how to engage and retain millennials

Millennials tend to get a bad rap of being lazy, entitled and disloyal. If even a whisper of this was true, Millennials wouldn’t stand a chance in the job market. Why would anyone want to hire someone like this? Yet, the reality is that 75% of the workforce will be millennials in the next ten years so employers won’t have a choice but to give Millennials a chance.

There will always be a generational gap with a younger population entering the workforce, but this time seems different with the immense rise of technology.

The seemingly negative attitudes portrayed by the younger generation may be perceived as such due to a lack of understanding about why they behave the way they do.

Millennials are not quietly entering the workforce with their behaviors–they’re disrupting it.

Are you ready to hire, engage and retain them?


1. Lazy or Seeking Efficiency?

With the rise of the internet, Millennials have never known a world where there wasn’t an immediate answer to a question they had. They’ve easily adapted to and anticipated using new technology as soon as an improved model or feature was introduced. When they’re forced to complete a task using old technology, or no technology at all, their work process will slow down and they will get frustrated.


What can you do to engage their tech-savvy behavior?

  • Ask them if they know of any technology that can make completing certain tasks more efficient.
  • If they get things done sooner than you expected, give them a research project. It’s always beneficial to be aware of your industry’s trends and to seek new information that could set you apart from your competitors.
  • Give them a task, and don’t tell them how you would do it. Let them problem solve for themselves. Their path to completion may be completely different from the one you’re used to.


2. Entitled or Seeking Feedback?

Their parents and teachers encouraged them to dream big–that they could be anything they wanted to be. They grew up on teams where everyone got a trophy. They also grew up with AOL, chatrooms, and Myspace, when open and immediate two-way communication set the foundation for social media today.

They’re used to having frequent conversations with friends, family, teachers, coaches, etc. about their performance.

Lack of recognition for a job well done may be perceived as disregard for their contribution or that they don’t add value to the organization.


What can you do to engage their need for feedback?

  • A simple “thank you” or “nice job” will be enough to let them know they are performing well. Don’t solely acknowledge poor performance.
  • Create a mentorship with a more experienced colleague from whom they can ask questions and learn as much as possible from.
  • Establish a schedule to review their performance monthly, quarterly, or whatever works best for your company. Talk to them about what they’re doing well, and what particular qualities or skills enable them to perform well. To address poor performance, create goals and specific action steps to take to improve the qualities or skills they’re lacking.


3. Disloyal or Seeking Flexibility?

Workplace flexibility has become a desired trait for many employees–particularly Millennials.

They’re seeking flexible work schedules more often to attain a healthy work-life balance and to be more productive. Night owls can work late when their minds are sharpest, and vice versa with early risers. Again, with the rise of technology, Millennials are accustomed to working from virtually anywhere at any time and may struggle when an employer does not enable them to do so.


What can you do to make your workplace more flexible?

  • If possible, allow telecommuting. Let your employees work from home or another remote location that’s convenient for them. Even if it’s only for a couple of hours, a change of scenery can make all the difference for a productivity boost.
  • Let employees work alternative schedules outside of the 9 to 5 window. Whether it be all the time, or only certain days, allow a full week’s of work to be completed on a schedule that can adapt to each individual’s lifestyle.
  • Consider hiring freelancers. Many Millennials seek side jobs to decrease student loan debt, and assigning a project to someone who is self-employed will allow them to complete it without being restricted to a precise schedule.


Instead of simply accepting the perception that all Millennials are lazy, entitled, or disloyal, work with them to adapt to this new generation’s habits.

Reverse “laziness” by implementing more challenging, non-mundane tasks, and by seeking solutions for technology applications to increase efficiency.

Reverse “entitlement” by having frequent dialogue about performance; this will make employees feel valued and be better workers when they know what they need to improve on.

Reverse “disloyalty” by creating the flexible work environment that Millennials seek.

Millennials are here to stay, and the companies that will engage them in at least one, if not all, of these ways will also experience the benefit retaining more productive and happy employees.

Learn more in our 3-Part  Blog Series:  ‘What Millennials Look for in an Employer’


How are you engaging and retaining millennials? Share with us on Twitter @LTronCorp.