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Millennials – embracing the opportunities

Millennials – embracing the opportunities
January 12, 2017 Jemma Taylor Smith

The ‘millennial generation’ will form 50% of the global workforce by 2020 and is starting to make a huge impact on the working world – whether we like it or not. V Formation’s Jemma Taylor-Smith explores the traits of millennials and how employers can utilise them to have a positive impact on their organisation.

Millennials – those of us born (roughly) between the early 1980s and late 1990s – have had a lot of bad press. Many view them as lazy, entitled, self-obsessed narcissists. On the flipside, the more optimistic may choose to view these traits as open-minded, liberal and self-expressive.

Whatever your view of the millennial generation, avoiding the issue and doing things as you’ve always done them is not the answer. You need to seek to understand their position and find a new way of managing that will utilise their traits and skill-sets for the benefit of both the individual and the organisation.

In this excellent video, leadership expert Simon Sinek explains some of the reasoning behind the traits of the millennial generation. If you haven’t time to watch the film right now (it’s approximately 15 minutes long), we identify some of the key ‘millennial traits’ below and set out some potential strategies that companies and professional practices can use to harness these traits.

Instant recognition

Millennials need to feel that they are making a difference and having an impact. They often lack patience and don’t want to wait around to see the results of their labour and therefore need some sort of instant recognition in order to feel satisfied.

Consider reviewing how you offer recognition to those that have gone the extra mile. Although important for millennials, it also goes without saying that all generations are likely to respond positively to a well-thought-out reward and recognition programme. Consider implementing a reward system that allows instant recognition for those who have gone the extra mile. An example of this would a be a reward points system where employees are given points as a reward, which they can exchange for vouchers of their choice. And make the recognition public!


Millennials value an open and honest relationship with their manager and their organisation. Having a well thought-out internal communications plan will help to actively engage employees – of all generations – in their work, show them how they make a positive difference to the organisation and boost morale. A win-win for all!


Millennials can easily become bored within their role. They often crave variety and are efficient multi-taskers. Utilise this trait by encouraging them to become involved in other areas that help to contribute to the culture of the organisation e.g. the social committee or the organisation’s corporate social responsibility activities – many millennials value the opportunity to make a difference within their community.

Technology and social media

Millennials have grown up with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media and they expect instant access to information. They also expect technology to work effectively. Ensuring the technology you use within your organisation is fit for purpose and works efficiently, will not only keep the millennials happy, but will facilitate efficiency across the whole organisation.

Often referred to as ‘Generation Instagram’, millennials use social media as part of their everyday life and organisations should be using this knowledge and experience to their advantage. Consider allowing social media savvy employees to input into the organisation’s social media strategy, or perhaps set up reverse mentoring – where younger, more junior employees work with older, more senior employees, to help them develop and hone their social media skills.

Career advancement

Millennials are ambitious, have a desire to keep learning and moving upwards within their organisation and have a willingness to move on if their expectations are not being met. This requires employers to provide a focused career development plan, clear goals and regular, honest feedback.

Taking the time to ensure your employees have focused career development will again be beneficial across the whole organisation, increasing employee engagement, motivation and morale.

Work-life balance

Although Millennials are ambitious, they also ‘work to live’ and are reluctant to work long hours. They value flexibility and achieving a good work-life balance is important to them.

Flexible working has been successfully adopted by many organisations and is a great way of recruiting and retaining talented people. Technology has made it much easier for employees to work remotely and often results in better productivity.

Consider whether your policy around working hours needs a revamp. You may well be missing out on some talented people by enforcing a typical ‘9-5’ working pattern.

Many organisations are also implementing wellbeing programmes; incorporating diet, exercise and sleep, to help reduce absence and facilitate productivity. These are generally well-received my employees and resonate well with millennials.

It’s obvious that there is no real way to avoid the challenges that millennials bring to organisations. It’s time instead to embrace the opportunities that millennials present and transform organisations, and the way we work, for the benefit of all generations.

As a millennial myself, I believe the millennial generation will have a positive impact on the workplace, providing organisations are willing to adapt and be open-minded.

V Formation will be exploring the challenges and opportunities millennials bring to organisations, and how internal communications can be beneficial, at our forthcoming Power Up lunch. For further information, please email us or call on 0115 7870206.

V Formation works with businesses to help them effectively engage with their employees, of all generations, through implementing effective internal communications strategies that are tailored specifically for your requirements. We can also provide mentoring and coaching services, along with advice on effectively embedding social media across your organisation.

For further information please contact the marketing experts at V Formation or give us a call on 0115 7870206.

Further reading: Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace