Millennials - 5 Ways to Attract and Retain Us!

Millennials want remote work, corporate social responsibility, community, learning and development, and entrepreneurial spirit.

There is no denying that millennials are shaping the future of work. Despite all of the controversy around this topic, I say, “Rightly so!”

We (millennials) are rebelling against the norm, not as an insult to what came before, but in the name of our own values, worldviews, and integrity. We know what we want and we aren’t afraid to ask for it!

If your organization is baffled by millennials, then you just aren’t paying attention. Stop trying to “figure us out” and start listening to what we have to say.

Stop trying to make us conform to a world built by previous generations for previous generations. It just isn’t going to happen.

Millennials are no longer merely the future of the workforce. We are the current majority in the workforce, surpassing Gen-Xers in 2015.

Millennials are no longer the future leaders; we are current leaders.

Let’s be honest, the things millennials are asking for are not that crazy!!

Millennials Want Remote Work

Millennials consistently seek to manifest opportunities to work remotely!

A 2015 study conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that three out of four Millennials reported that work-life balance drives their career choices.

74% of us expect flexible work schedules and 69% percent believe that office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis.

Deloitte found that 75% of millennials would prefer to [work remotely], not because we can slack off, rather we feel we can be more productive. However, only 43% of millennials are allowed to this freedom.

Millennials are driven toward success and are trailblazing the uncharted digital world we grew up in.

Harvard Business Review explains that smart businesses will:

"embrace technology"

Best Remote Work Tech...

Millennials Want Meaningful Work

Our passion for remote work is not just about laptops, smartphones, schedule flexibility and location freedom. Remote work options and fully distributed teams are a socially responsible way of doing business. Millennials dig socially responsible companies!

Deloitte surveyed nearly 8,000 millennials and found that 75% of us believe that companies need to focus more on societal impact and less on their own agendas.

Great Place to Work reports that over 50% of us were inspired to accept a job offer based on a company’s involvement with a cause.

Despite struggling with debt, $1 trillion collectively, coming to age during a recession and corresponding jobs crisis, millennials – who will account for 75% of the workforce in 2025 – are not motivated by money.

Rather, millennials aim to make the world a more compassionate, innovative, and sustainable place.

Millennials aren’t asking our companies to fix the world for us. We are asking companies to fix the world with us!

More than 50% of millennials are willing to take a pay cut if it means finding work that is in alignment with our personal values.

Millennials want to work for organizations that are honest, forthcoming, and integritous - companies that use their technology, resources, and talents to be a force of good in the world.

Millennials are players in the sharing economy and passionate about philanthropy, because scarcity sucks.

Millennials are advocates for the environment, because the earth is the most important thing to our future survival.

Millennials choose to partner with disadvantaged and marginalized communities, because we are of them and we recognize that the future is in collaboration rather than in ruthless competition.

Study after study confirms that the majority of us just want to do something that actually matters:

  • 84 percent say that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition (Bentley University)

  • 82% of millennials said it was important to them to have a career that does some good in the world (Clark University)

  • 63% of millennials like their employers to contribute to social or ethical causes (Brookings)

Harvard Business Review gets it!!!

They advise, if you want to attract millennials:

"Create a deeply compelling vision of what the company or team is contributing to society..."

Millennials Want Community

Companies that advertise purposeful work with remote work options are millennial magnets, but if it is all smoke and mirrors millennials will be gone quicker than we arrived.

The third characteristic millennials look for when job hunting and career building is community. reports that, 88% of us prefer a collaborative work culture rather than a competitive one.

Clark University found that 78% of millennials say it is more important to enjoy work than to make a lot of money.

This helps explain a MTV finding that 88% of millennials want their co-workers to be their friends. Millennials don’t just want companies to hire our friends and let us goof off! We want companies to build teams full of people worth befriending!

Millennials also want to work with leaders who are worthy of admiration.

Gallup reports that 62% of millennials who feel they can talk with their manager about non-work-related issues plan to be with their current organization one year from now.

In a recent PwC report Chief Executive Officer of HCL Technologies, Ltd., Vineet Nayar, hit the nail on the head when he said:

"[Millennials] expect to work in communities of mutual interest and passion - not structured hierarchies."

Millennials Want Opportunity

Collaboration and mentorship are the prerequisites for what must come next if you hope to attract and then retain an amazing team of millennials.

Millennials want training, development, and opportunities for advancement.

One study found that 42% of millennials want feedback every week—more than twice the percentage of every other generation.

At first glance, this may cause us to appear needy, but consider that life and work are both moving at a pace that is faster than ever before.

Millennials grew up in this high-speed world, and we know that real-time feedback is the key to success. This prompt feedback empowers us to be responsive and to self-correct in a timely fashion.

Millennials don’t make a habit of blindly following the advice dished out by our “elders” or stepping “in line” with long established workplace and societal norms. Sure, some of this is the result of generational tension- I’ll give you that.

However if you look at the numbers, you will see that millennials are eager to learn; in fact we demand it:

  • 87% of millennials say professional development or career growth opportunities are very important (Gallup).

  • 62% of executives say Millennials will consider leaving their jobs due to lack of learning and development, just 31% of Millennials say they have considered this (Oxford Economics).

  • 76% of millennials think professional development opportunities are one of the most important elements of company culture (Execu-Search).

FastCompany urges employers to:

"create opportunities for mentorship, skills acquisition, and co-leadership" explaining that"millennials will work hard when [companies] get serious about investing in their skills development."

Millennials Want an Entrepreneurial Spirit

Millennials have witnessed a tremendous amount of change in their lives; advancements in technology, changes in the economy, and social and environmental shifts. It is unlikely that rate of change will slow or cease anytime soon.

Career ladders and job security are becoming extinct. This is not lost on us!

Millennials see no value in doing things the way they have always been done. We don’t even do things the way we have always done them!

Disruption is the new constant and millennials are all in!

64% of millennials would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.

Don’t misunderstand this to mean that millennials wish to be entertained. We crave challenge and we’re itching to spread our wings. We will do our jobs, but don’t expect us to hide the fact that we have side hustles and passion projects.

Yes, millennials are preparing for the reality that we may outgrow a job, organization, or industry. More importantly, millennials are preparing for the very real possibility that certain job titles, organizations, and entire industries may cease to exist.

Millennials are living for today and planning for tomorrow.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg explains,

"Millennials are strongly drawn to the "anything is possible: spirit of entrepreneurship. Rather than chase these workers away, companies that embrace a risk-tolerant culture and promote learning and experimentation will benefit from the heightened energy around innovation."

That’s it folks! It's not mysterious or complex, millennials just want to work “smarter not harder,” make a difference, be part of something bigger than ourselves, learn and grow, and diversify.

If you can offer your team these five things, you will have no problem attracting and retaining millennials (for as long as any company can expect to)!


If you are a millennial, our team would love to hear your thoughts! Does this ring true for you? Have we missed something? Share your comments below!

If you are the leader of a team that has had success attracting and retaining millennials, our team would love to hear form you as well! Does this ring true? Have we left anything out? Share your comments below!


Rebel + Connect creates custom retreats for remote teams. A Colorado based company owned and operated by Charlie BirchRachel McGehee, and Summer Weirich, we operate remotely and service clients from all over the globe. Join us as we create cultures of meaning and celebrate human connections in a digital world!

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