Developing Relationships With Your Millennial Employees

Millennials, those born between the late 1970s and the turn of the century, are a workforce to be reckoned with. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they currently make up thirty-six percent of today’s employees, a percentage that’s expected to rise to nearly fifty percent by the year 2020.

If you run a small business, you’re likely employing or hiring millennials, so having good relationships with them is critical to your success. To help you achieve this, here are some insights from a recent Mintel study* along with tips to make the most of them.

Insight: Life Comes Before Work

While millennials strive for a healthy work-life balance, they put a higher priority on pursuits and passions that enrich their life outside of work. While this doesn’t diminish the fulfillment they get from a job well done, it does shed light on how their job fits into their lifestyle mix.

Tip: Learn what your millennial employees are passionate about and incorporate it into the work. For example, if preserving green space is a valued cause to them, consider adopting a rainforest and donating time or proceeds to it.

Insight: They’re Industrious

Contrary to some stereotypes that paint them in a self-indulgent light, most millennials see themselves as responsible and hard working. This is especially true when the job they perform fulfills and enriches them professionally.

Tip: Listen to your millennial employees for insights into what brings them joy in the workplace. Align their passions with the position that best fits. For instance, if a millennial employee wants to make a difference in the community, make him or her a community liaison.

Insight: Position Isn’t Their Primary Motivation

According to the Mintel study, career advancement isn’t the highest priority for millennials. In fact, a variety of goals come before it, including:

  • Living a healthy lifestyle
  • Traveling at home and abroad
  • Improving relationships with family and friends
  • Buying a big-ticket item

This doesn’t make them poor employees, however. In fact, for many millennial employees, it means they take a tremendous amount of satisfaction in a job well done.

Tip: For employers, this means rethinking traditional work rewards, like promotions, and considering other perks, such as special training in an area the employee values or equipment that helps them do a better job. If you run a video production studio, for instance, an industry seminar and the latest camera might mean more than a change in title.

Insight: They Value Transparency

As consumers, millennials like to know what they’re getting and what their favorite brands stand for. As employees, they want consumers to know the truth about the products and services they’re buying and the company they’re dealing with.

Tip: Always be truthful with millennial employees. If you’re hiring one, be as transparent as you can be about the position and its demands. In doing so, you’ll establish trust from the beginning, which is an excellent foundation to build upon.

As we move ahead into the twenty-first century, millennials will continue to have a growing impact on the workforce. By understanding them now, your business will have a greater chance of attracting and retaining these devoted and passionate workers.


*Marketing to Millennials – Mintel, February 2015

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