Bridging The Millennial Expectation Gap

What can your organisation do to retain your Millennial employees—those tech-savvy individuals born between 1985 and 1999?

After all, the cost of replacing even one employee can run to tens of thousands of pounds. A report by Oxford Economics estimated it cost about £30,000 to replace one employee.[1] That includes the logistical cost of recruiting and absorbing a new worker and the cost of lost output while the replacement employee gets up to speed (estimated to be about £25,000).

It’s important to understand what Millennials expect and want from their work. What makes them tick?

Millennials have high expectations and refuse to fall into the same work trappings as their workaholic Baby Boomer parents, according to the co-authors of ‘Keeping the Millennials’, Dr Joanne G. Sujanksy and Dr Jan Ferri-Reed.[2]

Millennials want their employers to care about their success and expect their managers to provide regular (weekly if not daily) feedback about their progress. They grew up receiving praise and encouragement from parents, teachers and tutors, so don’t react well to criticism. It means managers need to lead with praise and then follow up with constructive criticism.

They want to have pride in the companies they work for and expect their employers to invest in their career and skill development.

They place a high value on work-life balance and so will look for companies that offer a flexible approach to working conditions and working hours.

“They will work hard for their employers, but they expect to be challenged, encouraged, and allowed a certain amount of flexibility to balance life and work.”

Unlike previous generations, Millennials often prefer to work in teams rather than on their own. They expect support and want to learn from their colleagues.

They expect to advance up the corporate ladder quickly and look for more than a high salary. The failure of employers to meet their expectations is a reason for high job turnover.

It’s a situation, says Mike Turner, the Managing Director of You Become, that he’s seen played out countless times in organisations. “Only yesterday I was speaking with a potential client who said the organisation has employees in that Millennial group and they don’t stay more than a year, maybe 18 months,” he says in his latest video.

“By the time they are getting to be really valuable employees they want to leave because the organisation isn’t spending enough time to understand what they want or helping to develop them, nor making them feel as though the organisation cares about developing their career. So, they go, which is a real tragedy.”

Jess Johnson, a recruitment blogger and a Millennial herself, agrees. “Keeping us engaged at work can be tricky, and disengaged millennials have no qualms about leaving for bigger and better opportunities,” she writes on the talent acquisition platform Crowdstaffing.[3]

We want the resources to shape our own careers. We don’t want jobs where we feel like cogs in a machine. We want to be engaged! We’re attracted to positions that enable us to grow and empower us with opportunities to learn and make impactful changes within the company.”

To better understand what your Millennial really want, an employee survey is the first step. It will reveal how your employees think about the work they do. It might also reveal issues in areas such as management. It will also give you clarity over what areas of your business need to be changed so that your employees feel more engaged and motivated.

For more detailed information about how YouBecome can help boost engagement and reduce staff turnover, please call a member of our team on 01932 977 090. YouBecome is a leading expert in employee engagement and organisational culture for ambitious UK companies.

[1] ‘It costs over 30k to replace a staff member’, HR Review,, February 25, 2014

[2] ‘Keeping the Millennials’, Sujanksy, Joanne G., Ferri-Read, Jan, WileyCDA,, 2009

[3] ‘Engaging Millennial Employees so They Don’t Jump Ship’, Johnson, Jess, Crowdstaffing,, February 13, 2018

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