Understanding Millennial Workforce

The Millennial generation is shaping the workforce today. Born between the years 1981 to 1996, this generation is called Generation Y (understandably, being born after Generation X). However, the moniker didn’t stick. Authors and pop historians Neil Howe and William Strauss came up with the generational theory in their book Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069 in 1991. These two coined the term Millennial in 1987

By 2022, this generation will be 26 to 41 years of age. 


  1. Millennials are tech-savvy

    Born in the age of digital explosion, what do you expect? Electronic communication is their first language.

    While the earlier generation (Generation X) got the first exposure to computers and other modern communication technology, they are not highly dependent on it, unlike Millennials. Millennials do not understand the meaning of crashing computers and cannot accept messages like “no internet access.” No wifi? Unacceptable!   

    Fifty-two percent of Millennials consume digital content through their mobile devices (34% for Gen Z). It is therefore important that your business page is mobile-friendly. 

    Millennials are plugged to their mobile phones because it is where they begin and end their day – text, research, purchase, pay bills, book events, get entertainment, maintain relationships, and work but rarely use it to call. “Why call when you can text?” 
  2. Passionate about their cause

    Millennials expect companies to be socially responsible. They do not pay for premium brands but pay a premium for brands that support their cause. In 2015, 73% of global Millennials are willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings — up from 50% in 2014.

    All corporations boast of their own “corporate social responsibility” values. But millennials look at the way the company lives and breathes its values. Millennials are not captivated by sales pitches but by your actions. Walk your talk. 
  3. Learn and Grow

    Learn and grow opportunities are top priorities for Millennials in deciding where to work and stay. This generation needs to get their information fix constantly and instantly. 

    It will be a management mistake to make a millennial “earn” his/her training and development privileges by sticking it out with the company. They don’t have the patience. 
  4. How am I doing?

    Ditch annual review. It won’t work on millennials. Millennials want to know how they are performing on a regular basis. These feedback sessions can turn into mentoring sessions where leaders coach, teach and guide their employees. 
  5. Social generation

    Surprisingly, this generation is a social generation. Despite their screen time, millennials do things in groups. They were taught early in school to do things in groups. To learn and work together as a team. And this early exposure to teamwork shaped their behaviour in their workplaces.

    In real life, they share their experiences, opinions, feedback, interests, hopes, and dreams on social media (in words and images, which explains the emergence of the term “instagrammable”). To them, “if it’s not on insta, it didn’t happen.” They value experience.

    They seek the opinion of people they trust before any decision that they will make. Again, it must have been the early teamwork training.


  1. Nowadays, it is expected that your business is eternally connected. We are living in a world and time when technology is so advanced (relative to prior generations), easily available, and user-friendly that there is absolutely no reason for disconnection. 

    Take advantage of every app, software, and tool to digitise work. Embrace cloud technology. 
  2. Identify your cause. Ensure you truly believe in it and are passionate about your cause before you talk and promote it. Demonstrate your values and cause in how you conduct your business, in the decisions you make, and actions you take. 

    Otherwise, true colors show eventually and dash your team’s hearts.
  3. Show your millennial team that you are invested in their growth and development by providing continuous education, cross-post or cross-training opportunities (across departments or even jobs), and allowing them to assume challenging tasks every now and then. Knowing what they are comfortable with and willing to take responsibility for will come from your regular one on ones. These meetings, if conducted well, will allow you to know your team a little deeper than the “what’s-your-name-and-job” level.

    Take the opportunity to acknowledge their contribution and impact on your organisation in your one on ones. They value recognition of their work.
  4. Millennials need not be taught step-by-step how things are done because they are creative thinkers. They think out of the box and have a different way of looking at things. However, they still need guidance and direction on what needs to be accomplished without you getting into too much detail. That cramps their style. Allow them to accomplish the task as they see fit. You might just find a new way of doing things. 
  5. Promote healthy collaboration, encourage teamwork, and push for work-life balance within your organisation. The workplace needs to be a happy place for these millennials, so fostering strong relationships within your team is beneficial.


Understanding your millennial workforce will enable you to provide the working conditions this generation needs, make adjustments to ensure they are satisfied, and somehow hold back (if at all possible) their tendency to roll.

Free-flowing coffee, nap rooms, free gym memberships, or free snacks do not cut it anymore especially in this pandemic when everyone is working from home. Besides, what happens when another company offers better coffee? 

Millennials value mentoring. For your millennial protegè to be engaged rather than detached, be a mentor, not a boss. Give them a compelling reason to stay and a struggle to leave.

Invest in Leadership Development programs for your Millennial team. For a customized program, connect with me. Let’s create one for your team.