10 Ways to Motivate and Retain Millennial Employees

Emily Patz
Emily Patz
Posted October 25, 2018 in Employee Motivation

According to the Pew Research Center, more than one in three members of the US labor force are millennials.

As the largest generation working today, it’s important to consider what millennials value as you seek to expand your team and invest in the future leaders of your company.

Lead with Transparency

Often in roles that are responsible for executing the high-level initiatives of the leadership team, millennials value transparency when it comes to business goals and knowing how their contributions affect the big picture. You can achieve a good working relationship with millennials by looping them into planning meetings involving projects where they’ll be doing the heavy lifting. This demonstrates how much you value their hustle, and in turn, they’ll work that much harder to make the project a success.

Invest in Career Development Opportunities

Millennial employees are always looking to add to and enhance their skill sets. To show them that your company is a place where they can work and learn, develop a robust career development program with a plethora of options. This can include affordable, anytime classes online from Skillshare, partnerships with local colleges, tickets to industry conferences, and a company-wide mentorship program that pairs millennials with members of leadership who can help guide their growth path.

Millennial male employee enhancing his skill sets at a laptop

Provide Frequent Feedback and Reward Regularly

Rather than waiting for an annual review, millennial employees prefer frequent, on-the-spot feedback. The guidance you provide per-assignment can help a millennial employee tweak their processes, expand their perspective, and avoid errors much more quickly than the traditional scheduled performance review. When they do a great job, millennials crave recognition and rewards to feel appreciated year round, so make sure you’re always prepared to show star players how much you care.

Make a Habit of Hiring Internally

If millennials don’t think they can grow with your company, they’ll go elsewhere. That’s why it’s not only important to prep them to move forward through career development opportunities, you should also encourage them to apply for new or opening positions that will be considered a promotion for them. Consider reserving some openings for internal candidates only, and if you anticipate an upcoming opportunity, put an interested employee in a position to succeed by allowing them to intern during some of their time in the office and work their way up to the job.

Create Stylish Spaces Built for Collaboration

Not only do millennials appreciate feedback from their supervisors, they also like to solicit the opinions of their peers and collaborate with subject matter experts on high-impact projects. By designing an office environment that brings people together, millennial employees can feel comfortable leveraging gathering spaces to schedule working meetings, hold review and feedback sessions, and take care of business on project-based teams comprised of contributors from different departments.

Millennial female employees gathering in a collaborative workspace

Focus on Millennial-Minded Benefits

Cash-strapped from college loans, millennials value benefits that lighten the load of learning more like tuition reimbursement and professional development. Other perks that pack a punch include free office snacks, fitness discounts, a pet-friendly office environment. For millennials who are ready to settle down, progressive parental leave policies can make or break their decision to stay or leave their current job. Want to know how your benefits stack up? Send out a survey to see which benefits they love, which benefits you lack, along with benefits you can swap for something more appealing.

Allow for Work-Life Balance

Due to the strengthening job market, many millennials see their jobs as temporary, as the transition from one job to the next is easier than ever. A 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey revealed that 43% of this jetsetting generation plan to leave their current jobs within two years, and recent headlines tell stories of high-paid millennials ditching their day jobs for long term travels. If this trend continues, think about how you can create a culture that encourages employees to take time off to recharge and prevent burnout.

Male and female millennial enjoying work-life balance by traveling

Implement Work from Home Days

Tech-savvy and constantly plugged-in, millennial employees believe that work can be done from anywhere at any time. To combat the constricting nature of a 9-5 schedule, consider offering employees set work from home days that save them time and money commuting, as well as promote focus by allowing them to work in their own space. If you’re on the fence about this practice, start by offering a single day a week and see how it goes. Chances are, the work will be done, and everyone will be pleased!

Host Regular Happy Hours

What better way for millennial employees to wind down the day than enjoying a drink with their coworkers? Office happy hours not only contribute to employee happiness, they also foster an environment that enables people from neighboring departments to get to know one another in a personal way, which can lead to improved collaboration and increased productivity.

Budget for Quarterly Departmental Offsites

Breaking away from the desk to spur creativity means the world to millennial employees, who thrive in social environments and gravitate toward group exercises. To make the day even more productive as well as save time on planning, get buy-in from everyone on the team and allow them to vote for their next destination.

Millennial employees enjoying an off-site outing

When In Doubt, Ask

Afraid you’re missing the mark when it comes to millennial employees? Instead of assuming how they perceive your company, its culture, and their growth path in your organization, ask them how they feel. That way, you can confidently implement changes and enhance existing programs, and your millennial employees will feel heard and valued.

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