How Companies Can Change Their Culture to Attract (and Retain) Millennials

By business.com editorial staff,
business.com writer
| Updated
Jun 11, 2020
Image Credit: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Do you want more millennials to join and remain loyal to your company? Here's how to recruit and keep this age group.

  • Since much of today's workforce consists of millennials, finding ways to attract and retain this often-unpredictable demographic is vital.
  • Although many people view millennials as an enigmatic generation, they tend to want mostly the same benefits as previous generations and crave the same security and stability in the workplace.
  • To attract and retain more millennial workers, companies should remember that they like traditional work environments, value professional growth and development, and prefer a more flexible work schedule.

Millennials make up much of the modern workforce, with their presence continuing to rise. It's crucial for companies to adjust to this generation to attract and retain talent. However, not all companies are concerned about appealing to them, leading to high millennial turnover rates. According to Gallup, this costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually.

Businesses need to consider what current and future workers expect from their employers today. Here's what you should know to attract and retain millennials.

1. They aren't that different from other generations.

While society often labels millennials as whiny and lazy, demanding far too much and offering the bare minimum in return, statistics show otherwise.

According to research by Robert Half, millennials want the same basic benefits as other generations: growth opportunities, job stability and a competitive salary. However, the degree to which they desire these perks is much higher.

"Millennial workers can be described as pragmatists," said Brett Good, senior district president for Robert Half. "Having grown up during a time of economic instability, more than any generation since the Great Depression, they crave both financial and workplace security. Specifically, they seek fair compensation and ample benefits, including healthcare coverage."

2. They prefer traditional company culture.

Good noted that millennials prefer a traditional office setting, but with flexibility and work-life balance initiatives. In the Robert Half study, 44% of respondents said they prefer to work in a private office, and 74% prefer face-to-face communication over texting, emailing and instant messaging.

"Millennials like the freedom to accomplish their tasks, but they also prefer to collaborate with their colleagues as a team," said Good.

"Create a company culture where colleagues work together toward a meaningful goal and where team members' voices can be heard," added Adrian Ridner, CEO and co-founder of Study.com. "Provide opportunities for cross-training so employees can grow and work with other teams."

Since remote work is more accessible today, many employees find themselves always on, constantly connected to their work email or available for business calls. A positive company culture that encourages work-life balance and flexibility will help millennials feel less pressure to meet these societal standards.

It's also important to build relationships with your workers, engaging them with new initiatives and understanding their personalities and interests.

"Perks do help, but building a fun, friendly and collaborative company culture is key," said Ridner. "Millennials want to feel connected to their company and their team, so plan company outings [and] team-building activities to keep employees engaged and allow them to bond with their co-workers outside of a work environment."

3. They value professional growth and development.

"This generation of employees are keen on career opportunities that provide career growth and development," said Good. "They want to hit the ground running and seek to learn, contribute and develop their skills."

Managing employees requires more than just delegating tasks and keeping tabs on assignments. It's your job as a leader to push your team to learn and gain confidence. You can do this by providing training, continued education, on-demand learning, job rotation opportunities or mentorship.

"Millennials are driven and ambitious, and more of them will start moving into leadership positions," said Ridner. "Offer training that can help millennials develop their leadership and management skills."

For this, Ridner recommends short videos or access to current leaders as mentors rather than long sessions with monotonous instructors.

"The opportunity to learn and grow is key for millennials," he said. "Offer opportunities for continuous learning, and give millennials the flexibility to try new things. Support them when they want to take risks. Give them the opportunity to test new things and learn from any failures."

4. They want to make a difference.

For many millennials, a job is not just a salary – it's a lifestyle. More employees are channeling their passions at work, focusing on emotional rewards rather than monetary incentives.

"First and foremost, be mission-driven," said Ridner. "Millennials want to feel good about their work and make an impact on society at large. Highlight the way your company gives back at the forefront of your initial conversations with talent."

If a millennial does not feel personally connected to their company, they likely won't stick around, added Ridner. Retaining employees is just as important as attracting them, so be sure to align your mission with your workers and create a platform for their voice.

5. They seek flexibility in scheduling.

According to Berke, most millennials are not fond of the rigid 9-to-5 schedule. They prefer to work for companies that allow them to work a variety of shifts or to work remotely for at least part of their weekly schedule. Additionally, millennials tend to enjoy travel and often need jobs that will allow them to take a few days off here and there to rest and recharge.

6. They want a mobile-friendly hiring experience.

Given that millennials are known for using their phones for virtually everything, make sure that your company is as mobile-friendly as possible. For instance, you definitely want to ensure that your chosen career site is readable on smartphones. Many millennials prefer to search for and seek jobs in the midst of various other activities throughout the day, so many view these sites on the go. You may also opt to communicate with candidates via text, chats or emails, as these are all smartphone-friendly methods.

business.com editorial staff
business.com editorial staff
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