Financial Data
Updated 25 Feb 2020

4 Millennial traits to better understand (and retain) your best talent

To ensure you’re not losing your best employees to your competitors, why not get take some time to understand their wants and needs a little better? 

Diana Albertyn, 07 July 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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Did you know that 91% of Millennials want rapid career progression? “The most successful companies in attracting talented Millennials (like Google, Apple and Facebook) are technology innovators,” says Claude Schuck, country manager of Veeam SA.

“While they may not specifically be targeting a millennial workforce, their culture, technological reputation and management give them their pick of the best young talent,” he adds.

This doesn’t mean you have to offer fast-tracked promotions or pivot into tech to attract new talent. It just means you need to be aware of what these workforce freshmen are looking for in an employer – and what makes them stay. 

Related: Why millennials are becoming franchisees 


41% of Millennials would rather communicate electronically than face-to-face or over the telephone – according to PwC. “It is also a generation that has specific expectations about how technology is used in the workplace.”

What don’t Millennials want from a job? Contrary to popular perception, it’s probably everything you’re currently using to lure them:

1. They understand that it’s work, not play 

Millennials aren’t focused on creativity or your office being a fun, informal place to work. They don’t find the environment you may be striving to provide (with pool tables and arcade games) a prerequisite when applying for a job. They’re more interested in how an organisation will help them learn, grow, and develop, and further their careers. 

Try this: 87% of Millennials deem learning and development opportunities a top priority in job selection. But before you print and bind workbooks, remember who you’re talking to. Sending a link to a TedTalk or asking a few good questions in the kitchen over coffee-making is learning and development to your Millennial employees.

2. They want to feel included

Feeling -included

What do you do when you don’t fit in somewhere? If you’re a skilled, sought-after Millennial, you leave and go where you do. Millennials, particularly, want to feel like they’re a vital part of your business. 

Try this: Ensure a tight fit in a role from day one. A strong foundation where skills and personality strongly match the role and company culture starts things off on the right foot. You should then revisit your training process by taking another page from companies that have successfully been able to retain Millennials.

3. They’re looking for freedom and flexibility 

Research by PwC indicates that only 29% of Millennials expect to work ‘regular' office hours by 2022.  Clocking your workers in and monitoring their hours in the office could be to your detriment. Flexi-hours, working from home occasionally, and trusting your employees to do their jobs without micro-managing their time could be the difference between a vacancy and an excellent workforce. 

Try this: Incorporate a day every week or two where an employee can work from home or try an option successful organisations have used – allowing employees the flexibility of shifting their working hours at times.

Related: When targeting millennials it’s less about age and more about lifestage

4. They know where they’re going – help them get there

59% of Millennials are leaving your company because they see a stronger a career path elsewhere. Retaining this segment of your workforce means making potential for career growth a priority. 

Try this: As time goes on, check in regularly to recap their career progress. If can indicate the timing of their next promotion or role within the company, then they’ll know where they stand.


  • Millennials aren’t just after money, but progress.
  • They’re team players who want to feel they play a vital role in your organisation.
  • If you don’t offer them flexibility in terms of time and roles in your company they will go somewhere that will.
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About the author

Diana Albertyn

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