How to Recruit and Retain Millennials to Your Business 

 December 20, 2016

recruit and retain millennials

Lazy, entitled, and narcissistic. Creative, driven, tech-savvy. Millennials.

The much divisive generation has now become the largest generation in the workforce. In fact, by 2025 millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce.

These workers are entering the workplace with unique attitudes, expectations, and desires. So, even if you despise millennials and what they represent, you are going to have to figure out how you can get millennials to come work for your business.

Not only will you have to learn how to get millennials to come work for you, but you will also have to find out how to get them to stay. According to a 2016 survey by Deloitte, two-thirds of millennials expect to have left their current employer by 2020.

To recruit and retain millennials, your organization’s culture and benefits need to match with this generation’s unique attitudes and expectations.

Change Your Culture

Your company’s culture is a huge reason why any candidate, including a millennial, will or will not want to work for your business. If you are specifically looking to cater more to millennial candidates, there are a few cultural shifts your company should look to make.

1. Be Transparent

The growth and ubiquity of technology has created an unprecedented era of personal transparency. This transparency has slowly entered into corporate culture.

Because Millennials grew up with technology they, more so than other generations, expect a level of transparency not only from the companies they patron but those they work for too.


Your organization has to be up front and honest about their business, to build trust with millennial employees. Any time your organization makes a critical decision, explain it in as much detail as appropriate.

This honesty will help employees and candidates feel positive about where they work/are applying to work.

Learn more about business transparency.

2. Flattened Structure

Get away from a traditional corporate hierarchy and do your best to flatten your organization’s structure. A flat company has two positive impacts on employees.

The first way a flat structure affects your employees is by giving them a voice. If employees don’t have to go through several tiers of middle management to reach a decision-maker, they are more likely to feel as if their voice is being heard.

The more an employee feels that their input is valued, the more engaged with their work and the company they will be.

staffing companies

A second impact that a flat organization has on its employees is it gives them a better avenue for promotion. If your millennial employees see others getting promoted over them due to seniority and not performance they could become discouraged and disengaged.

According to a Gallup a poll, millennials when applying for a job, care much more about opportunities for advancement than the two generations before them. Promoting because of seniority rather than performance will turn these employees off of your business.

Flattening your company gives your employees a clear path to being heard and being promoted. This clarity will, in turn, motivate these employees to stay productive.

3. Be Authentic

Authenticity, much like transparency, has become more valued as the prevalence of technology has increased. Growing up with the Internet has given millennials a savvy when it comes to PR, marketing, and advertising buzzwords.

Instead of trying to hide behind this jargon or put a positive spin on things, be honest. Instead of following what is popular or trying to mimic how others do business, be yourself.


This type of authenticity resonates with millennials. Studies have found that 70 percent of millennials will stay loyal to a brand that has earned their trust.

Every business needs to create a brand that accurately represents their company. An authentic representation not only attracts applicants but makes it more likely they stay. Giving an accurate depiction of your business ensures employees will not feel lied to once they are hired.

4. Be Agile

Chris Barksdale, VP of HR at Scripps Network Interactive, uses “agile management” as a way to stay current in the job marketplace. Agile management means focusing on incremental and continuous improvement.

This growth means your business has to strive to adopt the latest trends to reach its goals. Implementing agile management allows your company to connect with what is important and relevant to millennials.

5. Give Meaning

According to Deloitte surveys, for six in 10 millennials, “a sense of purpose” was part of their calculation in accepting their current jobs. Like the generations who came before them, many millennials desire their work to have some impact, to have meaning.

meaning at work

Check your company’s mission and values to ensure that they are current and are being followed. Make sure to update these as necessary, so they stay true to your organization’s current beliefs.

Providing meaning will not only help to attract recruits but will also aid in retaining these employees. Employees who find meaning at work are four times more engaged at work, and three times more likely to stay with their organization.

Find out how to give meaning to your employees.

Choose the Right Benefits

When determining what benefits your company should offer to get and keep millennial employees, there are two obvious answers: Health insurance and retirement plans. These two benefits remain the cornerstones of any benefits plan, even for millennials.

According to a 2016 survey from Glassdoor, the two offerings with the greatest effect on how employees rate their benefits are still health insurance and retirement plans.

Nevertheless, beyond these two offerings, millennials may be most different from other generations in regards to which benefits they appreciate the most.


