Millennial trends and behaviors have caused years of speculation by those seeking to identify what motivates this generation. With millennials now comprising the largest living generational grouping and holding the most representation within the current labor force, knowing how they tick is important when attracting talent to hire and keeping those you already employ.


Pew Research Center defines millennials as those born between 1981 and 1996. In 2022, they comprise more than a third of the American labor force and are projected to make up 75% of the labor force by 2025. Millennials have significantly impacted communication, technology use, and management styles of the workforce. “Flexible work schedules, the use of personal technology, and more open and transparent environments are largely thanks to millennials.” 

6 Workplace Priorities for Millennials


A company attracting and keeping a workforce with a high millennial population is likely a company with a work culture primed for long-term growth. Knowing what is important to millennials in the workplace will give you the competitive edge in molding your organization into a place where millennials want to work.

1. Company Values

The millennial workforce is redefining company loyalty. Millennial loyalty has shifted away from a days-gone-by picture of “a company man” who offered unquestioned obedience for the protection of the company at all costs. Their loyalty now resides with the personal core values they hope their employer shares. Values such as care for the earth and diminishing climate change, transparency in communication, diversity and inclusion, and accountability are top priorities for millennials. Millennials are ready for ethical and forthright business practices to be the standard and more likely to depart from a company that has broken their trust.


It is clear to Forbes Magazine that millennials want more than a job. They “want engagement, alignment with personal beliefs, corporate activism, and a chance to challenge the status quo.” The millennial experience of a work culture prioritizing profit without consideration for the environment, society, or its workers has molded a generation that actively chooses to invest their time and energy with a greater awareness of impact compared to generations prior. 


The majority of millennials think businesses are only concerned with making money. However, millennials who consider their company “high-trust,” a reflection of millennial values of accountability and transparency, are 22 times more likely to stay long-term. Similarly, millennials who believe the leadership within their company is diverse and reflects the millennial value of inclusion are 26% more likely to view their working environment as stimulating and motivating.

2. Meaningful Work That Provides a Sense of Purpose

Millennials are searching for meaningful work. A sense of purpose can be partially derived from an overarching organizational mission, but millennials also want to know how their personal contributions impact that mission. They are often willing to go the extra mile to ensure what is important to them is done with excellence. Nearly a quarter of millennials report working 50+ hours a week, and more than 70% work 40+. Millennials work hard and play hard and often integrate their work life and friendships into other areas of their life.

3. Compensation

Top priorities for job-hunting millennials include money (92%), security (87%), and flexible working (79%).


Millennials graduated from college with considerably more debt than generations prior. Many entered the job market during a recession and have worked multiple jobs simultaneously. Compensation is a key motivator for millennials when choosing a job because many feel they are still playing catch-up with their finances. They also choose work that will set them up for long-term employability. Competitively structured pay raises and promotions are an important part of keeping millennials who view switching jobs as imperative to advancement and pay increases in today’s market.  

4. Collaboration, Teamwork, and Mentorship

In addition to wanting to know their individual work provides value, millennials also want to be considered a valued part of a team. Teamwork and collaboration are part of a millennial work style. 80% consider “great people” a top priority when choosing a job. Millennials want to collaborate as individuals in supportive environments, bouncing ideas off coworkers, working to leverage group strengths, and receiving meaningful mentorship. 


This area seems to be a key place of growth for companies looking to attract and keep millennials since they do not consider all collaboration positive. In fact, 38% of millennials feel that outdated collaboration processes damage company innovation, and 74% prefer small-group collaboration.


According to Gallup, when looking at all generations currently in the workplace, millennials are the least engaged, meaning they have the lowest level of emotional and behavioral connection to their jobs. This lower level of engagement likely contributes to millennials being the generation most likely to switch jobs, with 6 in 10 millennials currently open to finding new opportunities. You should prioritize talent retention alongside talent attraction and acquisition. Gallup’s employee engagement research has found that “70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager.” Companies where millennials felt managers showed a sincere interest in them as people showed increases of 8 times the agility and 7 times the innovation.

5. Technology

As the first generation to have grown up with the internet, millennials utilize tech to solve problems and increase efficiency. Prior generations tend to view this strength in tech utilization as being too dependent on technology. However, millennials have experience problem-solving without it and have also seen technology fads come and go. Millennials have acquired the ability to discern what is truly useful from what is merely popular and want technology that truly improves their workflow.


Millennials are more likely to use premium technology at home. Having technology that matches their personal standard or better at work helps alleviate workplace frustration and sets millennials up for success while improving your organization’s digital dexterity. Being able to name the technological tools they need within an organization can be the deciding factor for a millennial choosing between more than one employer.


Utilizing the millennial affinity for collaboration, mentorship, and technology can work to an organization’s benefit through reverse mentoring. Many millennials grew up teaching their parents how to use technology as it was first introduced, so they can help older generations learn new technology. 

6. Flexibility and Work/Life Balance

Millennials want to create the hours and environments that work best for them instead of being tethered to the 9–5 ideal of the past. This could look like working hours that start earlier or extend later or perhaps working from home part-time.


Millennials said they would spend the least amount of time in the office (53%) when asked how they would prefer to schedule their time—less time compared to baby boomers (63%) and even Gen X (56%).


In 2020, 75% of millennials reported high employee engagement when they were in organizations that also provided an opportunity to work from home, supervisors that employees felt kept them informed, proper preparation for employees to be able to perform their work, and a clearly communicated plan of action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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