Understanding the millennial mindset

When you hear people talk about millennials, the popular opinion is that they’re entitled, selfish, lazy, impatient and needy. Take your pick.

Millennials - or Generation Y - are basically anyone born after 1984, joining the workforce in the year 2000+. Contrary to popular opinion, the majority of young people out there are great additions to every team, bringing new thinking and expectations to the workplace. The problem with this though is their values and expectations then don’t necessarily align with the corporate ideals that for decades have just been a given.

What can millennials bring to your business?

Millennials are newer to the workforce, yet to become jaded by working life and enthusiastic to get involved. They’re more concerned with aligning themselves with company values and being interested in their work. But most importantly, they’re enthusiastic to start carving out a career for themselves.


Unlike other generations, they have grown up using technology. They take to learning using technology and multiple online platforms much quicker than other demographics and are generally more tech savvy.

While they’re still relatively green in business, they want to learn and want to make an impact. This can only help your business (as it is already within the wider economy).

Problems with the millennial mentality

MMillennials have been branded a generation that is entitled. They’ve grown up being encouraged to follow their dreams and are taught they can achieve anything they want to. Combining this with the instant gratification culture of social media, there’s a big disconnect with their ideals, and the reality of work life. Everyone is entitled to do what they want, and they’re able to do that instantly. This mindset doesn’t align that well to traditional workplaces a problem that garners millennials labels like entitled, lazy, and impatient.

This leads to the biggest problem businesses face with millennial employees. Almost 47% of millennials are likely to leave their current job within a year, compared to 33% of Generation X and 25% of Baby Boomers. Millennials aren’t sticking around in one job, they’re going out, getting experience and finding ways for their careers to progress.

You can’t avoid hiring millennials. They make up the majority of the current workforce for a start, but also offer loads of ex positive things to offer to your business. However, you don’t want to use your time and resources to train someone, only for them to leave within the next year.

What can you do to encourage Millennials to stay put?

What do millennials want? There’s a huge misconception here. Millennials are often reduced to wanting beer taps and bean bags, when actually most are concerned about whether a job is going to get them on the ladder and help their career to progress.

Obviously you can’t just give millennials a golden ticket to their dream job, a career is something that is built up over time. It’s the instant gratification culture that causes millennials to look elsewhere. To counter this, you have to make them aware of the things that your company has to offer.

Here’s an insight to the type of incentives that have proved to be popular with millennials.

Talk about the long term

Make your employees aware that you’re thinking about them being around for the long haul. If they can visualise a future for themselves at your company, they will be much more secure and feel as though they’re on the right track. Include this in your job descriptions as well, some candidates may be put off by the lack of indication about the future.

Provide training and networking opportunities

Give your employees opportunities and experiences that will enhance their skillset and give way for promotions and opportunities in the future, such as any courses, events, training or responsibilities that will benefit their skillset in the future.

Use incentives to reward good work

73% of millennials are motivated by personal benefits beyond pay. This might include free lunches, gym memberships, extra holiday or even hangover days!

A personalised experience

Millennials are responsive to feedback and praise. It’s important to set aside one-on-one time with managers to discuss and review how they’re getting on at the company and what their future is looking like. Having a more personal relationship will also build loyalty to the company.

Opportunities outside of the office

Millennials aren’t as willing to live the 9 to 5 life as previous generations are. With technology, working remotely is much more possible now and there’s a big push towards freelance and contract gigs amongst young people. Having flexible working hours and working from different locations is highly appealing to millennials, so they can achieve a better work and life balance.

Millennials are unaffected by blanket incentives like better parental leave etc., You need to offer incentives that are personal to this demographic. A one size fits all approach with uncertain future prospects will not appeal to millennial candidates, and definitely won’t help to make sure they stick around.

With millennials being the current generation of workers, they will continue to shape the workplace in the coming years. They aren’t going anywhere! It’s important to assess what they’re looking to get out of their career, and what you can offer them. All demographics have different wants and needs, and it’s your job to give your candidates an offer that speaks to their own personal lifestyle.

Hopefully this has given you a better understanding of what millennials are wanting from their employer, as well as some ideas for steps you can take to create a workplace that will make millennials want to stick around.