How to Retain Millennial Employees

Author: Robyn Parets | May 28, 2016

Note: This is the last story in a three-part series on how your business can successfully work with the millennial generation.

If your small business is looking to recruit bright go-getters who want to make a difference and help your company succeed, you might want to hire millennial employees. Ranging in age from 20 to 37, millennials are the fastest growing generation in the U.S. workplace. You may be in luck as millennials prefer to work for small businesses with less than 100 employees, according to Small companies appeal to millennials because they often offer more opportunities to contribute to the decision-making process. Millennials also prefer to work at expanding and ever-changing companies.

Numbering almost 80 million, this burgeoning generation also places a high priority on workplace happiness and will quit if they find their job unfulfilling. The question then becomes this: How do you create a workplace that will keep millennials, also called Generation Y, happy and engaged in a competitive marketplace? While there are many tried and true ways to retain talent, here are our top five tips to help you cultivate an environment that will both attract and hold onto millennial employees:

1. Stretch your boundaries for millennial employees

Let’s put it another way: Be flexible. It may be a generalization, but millennial employees prefer to operate on their own timetables. This means that they may arrive after 9 AM but stay at the office past 7 PM. Or, they may work Saturday mornings but opt to leave early on a Friday. The opportunity to work remotely—from a coffee shop or wherever—is also a big deal to Generation Y. All the better for you, as offering workplace flexibility will often mean your employees actually work more hours, according to

2. Money isn’t everything

While millennial employees need to earn a solid paycheck, they are also willing to forego a bigger salary for a more meaningful job. Huh? Yup, it’s true. Because Generation Y wants to make a difference in the world, this group of workers will often take a lower salaried job that aligns with their values above a higher paying job where they feel they are a cog in the wheel. To this end, millennials would rather be engaged at a job where they feel they are contributing to the next big thing than simply bringing home a paycheck from a job where they feel unfulfilled, according to Hire Expectations Institute.

3. Relax, just do it

If you want to retain millennial employees, you’re going to have to loosen up. A lot. Generation Y is serious about work—and play. This means you’ve got your work cut out for you. Creating a relaxed and fun environment is key to keeping millennials happy on the job. Hosting regular office happy hours, team building activities, charity outings, cooking events, and other social programs go a long way when it comes to providing a relaxed yet stimulating atmosphere. Plus, if your employees have as much fun at work as they do at home, you may find they work longer hours.

4. Empower the people

Millennial employees want to feel valued and empowered at work. You can help foster this sort of environment by allowing Generation Y to be part of the company’s decision-making process and encouraging them to take the lead on projects. This also means keeping lines of communication open, especially via text messaging, email, and other apps that millennials use frequently. Generation Y places a high value on transparency and prefers to do away with bureaucratic red tape when they want to get something done, according to and

5. Don’t worry, be happy

Strive to keep millennial employees happy. Although this is more of a blanket generalization that hits on all of the points listed here, this is perhaps the most important tip. Millennials seek out meaningful workplace environments where ideas are valued, opportunity for growth is ample, and lines of communication are always open. If you can hit these targets, you have a pretty good shot of keeping millennials happily employed at your company.

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