How to Keep Millennial Employees Engaged 2.0

Apr 03, 2018

You guys asked for it, so here it is! Part two of our discussion on millennial employee engagement. Why is this a two-part convo? Because it’s fascinating, complicated, and incredibly important!

Last month we talked about how to keep the “Job-Hopping Generation” from leaving your organization.

We discussed ways to lay the solid groundwork that included:  

  • Making authentic connections.
  • Linking work and contributions to a broader purpose.
  • Providing access to a diverse array of learning and development opportunities.
  • Demonstrating fairness in promotion and advancement decisions.

As discussed last month, research shows that by the year 2025, millennials will make up over 75% of the workforce. What I want to talk about today are more tangible day-to-day activities that will attract, and keep, millennial employees.

 From the discussions I have had with thousands of clients, and a gazillion candidates, here is what I know works best:  

Nix the 9-5. Purposeful labor is the name of the game. It’s been proven through research that millennial employees will choose workplace flexibility over higher pay. College students, new parents, and even entrepreneurial-minded employees all benefit from flexible hours. You already know that your millennial employee is on their email 24/7 so why not offer them a later start time when they need it, or implement a half day Friday once a month?

Flex on Your Dress Code. Do you remember as a child being forced to wear your ‘Sunday best’ for church, family reunions, or on picture day? I recall feeling like an alien in my lacy dresses and ringlet hair. Telling your employees how to dress can elicit similar feelings. If you have flexibility in your dress code, you are letting your valued team members know that you trust their judgment when it comes to professionalism while still allowing them to express who they are. Allowing authenticity is more important than you may think. I mean, if Steve Jobs could rule the world in a turtleneck do we really need to stuff our employees into a black suit every day?

Get Out of the Office.  Over 70% of millennials polled by say they want their co-workers to be their second family. This desire to connect means incorporating a bit of fun in the form of social events, group volunteering, or friendly in-office competitions. Take your team to an Escape Room, and you’ll learn more about their personalities in one hour than you may have learned all year long.  

Be a Mentor vs. a Boss. According to, 79% of millennial employees would like their boss to behave as a mentor to them. You are at the top for a reason which means that you should share your depth of knowledge and spread the love! Be an advocate for someone’s career growth and their dedication towards you is sure to skyrocket.  

Encourage their Side Hustle. You don’t want a side-gig to interfere with your employee’s performance on the job. With some boundaries in play, you can surely benefit from your employee’s interest in gaining new skills and further financial security. When I found out that my recruiter was also a fantastic graphic designer, I started asking her to help me with some of our company’s creative needs. This request made her feel valued, and she is still with me today, performing a variety of tasks!

The Bottom Line. When you can offer flexibility, while setting reasonable limits, everyone wins.

We have an incredible pool of candidates who span all generations. If you need help with finding your next long-term hire, you know who to call!