6 Ways to Build a Workplace Culture for Millennials

🕑 4 minutes read | Mar 04 2022 | By Becky Gendron

As the fastest-growing generation in the workplace, they bring a different set of values, desires, and motivations than previous generations. They want to cultivate a workplace culture with a purpose that aligns with their personal values, followed by strong organizational support and commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I). Nearly half of millennials (44%) and Gen Z (49%) employees have made career decisions based on their personal ethics. They are highly likely to see their jobs—and their careers—as an opportunity to “influence policy and business actions on matters that are important to them, including environmental issues, inequality, and discrimination.”

Also, they prioritize a balance in their personal and professional lives, opportunities to grow, transparency into the top levels of the business, and feedback and reward systems. By understanding what millennials envision in a healthy company culture, you can create a workplace that engages and inspires this new generation of workers.

Here are six ways your company culture can attract and retain this modern generation:

6 Strategies to Attract and Retain Millennials Through Company Culture

1 – Give Flexibility and Balance

A work-life balance is much more important to millennials than to previous generations. This generation expects more flexibility to succeed in both their personal and professional lives. In fact, this factor is so important that it has been identified as one of the leading causes of the Great Resignation.

Companies can adjust work hours and locations (think remote and hybrid options), encourage time off and prioritize mental health to help them strike a balance. Leaders should demonstrate this balance by not working during vacation time, working a reasonable number of hours, and showing empathy when signs of stress are apparent.

2 – Offer Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Programs

Millennials value an inclusive workplace and are more likely to work for companies that promote a strong DEI program, and they want to see their organizations do a better job with diversity and inclusion. This younger generation understands that the key values of DEI can promote innovation, strengthen job satisfaction, and increase retention. This contributes to millennials’ desires to feel safe, connected, and respected in their workplace.

As millennial and Gen Z employees increasingly move into leadership roles, organizations have an opportunity to build a stronger future by offering a workplace culture that aligns with their values and that is committed to DE&I.

3 – Promote Career Growth

Career growth opportunities are also essential for this group, and they look for opportunities to learn and grow: Deloitte research shows that 1 in 4 millennial and Gen Z employees learned new work capabilities during the pandemic, with millennials in senior (32%) and leadership (37%) positions even more likely to have done this.

Organizations that create an environment that supports internal mobility and lets future leaders focus on their career growth will be better able to motivate—and retain—their employees. In fact, a recent study by LinkedIn shows that employees are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged if they’re promoted internally.

4 – Share Frequent Feedback

This younger generation needs more frequent feedback to ensure that the work they are doing really matters. They have become accustomed to immediate feedback from teachers, parents, and coaches and use that feedback loop to continuously improve.

A short daily or weekly meeting can create a culture of communication and feedback between employees and leaders. A yearly performance evaluation will likely be far from effective in the eyes of millennials.

5 – Provide Coaching and Mentoring Opportunities

One of the best ways to develop staff is by having them learn directly from peers and successful leaders. Match them up with a great leader to mentor them, coach them, and consistently provide feedback. A mentor can provide customized guidance that helps prepare millennials to become more effective in their careers. Building these strong relationships early creates opportunities for open, honest lines of communication throughout their careers.

6 – Share Top Level Strategy and Vision

Often, what happens at the executive level is a mystery to the rest of the organization. While there is always secure information that is for the executive team only, it’s important to be as transparent as possible with the rest of your team. Sharing the big picture vision for the organization helps get buy-in from your employees and helps them be able to adjust their priorities to best align with the company.

A Purpose-Built Culture for the Modern Generation

Investing in developing the culture of your organization to meet the needs of and inspire growth in the different generations that make up your workforce will pay off in the form of productivity, retention, and revenue. Building programs that cultivate diversity, feedback, open communications, and career growth will create a workplace culture that attracts the Gen Y and Gen Z community and will prepare your organization for this fast-growing group. Organizations that nurture their culture can attract and retain talent, outperform competitors, and support the well-being of their staff and community.

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