Attracting Millennials to Work With YOU

Generational Speaker - Anna Liotta on Attracting and managing Millennials.


Companies that want to attract and keep great Millennial talent in the workplace have to be honest with themselves and ask the hard question.


“Are we truly attractive to Millennials?”


If you grew up with people asking you for your input, valuing your ideas and willing to listen to your experiences as valid, would it be okay to suddenly have no voice?

Our entire young adult workforce 21 – 39 are all Millennials. The time to understand what makes them tick is here. It’s no longer a nice to have, kindness, or largess. Either you get interested in what motivates and inspires Millennial talent, or you are facing a turnover rate of 30-60% of top young talent on an annual basis.

Millennials grew up with adults encouraging them to speak up, challenge the status quo, and ask for what they want. Today, Millennials have no patience for the old models of “top-down” or “line of sight” leadership.


So what do they want, desire and in fact, demand?


#1 That every voice is honored and valued.

Diversity and inclusion were not just preached in their formative years; it was programmed and mainstreamed in their schools, their sports, and social activities. Millennials see the inclusion of diverse perspectives, backgrounds, orientations, and identities as fundamental to the culture of a place that they want to work.

A few years ago, I delivered a keynote for the Major Sports Diversity and Inclusion Summit. After my program, I was dining with some of the Millennial talent working for the MLB, NBA, and NFL. In true Millennial CODE, they immediately began to share their experiences, both highs, and lows. What may seem surprising is that although they were in what previous generations may perceive as a “DREAM job,” (Sports Management at major franchise headquarters), a number of them were quietly looking for new employment.

When I asked why here are the responses I received:

  • “All of the diversity is on the field/court/surface.”
  • “In the corporate office, I don’t see anyone that looks like me and sees the world from my perspective.”
  • “My input and opinion are not valued. I feel like I’m not seen, and I won’t stay where I’m not respected.”

#2 Flexibility to have a life and have a job.

Millennials don’t live to work; they work to live. Millennials in the workplace want to have the flexibility to integrate the job into their lifestyle, not their lifestyle into the job. Addressing this Millennial CODE™  can be tricky for sure, but the best companies to work for earn their position because they proactively figure it out.

#3 That their BOSS is actively interested in their success and, in fact, is rooting for it.

Growing up with coaches, advisors, and mentors as the adult role models in schools, sports teams, and home, Millennials are not willing to suffer for 8 – 12 hours a day in an authoritarian culture.


Where to start?



Here are 3 things you can do to be more attractive to Millennial talent NOW:


#1 Implement weekly or bi-weekly 10/10/10™ check-ins.

Demonstrating you’re actively interested starts with culturally embedding an ongoing dialogue about their career path.  (Click to Tweet)

It’s not enough to have formal reviews that end in significant consequences if they don’t go well. You are missing the early signals and organic moments to discover what makes talent want to stay, play, or walk away.  

#2 Solicit “Flash” input.

Often in my corporate ½ day and full day programs, clients are ready to go deeper with engagement and solutions. We activate the pent-up employee intelligence with a Flashpoint exercise. The Flashpoints exercise gets folks telling us anonymously what the organization could start doing, and just as important what they should STOP doing now.

  • We capture the ideas on post-it notes  
  • Organically organize topic clusters
  • Flash vote and generate a heat map

In 60 minutes we have revealed the most important thing from the team’s perspective and from each generation’s view to take action on now.

#3 Implement (at least) one “Flashpoint” idea

If you don’t have a track record of asking for or perhaps, more importantly, honoring feedback, you might have some trust building work to do. You can start with publicly executing on one of the “Flash” ideas with attribution. Let’s say that the idea for more flexible schedules came up and was very popular in the voting.

You did a little research and found that employers with flexible work schedules experience:

  • Increased employee morale, engagement, and commitment to the organization.
  • Reduced absenteeism and tardiness.
  • Increased ability to recruit outstanding employees.

Great! Now it’s about being transparent as you are taking steps to implement for flexibility such as:

  • Investigating what kind of flexibility your employees want or need.
  • Asking other companies in your industry what they do to allow flexibility.
  • Determining which tasks can and cannot be accomplished during shifted hours.
  • Exploring what work can be done away from the office.
  • Building policies and procedures clarifying who and when employees can take advantage of the opportunities.


The most crucial point of all this is; TAKE ACTION on one idea!



If you want to attract and keep Gen Xers, Boomers and yes Millennials you must have authentic, organic and transparent, two-way channels that make sure: their voice is heard, their experience is honored, and resources are in place to dialogue about their future.


Or, you can ask what happened when they leave you after six months.


One Response

  1. Millennials don’t really want anything different than us Boomers wanted at their age. The difference is we thought we had to earn the right to be heard and they come to the workplace requiring it. Anna is correct that we ignore this requirement at our own risk.

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