All employers should work to understand, empower and mentor their employees. They want to know what makes them “tick”. Employers should provide an environment which allows all employees the opportunity to flourish. However, many leaders have difficulty relating to the up and coming Millennial generation.

What follows is a baby boomer’s experience of working with people of the Millennial generation – an experience which has brought the writer an understanding of a generation who want to succeed, but that defines success differently than generations that have preceded them.

…this generation is hard working, passionate, and well-balanced.

I consider myself to be a lucky guy. Why? Because I get to work with an amazing group of young people. Some people have characterized the Millennial generation as entitled, lazy, even selfish. I strongly disagree with this characterization. It has been my experience that this generation is actually hard working, passionate, and well balanced. Money is a consideration for these people, but it is not their #1 priority. They want responsibility, they want goals, they want their work environment to be challenging, but in a supportive atmosphere. They care about health and wellness, they care about charity, they really do want to give back to society.

A balanced lifestyle is important to this group. They don’t want a job that requires continuous 50-60 hour work weeks. They want to enjoy life, here and now. They want to spend time with friends, they want to go to the gym, they want to socialize at local establishments.

They care about the environment. Make sure the workplace has a recycling program in place. They want to volunteer. Make sure that you regularly provide them with volunteer opportunities. They like good food. Make sure that you regularly schedule potluck lunches, with healthy food choices. They like beer. Make sure that you, occasionally, schedule a “beer thirty” event (everyone gets together on a Friday, at 3:30 pm, drinks beer, tells stories and has fun).

Consider allowing employees to work from home.

They want to learn and improve themselves professionally. Make sure that you offer them the opportunity to go to conferences, trade shows, and motivational speeches. They want to learn how to network. Give them the opportunity to go to Chamber of Commerce events or join engaging organizations or a Young Professionals of St. Cloud group. They want to know how management perceives their efforts. Make sure to conduct regularly scheduled performance reviews.

They want to stay healthy. Provide a discounted corporate gym membership program. They love to travel. Make sure that you have a PTO policy that allows for vacation time. They love having a flexible schedule. Consider allowing them to work from home, 1 day per week.

Don’t ever “spin” the truth. They want to know the real story–good, bad or ugly.

If an employer provides an environment which embraces the values which this generation holds near and dear, the employer will be rewarded with a workforce that is high energy, creative, caring and goal oriented.


– Written by a St. Cloud employee working with a large number of millennials