Millennials.  Seldom has a word driven such fear and trepidation into the hearts of employers — but is this fear based in reality?  Let’s find out.

Millennials, who were born between 1981- 1996, have one of the worst reputations out there. They are often described with words like lazy, entitled, demanding, spoiled, and, most often are referred to as the generation who got trophies just for showing up. Millennials were, in many cases, parented by Gen X, who probably swore they would never subject their children to the early responsibilities many of them faced as children. This resulted in helicopter parenting, which instilled an interesting combination of self-confidence and insecurity into many among this group.

All of that said, not all Millennials fit this bill.  It’s important to remember that this generation was born into a world that provided them with access to all kinds of information right from the start. CNN was only in its second year of 24 hours of news in 1981. They grew up with iPods, texting, handheld HD video games and, of course, the internet. They are all about fast access, instant gratification, and they move very fast compared to most.  They know what is possible and do not want to settle. Because of this, they are often labeled as difficult. They also have some of the most staggering student loan debt out there.

In the workplace, Millennials have led the cry for flexible schedules and remote work, better working conditions, equality, raises and promotions, and benefits. Without these, the traditional workplace is dissatisfying for Millennials, which is likely why they are leading what has become known as “The Great Resignation.” Resignation rates for employees between the ages of 30-45 increased 20% between 2020-2021 (more than any other age group) according to a study done by Harvard Business Review.  Also of note is that many Millennials have (and have had) a second source of income, making their traditional job easy to leave if conditions don’t meet their standards.

Millennials are currently making up more than 35% of the workforce, and by 2025, they will make up 75% of all employees (globally).  What is an employer to do?

Recruit for Millennials on Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn, Google for Jobs, Indeed, Career Builder, Dice, and Glassdoor.  Once you have the candidate, interview, and decide quickly.  A Millennial will not stick around for a 4-week hiring process and 6 interviews. They know what they want and may surprise you with their own questions during the interview process.

Once you hire a Millennial, remember that your company brand and perception matter to this generation.  Provide a diverse workplace, remote work or flex schedules, fair compensation and benefits beyond the usual health insurance.  Millennials want a clear path to follow (or forge). Provide a clear job description, training, continuing education, tuition help, and maybe a mentor, and you are off to a great start! Your technology will need to be relevant, fast, and always updated. Listen to what they have to say. Allow ideas to be heard and acted upon when possible.

Millennials tend to make career changes, going from one industry to another quickly.  To retain them, they must be engaged and on a clear trajectory of growth. Boredom and apathy will cause this group to leave, so as a company, do your level best to keep it stimulating for them.

“Even your most talented employees have room for growth in some area, and you’re doing your employee a disservice if the sum of your review is: ‘You’re great!’ No matter how talented the employee, think of ways he could grow towards the position he might want to hold two, five, or 10 years down the line.”

– Kathryn Minshew, The Muse (and a Millennial)