The world has changed drastically since this generation began (Millennials are defined as being born between 1982-2004). What millennial employees value from their place of business, has changed accordingly.

These are the top five benefits to recruit and retain millennials.

1. Technological Infrastructure

The millennial generation is the first generation that grew up with many or all of the modern technologies we know today. As a result, they place a greater importance upon their employer using the latest and greatest technology.

Employee Benefits News, in a survey earlier this year, discovered that 93 percent of millennials believe that up-to-date technology is one of the most important aspects of a workplace.


Keeping technology current is somewhat of an expectation for these workers. Millennial employees understand that the better the technology around them is, the more efficient and effective their work can become.

Additionally, these devices allow employees to stay connected to one another (and their supervisors). This connection allows for your staff to have greater flexibility in completing their work…

2. Flexible Work/Schedules

This generation also cares a great deal about their flexibility. Millennials want the ability to choose (at least some of the time) when and where they work.

Work-life balance is imperative to millennial workers, and flexible work options allow a greater level of equilibrium. In a 2011 PwC survey of millennial workers, 95 percent said that work-life balance was important to them.

Flex scheduling and flexible work options, such as remote work, allow your employees to have a choice and create balance. These flexible options also offer your business, as a whole, substantial advantages.

flexible work

Of employees who worked remotely at least a few times per month, 77 percent reported greater productivity while working offsite, according to a 2015 Collaborative Worker Survey.

In addition to being more productive, when given flexible work options, employees are more likely to be loyal to your business. According to Entrepreneur, 82 percent of professionals said that they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options.

3. Student Loan Repayment/ Tuition Assistance

For students in the United States, tuition costs and student loan debt have never been higher. Last year the average student loan debt reached $35,000 per student.

Student loan repayment gives your graduating employees (mostly millennials) a sense that your company cares about them, and is working to reduce their financial burden.

Millennial students are sure to notice this level of care. A study done by the American Student Assistance found 53% of respondents said that student loan debt was the deciding factor, or had a considerable impact on their choice of a career field.

retirement-planning copy

The same study found that for 76 percent of respondents, their choice to take a job would be considerably affected or decided based on an employer’s willingness to offer a student loan repayment program.

Student loan repayment also gives your millennial employees a reason to stay with your company. As long as you provide the loan aid and their debt remains, they have a colossal reason to stick around.

Learn more about student loan repayment.

4. Mentoring/ Training

In a poll earlier this year, Gallup found that the number one factor for millennials, when applying for a job, was opportunities to learn and grow. Once out of school and in the workforce millennials do not want to stop learning.

Though, unlike past generations, the type of learning they value the most has changed. When it comes to personal growth, millennials prefer first-hand knowledge and experience to formal degrees.


Specifically, millennials prefer to learn from someone who has more experience than they do. Someone who has done what they wish to do. Mentorship can fill this void by pairing an experienced team member with a new millennial employee.

Mentoring can be one part of your company’s larger, overall training resources. According to a 2016 Deloitte survey, 70 percent of millennials cite a lack of leadership development as the main reason for wanting to leave their current position.

Millennials don’t want to stay in a position where their development becomes stagnant. If these employees feel their development has halted, they will seek an opportunity outside your business (i.e. They will get another job).

Find out how to start a mentorship program.

5. Make Them Happy

This final and crucial benefit is not one particular perk but rather the sum of what your culture, benefits, and pay should be. Happy employees.

According to a survey by BenefitsPro, 97 percent of millennials named happiness as a primary interest in their work. It is much harder to attract new recruits, especially millennials if your current employees are not satisfied with their job.

Whether it’s any of the above benefits, competitive pay, an extravagant break room, or opportunities for advancement, you want your employees to be happy.


Generations past may have been able to live with a job they were unhappy in, but millennials are different. Remember, two-thirds of millennial employees expect to leave their current employers by 2020.

One of the top benefits you can offer your millennial employees is a job that they are happy to go to every day. Millennials understand that if you are going to spend 40 hours a week at a particular place, you better enjoy that place.

The Wrap

It is important to remember when deciding how to recruit and retain millennials that you do not completely neglect other generations of your workforce.

Still, your company can adjust its culture and choose benefits that will appeal to all workers, but especially to millennials. Follow these tips to recruit and retain millennials.

Whether you hate them or love them, millennial employees are a significant part of the workforce, and their numbers will only continue to grow. So bust out the skinny jeans, brush up on your Pokémon and assess your company’s benefits, the millennials are coming.