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Generation why?

by EN

60 per cent of millennials quit their job within the first two years of employment – so how do businesses attract, retain and keep the next generation of talent engaged and happy? Hazel Slimmon, HR director, Diversified Communications, weighs in.

There’s no doubt that millennials, also known as Generation Y, are one of the most talked about and studied generations of our time.  Millennials are those born between 1981 and 1996, and they’ve been described (not by me, I hasten to add) as entitled, lazy, selfish and disengaged individuals, who depend on their parents to do everything for them. 

However, if this is true, then why are companies working so hard to fully understand this generation and what makes them tick? 

Millennials have grown up in a world defined by technology, where information is instantly available and the world around them is changing and evolving rapidly, meaning they have a different set of values and expectations to the generations before them. As a result, our current ways of working don’t always suit millennials.

So, let’s explore three key areas that are important to this generation: 

Company culture

Company culture is an integral part of modern-day working.  It touches every aspect of a company, from recruiting talent to improving employee engagement and satisfaction.  It’s without a doubt the backbone of any happy organisation.  

 Without a healthy company culture, millennials will struggle to find value in their work, their purpose, and a reason to stay with a company. 

The best thing about building a great culture is it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  If you’re genuinely committed to investing in the happiness and well-being of your staff a positive company culture will grow and flourish naturally. 

Work-life balance matters 

It is reported that millennials strive for a healthy work-life balance. It is important to them to work where they want, how they want and when they want, and of course advantages in technology support them in this quest.  It is known that flexible working is regarded by millennials as a higher priority than other benefits including benefits and even pay. 

The reason why, I believe, that millennials find it harder to achieve work-life balance than their predecessors is they are more likely to have a spouse or partner who also works and is on the same journey.  For most, they are entering a stage of their lives when they are getting married, buying homes and having children at the same time whilst wanting progress their careers.


Having a purpose at work ranks high on a millennial’s agenda.  This can come in many forms such as having a voice, giving back to a community, contributing to a project or being taken seriously by those around them.  

Finding meaning at work doesn’t have to mean single-handedly saving the world, solving a crisis or finding a cure – it’s simply about purpose and passion, and having a clearly defined objective in your role. 

Sharna Waid, PR manager for Diversified Communications, says: “Millennials are wired to want a sense of purpose in life because a healthy sense of purpose puts our life events into perspective, it helps us to refocus on the things that are meaningful, and so, makes us move ahead and enjoy life.  Diversified offers me a sense of purpose because we have a strong company culture here that encourages us to be better and supports us when we need it most.”

The truth is millennials are an important part of modern-day business: with 86m in the workplace, they represent 40 per cent of the working population.  Whether you like it or not, they are the next generation of leaders who will determine a new way of working.

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