those costs.

Related: Everything You Should Know About Working From Home

2. Create a flexible work schedule

Millennials generally seek flexible work schedules. They often prefer to meet deadlines rather than adhering to a roster that stipulates what time they start and finish. Millennials tend to thrive on self-motivation and being their own boss. Creating a flexible work schedule may be a great way to attract younger employees.

Creating a flexible work schedule can mean that you permit employees to choose their own work hours. This may help promote positive company culture and instil the business's trust in its employees to meet their deadlines. A flexible work schedule can also mean they're able to complete their work at a time that suits them. When millennial employees can choose their own hours, they may be more productive, which can benefit the business's output.

Related: 13 Types of Work Schedules (With Benefits and Challenges)

3. Create a diverse workplace

Millennials are part of an open-minded generation who commonly expect diversity in the workforce. They support all aspects of diversity, including age, culture, physical abilities and disabilities, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. All ranges of diversity can bring unique perspectives to a workforce. As an HR professional or team leader, there are many ways you may promote diversity. These ways can include educating employees on the use of inclusive language to ensure everyone feels valued.

You may also want to consider permitting employees to take additional leave to allow them to acknowledge days of celebration within their culture, besides the days they already have off for national holidays. This can be a good way to show respect for other cultures and religions.

Related: Guide to Workplace Diversity: Meaning, Benefits and Tips

4. Give consistent feedback

Millennials have significant exposure to social media and it can be commonplace for them to receive almost immediate feedback on something they share. Because of this, millennial employees typically like to receive regular feedback at work rather than undertake an annual performance review with their manager. Providing employees with regular feedback on their progress may be a valuable process to adopt.

You can schedule regular meetings with individuals to seek feedback on how they're progressing with their work and to open the lines of communication. This can be a great way to help employees feel valued and ensure they're on the right path to success. You may also consider scheduling more formal annual and quarterly meetings as an opportunity to document goals and targets for your team to work towards.

5. Be open to different management styles

Different generations can respond better to different management styles. For example, younger employees often respond well to the coaching or mentoring style of management. Millennial employees commonly prefer to take their own initiative when scheduling their tasks and organising their time. Managers with a genuine interest in attracting and retaining millennial employees may benefit from practising active listening and being open to the valuable viewpoints millennials can bring to a workplace.

Adopting a management style that considers the requirements of millennials can contribute significantly to a business's ability to recruit and retain employees from this generation.

Related: Management Styles: Overview and Examples

6. Encourage teamwork

Millennials often seek careers where they can genuinely enjoy the time they spend at work. Encouraging teamwork may be beneficial in retaining millennial employees. Setting goals for a team to work towards and ensuring there are days of the week where all team members are in the office together may be a great way to promote a strong team focus.

You may also consider pairing new employees up with someone who has worked in the company for a long time. This can be very helpful for effective onboarding and training. This may also help with bringing new and old employees together and allowing for open communication to encourage creativity and new ideas.

7. Foster meaningful work

Millennials usually enjoy engaging with employers who offer them more than just a career. They typically like to feel like they're contributing to a bigger cause and making a difference. Team members from previous generations are likely to respond well to meaningful work, too. There are many ways you may foster this attitude in your workplace. One example may be to give back to the community by offering employees a few hours a week to volunteer in a community service project while providing them with the security of being paid for these hours by the business.

It can also be a good idea to develop a mission statement for the business if there isn't already one in place. A good mission statement can be a good way to communicate the business's purpose and the differences you want to make within the community. A business's mission statement can be something that attracts younger employees to a company.

8. Encourage open communication

Creating an environment where employees feel like they can share their ideas and talk openly with managers and other team members can be important. Open communication can help team members feel valued. It's also likely to help form strong workplace relationships between team members and encourage them to provide support to one another. As an HR manager or team leader, allowing team members the opportunity to approach you without scheduling a meeting may be a great way to build trust and rapport.

Asking employees for their opinions and input when making decisions that impact the larger company may be another great way to open up communication with your team members. If people see changes made based on things they have discussed with you, they're likely to feel heard and this can help foster a cohesive workplace.

Related: Why Interpersonal Communication Is So Important at Work

Why are millennial employees important in the workplace?

Not only are they a huge part of the current workforce, but millennials also make up a large part of a business's customer base. When working in a management position, knowing and understanding your customers is key to success. Listening to the ideas that millennial employees can bring with them to a business may be beneficial to help you reach the business's target audience.

Hiring millennial employees may also bring new ways of thinking. Millennials are usually tech-savvy, have a digital presence and their positive outlook and transparency typically bring innovative ideas to a career, a team and a business. They seek to add value to their work and look for growth opportunities. Because of this, they can be excellent employees to mentor and promote to leadership roles within the business as the older employees retire.