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Millennials, also known as Generation Y, will soon represent more than 50% of the workforce and will be a major part of it by 2025 (75%). With this new generation in the workplace, companies need to review their way of attracting and retaining employees. They have to equip their existing team for situational leadership and an understanding of the other generation they are working with.

The big question is, do companies use the right means to attract and retain Millennials?

Often we hear people talking about how Millennials are different from generation X and Baby Boomers, how they are demanding, self-oriented and expecting to run before they can walk but, is it the real problem? Should they be the ones adapting to the company’s established practices or should employers be the ones adapting to their new employees? The thing is, we all are different; each generation grew up within a different environment with diverse events and trends shaping their way of thinking and acting. It’s natural and it will still be the case 50 years from now. What is important is to acknowledge these differences and act accordingly.

Let’s have a look at Generation Y’s main expectations in the workplace:

  1. Meaningful work

The Millennials care about why they wake up and go to work, they want to make a real impact and need to know what their future holds with the company. Their main motivation is the opportunity for career progression – 52% say that they feel this make an employer an attractive prospect.

  1. Autonomy & Flexibility

Millennials are so used to tailoring every aspect of their lives that strict work schedules and restricted personal time can influence them not to apply to your organization. In fact, 57% of millennials consider work-life balance to be “very important,” according to the most recent Gallup survey. Flexible schedules, working from home arrangements, and extensive (even unlimited) vacation are all top priorities for them.

With an unlimited vacation or paid-time-off policy, employees become responsible for their own schedule. They can decide their time off by evaluating their workload, rather than being restricted by an outmoded time-off structure. This freedom is offered by less than 1% of companies, this is an attention-grabbing perk that attracts Millennial workers.

This trust and flexibility can lead to a more engaged workforce and LinkedIn adopted its own unlimited vacation policy, known as a discretionary time off model, for that exact reason.

  1. A chance to constantly learn and grow

Millenials expect the school learning structure to continue. 65% of them will evaluate the opportunity for personal development when considering a job.

They are particularly focused on developing themselves and are always looking into acquiring new job skills, and achieving new challenges. These workers want to expand their knowledge and skills, they want to be useful, and they want their work and workplace to have meaning to them.
Millenials want managers to find ways to invest in their futures, perfect their skills and teach them to become the best workers they can be.

  1. Recognition and respect

Millennials are accustomed to attention and praise, and expect regular affirmation in the workplace. They ask for constant feedback from their employers, they need to know their work is recognized and that they are doing a difference. In fact, being recognized in a meaningful and regular way reinforces Millennials’ connection to the organization and encourages them to become high-performing workers.

Regrettably, during LHC’s research, we noticed that in the last few years only few companies have made a change to adapt to the new generation. By interviewing companies with different sizes and structures, we noticed that small companies and tech companies tend to me more reactive and adapt faster to these new expectations.

3 key moves employers can start doing now:

  • If you do not want to miss out on the best talent, you should react and react now! Even small changes count. Start by asking your Millennial workers what they would expect from your company and discuss with them on the implementation of new strategies or procedures. They are the best source to help you on this matter and will be glad to see that their opinion is taken into account (yes, recognition is key!…).
  • Have a look at what other companies do, you might find interesting ideas to follow. Linkedin, Google and small startups such as Conichi are worth investigating.
  • Study new HR strategies to attract and retain Generation Y.

And be careful, it’s not the end! You must keep looking at the new trends as the Generation Z is right around the corner. They will join the workforce very soon and are surprisingly different from Generation Y.…!


Manon Maréchal

Manon Marechal Associate

Manon joined LHC as an associate after graduating from Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. Her role at LHC involves working on a variety of projects for executive education and consulting. She is also responsible for promoting the Executive Education Career Development Programmes around the globe.

Prior to joining LHC, Manon broadend her experience in hospitality while working in various positions in restaurants and luxurious hotels in Italy and Switzerland. She also gained experience in working for a luxury brand in Geneva where she developed her e-commerce and e-marketing skills.

Manon has Italian and Swiss origins and speaks French, Italian, English and Spanish.

When not in the office, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, especially around a good “apéro”. She is very active and loves going for a long run in the countryside.