Industry Trend: Embracing Millennial Employees

Last Updated: June 3, 2016

One of the biggest industry trends of 2016 is the need for businesses to embrace millennials. According to the Deloitte 2016 Millennial Survey, millennials will make up three quarters of the world’s workforce by 2025 and Stats Canada, shows that millennials are now the largest generation in the Canadian workforce.

So who are millennials anyway? Millennials are typically referred to as those born between 1982 and 2000, also known as Generation Y. Though they are often presented in the media as being lazy and entitled, their impact on the workplace cannot be ignored, especially as more and more baby boomers retire.

When hiring millennials, consider the skills they already bring to the table:

They are technologically literate 

As a generation that has grown up using the internet for most, if not all of their lives, millennials are early adopters of new technologies and embrace their use quickly within the business context. As social media marketing becomes increasingly popular, millennials are your go-to employees for learning, maintaining and teaching others how to use the latest app or online tool.

They are open to collaboration

Likely because of their comfort with the constantly changing technological landscape, millennials do not fear change- they embrace it. Millennials often thrive in atypical office environments that utilize co-working spaces and online collaboration tools so that coworkers can learn from and motivate each other.

They can multi-task

While technology is often criticized for limiting attention spans, it has also afforded young professionals the ability to work on many tasks at once and to participate in numerous projects at the same time, be it remotely or in person. Consider ways that you can use this to your advantage. 

Though millennials are highly educated and skilled, according to the Deloitte survey, 66% of millennials expect to leave their current employer by 2020. This frightening statistic exemplifies many Gen Yer’s lack of company loyalty. In order to retain millennial workers, consider these 4 tips:

1. Offer flexibility and independence

Many millennials want the opportunity to work from home and the ability to set their own hours. While not every business can implement this, being open to the possibility and being flexible to change will appeal to younger employees.

2. Be socially consciousness

It is important for millennials to feel that the company they work for has more than just profit on the brain. Providing opportunities for workers to engage in philanthropic initiatives, or simply implementing some new green business practices will go a long way in maintaining young employees.

3. Offer good feedback

In Jay Gilbert’s article “The Millennials: A new generation of employees, a new set of engagement policies” (2011), he identifies that annual or semi-annual performance reviews are no longer enough and that millennials require clear feedback that is frequent and specific. Mentorship programs within the workplace are a great way for younger employees to receive consistent feedback without the entire onus being placed on the boss.

4. Provide leadership opportunities

Provide young employees with the opportunity to shine through leadership initiatives. Look at the skills they already possess and have them take the lead on training others. This will make them feel valued and will put their skills to full use.


As more and more of the older workforce retire, businesses must learn to evolve in order to attract young professionals. To do this, businesses must figure out ways to draw on the skills millennials naturally possess, while also considering the things Generation Y look for in a job, to ensure that you are hiring, training and retaining the best young talent.


Altman, Ian. Top 10 Business Trends That Will Drive Success in 2016. Forbes. Accessed: May 12, 2016. Web: December 1, 2015
Ashgar, Rob. What Millennials Want in the Workplace (and why you Should Start Giving it to Them). Forbes. Accessed: May 13, 2016. Web: January 13, 2014.
Caprino, Kathy. Quit Trying to 'Engage' Millennials. Forbes. Accessed: May 13, 2016. Web: May 1, 2014. 
George, JP. How to Engage Millennials in the Workplace.Training Industry. Accessed: May 12, 2016.Web: October 14, 2015.
Scott, Graham. Millennials are now the Biggest Generation in the Canadian Workforce.Canadian Business. Accessed: May 12, 2016. Web: june 3, 2015.
Toren, Adam. The Top 6 Small-Business Trends on the Rise. Entrepreneur. Accessed:May 12, 2016. Web: February 2, 2016.

Image: Untitled by Eric Bailey, CC0 1.0