They want to work for a company that has purpose; they want their work to matter; they want flexibility. Millennials (anyone born between the early 1980s and mid 1990s) changed the workplace environment arguably like no other generation, and recruiters had (and still have) to adjust their hiring techniques to attract, retain and nurture a Millennial employee.

This always-connected-oversharing-transparent lot of workers shattered the bureaucratic corporate environment norm and established companies, especially those outside the trendy tech start-up world, have to adjust accordingly to survive.

So What do Millennials Really Want?

Millennials need more positive reasons to stay with their employers for the long-term than older generations did. Gaining their loyalty by ensuring your company conducts best business practices and maintains a strong community reputation is one thing. Keeping them loyal to your corporation is quite another. Below are three main attributes companies should offer to attract and keep Millennials and Generation Z (those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s) candidates—and these do not necessarily follow the “dot com” model of free food, meditation zones and ping-pong tables.

Social Purpose

According to the “Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018,” one “must have” Millennials want is to work for a company that demonstrates an ethical and social purpose in the community, or to the world at large. Millennials are skeptical about the motivations and ethics of today’s businesses, with only 48% believing businesses behave ethically (down from 65% in 2017). Likewise, only 47% feel business leaders are committed to helping improve society (compared to 62% in 2017).

Why is this important? Because today’s younger workforce seeks a greater sense of purpose in their work, while also expecting management to act transparently and conduct business honestly.


One key way to improve Millennial loyalty is by offering these employees the ability to share open and honest feedback with their employers, managers and company leadership about what is working well and what improvements should be made within their team, department or with their managers. Managers and employees alike should be ready to handle the feedback and be reassured they have been heard and validated.

Many employees, however, don’t fully trust they will be taken seriously when asked to provide feedback. Research shows employees are concerned their feedback to direct managers or corporate leadership could be used against them. A CareerBuilder survey showed that 37% of respondents indicated having a poor opinion about their boss’ performance would be a reason for them to move on. Deloitte’s 2018 study also found that 43% of millennials surveyed envision leaving their jobs within two years; only 28% seek to stay beyond five years. The 15-point gap is up from seven points over the prior-year survey. The younger Gen Z employees surveyed expressed even less loyalty, with 61% indicating they would leave within two years if given the choice.


Finally, the most attractive benefit of a modern workplace is flexibility. Today’s workforce, regardless of age, values that freedom. In a recent study by, 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to remote-work at least part-time.

Working remotely two to three days per week seems to be the magic number depending on f the requirement for client/customer access, service expectations and availability of online collaboration tools. The same study revealed regular remote-working has grown by 140% since 2005. Understanding this critical need of your workforce is paramount in creating a Millennial-friendly modern workplace.

Worried about degrading performance? Don’t be. A recent study revealed 86% of those surveyed said they preferred to work alone to “hit maximum productivity.” What’s more, two-thirds of managers say employees who work remotely increase their overall productivity.

In addition to flexible hours that help them achieve a sense of work/life balance, flexibility in where and how employees work during the day when they are present at the office is also important. This may involve the option to work from the coffee shop across the street for a few hours or in communal areas away from their assigned desks.

Why millennials matter in the workplace, and what you should offer?

Employing a Millennial brings fresh energy, adaptability and new perspectives to and for the job. While attractive salary and bonus packages are always necessary, hiring managers cannot forget that Millennials are especially interested in building long-term career skills, achieving a true “work/life” balance through flexible working environments and contributing to a corporation that is moving the needle on social/community issues—all of which they consider essential for a business—and their careers— to be successful. If those elements are missing, then they will look else ware for employment.

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