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How To Engage Millennials In Your Workplace

Millennials (or Gen Y) have now surpassed the Baby Boomers in population. In 4 years' time, millennials will make up half of the global workforce.

The key to achieving continuous growth and prosperity in this ever-changing society lies in an organisation's ability to engage and retain millennials. They are afterall, the leaders of tomorrow. How To Engage Millennials In Your Workplace

However, millennials' need for constant connection and dynamism can make them difficult to retain as long term employees.

Effective approaches to maintain millennial engagement

  • Be a contemporary leader, not a superhero1

    Millennials know super-human leaders are unrealistic and unapproachable. They prefer to idolise human qualities; affable and compassionate leaders who can admit their weaknesses, who have experienced failures and are unafraid to share them, and  genuinely want to get to know their employees beyond reports and deadlines.

  • Empower them through the value of work

    The C-suite has lost its allure - no longer enough to retain consistent levels of engagement. For millennials, the value and satisfaction they get from their work is far more significant to them2. Consequently, organisations are distinguished based on how they reward the quality and value of work, and recognise the needs of their employees.

    PwC is a leading firm that asserts the importance of recognising both large and small contributions; implementing a number of non-monetary rewards for employees who stay with the firm, e.g. leadership programs and training for young seniors and managers and offering sabbaticals to senior managers2.

    Embedding a collaborative workplace culture is vital to workplace fulfilment for millennials. It encourages them to connect, collaborate, and build their networks. Regular work events and team activities can build strong teamwork and trust.

    An employer’s corporate responsibility values are important to millennials, and they also value opportunities to make an impact2.

    Millennials fear insignificance1. They want to have a role in the bigger discussion. They want to be involved in the decision-making process, develop concepts and strategies, and want to be acknowledged for their thoughts, ideas and contributions.

  • Develop strength through opportunities

    Millennials are on a constant search for opportunities to learn and grow. Employers must pave the pathways to success by matching individual strengths to development opportunities4. If you don’t know your employees’ strengths, you are stifling your organisation’s efficiency and growth.

    Place the onus of training and development on millennials5. Provide them with the resources, tools and support they need. Let them discover their interests and abilities and how they want to develop professionally. Acknowledging their achievements provides a push of motivation for both personal and professional development.

    Engage millennials by making training or learning platforms mobile-friendly5. Millennials are always finding ways to optimise their time, so e-learning helps turn idle points in their days into productivity.

    Furthermore, global mobility programs are also of significant interest to millennials2. The globally-aware and oriented Gen Y are strongly motivated by global career opportunities and travel. 

    Recognise their contributions, maximise their strengths and aid in their success. Open communication is key to building trusting relationships with millennials; don't manage them, lead them4.

  • Respect individual autonomy

    Millennials are good with compromises; give them autonomy and they will deliver results2. It’s important for non-millennials to recognise that unconventional work processes do not equal to reduced quality or productivity.

    It might take immense trust to permit autonomy, but millennials are very much committed to the success of the organisation and delivering value as older employees. The enduring perception that the younger generation is ‘narcissistic, entitled and lazy’3 inhibits growth and cohesion in a workplace.

    Create a fluid work space that provides millennials room to innovate, grow, explore, and be heard.  
  • Enable work-life balance

    The younger generation call for greater flexibility in their work schedules and career progression. According to PWC's research, most millennials are more than willing to compromise their pay and pace of promotion for fewer working hours; with the option to dedicate more time to their personal lives2.

    Millennials strive for work-life balance; they won't be persuaded to sacrifice their personal lives to succumb to excessive work demands2. Therefore, they will search in other places if they don't find the life fulfilment that they want2.

    It can be challenging to be an accommodating employer who supports part-time study or the pursuit of passions, but it can be more beneficial for the organisation than most executives think.

    The integration of technology into the workplace enhances flexibility and increases efficiency. Millennials expect the best collaborative tools to always be accessible2.

At a recent CEO Connect Breakfast held by The CEO Institute NSW, statistics drawn from the Workplace Innovation Index Survey 2016 revealed that 49% of organisations feel that they don’t have the tools and technologies to attract and retain the next generation of millennial employees. Being tech-savvy is important but it’s not the breaking point.

Millennials aren't a demanding bunch. They just want the actions of the organisation to represent their values and to also be kept in the loop. Millennials want to know about the decisions being made and are often eager to contribute on important issues.

Engaging millennials in your workplace is important and not as difficult as it may seem. Organisations need to understand the millennial mindset, and validate this with their own employees to ensure that strategies and culture align.

Having difficulty engaging millennials in your workplace? Enquire about how our programs can help you.

The CEO Institute | Enquire Now


The CEO Institute was founded in 1992 and is Australia's leading membership organisation for CEOs and senior executives with over 1,000 members. For more information, visit our websites:

  The CEO Institute


Lisa Kasiaras, Global Manager - Franchising & Marketing, The CEO Institute
P (03) 8514 5041 | E


1Retrieved from Angone, P.(2015) 7 Tips to Engaging Millennials.
2Retrieved from PWC. (2014). Engaging and empowering millennials.
3Retrieved from Dowdy, L. (2015). Why do millennials get such a bad rap at work?.
4Retrieved from Ross, K. (2015). De-mystifying Millennials.
5Retrieved from Caprino, K. (2014). Quit Trying To 'Engage' Millennials.

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