Millennials have been getting bad rep for how impossible they are to work with. Most of these complaints are unsubstantiated and are typically made by people who have an innate mistrust for anyone whose birth years are after the 90s. I am sure people in the 60s thinks our generation was too sheltered, unmotivated and idealistic as well.

So how do we work with the millennials? Or rather how can conservative workplaces adopt a more accepting environment for these young people to flourish? Here are 5 quick ways:


Regularly tell them “why.”

Millennials want to change the world, they want to see the impact. They want to feel that the company they work for has a worthy mission, to know they are measurably contributing to that mission with their work and that there is a reason for every task they are assigned. The employer who can tell them the “why” will likely be successful leading this group. 


Ask their opinion — a lot.

You may be very confident of your decisions and may not be used to asking your employees or team for their thoughts on a task, project, meeting, or goal, but this can go a long way with millennials. They want to feel like they are personally valued and contributing to the organization’s mission; giving them a chance to voice their opinion will create buy-in and ownership for your millennials. Try to make a habit of asking for their ideas, thoughts and opinions, and listen carefully to what they say. And if you are not implementing their ideas, tell them why and how to improve their ideas.


Let them try new jobs.

Millennials place a lot of importance on finding themselves and their calling. Create ways for them to try jobs and develop new skills outside of their division or team. Many companies have rotation programs where employees can get a feel for how each area of the organization works, and then the employer and employee decide where he or she will be the best fit. Finding ways to allow your millennial employees to feel like they can grow, learn and explore new opportunities will help you attract and retain them.


Allow flexibility in how they work.

Millennials often place a lot of importance on the experience rather than the results. This means that many will choose to make less money for a job that offers a better work experience, a strong company culture or the ability to work remotely. These young workers want jobs that allow them the freedom to develop outside interests.


Work with them to give back to society.

The millennial generation was raised in a world so connected by technology, they are truly citizens of the world. The issues of people in the developing world are just as present as problems their neighbors have in their own community. This generation tends to be incredibly passionate about solving humanitarian, social justice and environmental issues, and they appreciate an employer who feels the same. Consider a cause or a project that might align with your team’s or organization’s core competencies — or develop new ones — and be intentional about letting employees contribute to larger philanthropic efforts.