Millennial employees fall between the ages of 25 and 38; those who have recently left the entry level and in many cases are on their way to management roles. They’re not untested newbies, and they aren’t even thinking about retiring, which is to say, they’re at or approaching the prime of their working lives. And while research suggests a host of traits associated with this age cohort, one characteristic stands out: Millennials appreciate and respond well to a positive company culture.

You want these workers on your team. When it comes to the energy of youth and the wisdom of experience, employees at this age bring the benefits of both. They also typically know their value, and they won’t stay very long with a company that fails to compensate them for their commitment and sacrifices. So, what can you do to elevate your culture and shape the kind of workplace vibe that can attract millennials and keep them on board? Try these moves.

Values, values, values.

In today’s political and cultural climate, you need to be living under a rock to underestimate the weight of this word. Millennials know exactly what kind of planet they want to live on and what kind of society they’d like to contribute to. They’ve thought extensively about this, and if you haven’t, you aren’t keeping up. Determine the values with which you’d like to align your business, write these values down and stand behind them proudly. Measure any company policy or action against this list before signing off on it.


Millennials tend to be flexible, and they’ve learned to roll with changes and adapt to the unexpected. Meeting cancelled or relocated at the last minute? No worries. Unexpected obstacle? They’ll find a way around it. Entire career path shifted or derailed? No need to panic. But since millennials have learned (and learned the hard way, in many cases) to adapt, they expect the same from their employers. If you have rigid policies that can’t flex in the face of the unexpected, or you simply won’t allow employees to work from home, now or ever, expect millennials to drift away. Respect them and respect their time if you want the same in return.

Embrace human variety.

Your workplace culture should certainly respect diversity when it comes to race, gender, disability, ethnicity and other identity markers. But beyond these distinctions, millennials have learned to recognize and appreciate the vast variety and uncategorized shades of human experience. People are different. They react differently to events, they bring their unique personalities to problem-solving challenges, and they don’t always feel or think whatever other generations consider “standard.” If you expect this from your millennial employees, you and they will only confuse each other. Take your employees as they are.

For more on how to create a cultural climate that attracts and appeals to your most talented employees, turn to the Milwaukee staffing professionals at Extension.


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