Millennials, Gen Y, Echo-boomers – they’re known by many names, but one thing is for certain, this is the generation that broke with tradition and made adulthood their own. Millennials now make up 35% of the UK workforce and have redefined working life across the world.

As such, employers have had to work harder to understand what it is that these professionals are looking for from their careers and how to keep them engaged in the workplace. So what exactly is a millennial and what makes this group of workers so different?


What is the millennial workforce?

As more young professionals get their foot on the career ladder, there are now four generations that make up the UK workforce. While there is debate around what age actually constitutes a millennial, those in their early twenties to late thirties typically fall into this bracket.

Every generation has had its own defining characteristics, but millennials are the digital natives. This generation were raised at a time when technology was experiencing vast improvements and there was a great deal of economic and social change underway. This produced an increasingly conscious group of professionals.

Why is the millennial workforce so different?

Millennials have received a lot of bad press in recent years, being mislabelled as vulnerable, lazy or entitled, but this is far from the truth. The reality is, this generation have different priorities to those of their predecessors, especially when it comes to their career.

As a group, millennials are more purpose driven than their elders, they are more concerned with life experiences than possessions. But how does this translate into the workforce? Where the focus used to be on employees giving 100% if they wanted a decent pay packet and bonus, millennials have flipped the switch and businesses are now expected to go the extra mile to impress and retain talented workers.

What’s more, generation by generation it is becoming less imperative for individuals to stay within the same organisation for long and this is reflected in the work patterns of millennials, who have also become known as job hoppers. In fact, a study from Deloitte found that almost half of millennials plan to leave a job within their first two years.

In the past, professionals would stay within a company for years, slowly working their way to the top of the ladder. Frequently leaving jobs was seen as an unprofessional thing to do and many feared it looked bad on your CV. But now, with more focus on experiences and trying new things, millennials are more inclined to leave jobs quickly to explore new avenues.

It’s also worth noting that this generation is highly focused on their own personal health and wellbeing and this has also been reflected in many workplaces across the UK. Some business have begun implementing four day working weeks, others offer flexible working hours, and mental health days are becoming an increasingly common practice due to changes in attitudes surrounding the wellbeing of staff.

What keeps a millenial workforce engaged?

Salary is no longer the number one career priority for young professionals. Instead this generation focuses more on progression, flexibility, travel and wellbeing.

Nicholas Clements, Benefits & Rewards at The Dining Club Group comments;

“With the more traditional work benefits only providing one-off cash bonuses and pension support, it’s unsurprising that this no longer appeals to the majority of the workforce.”

For this reason, businesses need to shake things up if they hope to keep staff engaged and hold on to their talented workers. There are a number of ways they can begin to do this.

1. Provide opportunities for development

Personal growth is important to millennials and they don’t like to feel stuck in a rut. So it’s important that businesses offer regular opportunities for them to train, learn new skills and develop in their role. This really is key to keeping them engaged and happy at work. This could be through on the job training, or even online courses. These days we have a huge amount of information and opportunities right at our fingertips.

2. Offer lifestyle perks

There are a huge number of lifestyle perks that will appeal to millennials, and these don’t have to come at a great expense to employers. This generation places a lot of focus on their wellbeing, both mentally and physically. Offering perks such as discounted dining membership can be a great way to appeal to this audience.
Work-life balance is also becoming increasingly talked about as a result of this generation. In order to keep employees engaged, businesses should make strong work-life balance a key part of their company culture. This can really help to attract and retain talented professionals. Millennials want to be out enjoying their free time, and discouraging overtime or replying to emails outside of work hours can be hugely beneficial for both parties.

3. Organise regular catch-ups

Another common misconception of millennials is that they’re unable to take criticism and are emotionally vulnerable. Once again, this is not the case. This generation is just more self-aware. They want to get the most from every experience and when it comes to developing themselves, they’d prefer constructive feedback. With this in mind, managers should be organising regular catch ups with their employees to discuss their progress, if they hope to keep them engaged and loyal to the business.

With millennials now making up a third of the workforce, keeping them engaged and happy is vital for attracting and retaining talented employees. It’s clear that an enticing pay packet isn’t going to cut it anymore; employers need to consider how they can create a great company culture and offer exciting perks that complement the lifestyle choices of the millennial generation.

Our memberships to tastecard and Gourmet Society are a great way to achieve this. To discuss implementing one of our dining cards as part of your employee benefits scheme, please fill out our contact form, email or call 0800 304 7337.