How to Hire and Retain Millennial Employees


Disclaimer: If you’re looking for another blog article bashing millennials as lazy, fleeting, and poor team members, this isn’t for you. The internet is littered with news stories and opinions labelling this generation as inferior to previous generations in terms of talent and value to future employers. While the upcoming generation of American workers is rightfully accused of being a flight risk to their employers (2 out of 3 see themselves working elsewhere by 2020 and 1 out of 4 see themselves elsewhere within the next year), employers that choose to disregard millennials in their organization run the serious risk of failing to grow their business with the next generation of talent. Instead of choosing to believe that the next generation of American workers is inherently lazy and less worthwhile than others, businesses that choose to learn the new tendencies, preferences, and goals of millennials will be the ones that will best capitalize on their strengths. Here’s how companies that recruit and retain top talent will be the ones that will succeed.

1.     Recognize and Appreciate the Desire for Flexibility

For the emerging workforce, salary is only part of the equation when determining job satisfaction. Millennials place a key value on work flexible hours, working environments, and even cross-departmental teams. This has had a tremendous impact on job offers, office design, and how meetings are conducted. Recently, superstar news anchor Megyn Kelly was approaching the end of her contract with Fox News and was fielding offers from nearly every major network to work on their team. Despite receiving a record-setting offer of $20 million from Fox News, Kelly eschewed the offer in favor of working with NBC News for a far lower salary. Why? NBC “won her over by starting the talks with a question about what she was seeking, instead of flatly offering possibilities.” Central to her desires was to spend more time with her family, so NBC offered a package that shifted her hours to a more daytime role and ended up hiring one of the most successful anchors in the business.

            When hiring millennials, take a hard look at the job description you have in mind. Consider what your business can be more flexible on and what is really important for the role. Keep in mind that perks like parental leave, flexible hours, and paid time off can often make a role more attractive to a broader range of the talent pool than simply a relatively small bump in salary.

2.     Commit to Effective Training and Hiring Practices


There’s a classic meme that has made its way around LinkedIn of a conversation between a CFO and a CEO. The CFO says, “What if we invest in more training and they leave?” The CEO wisely replies, “What if we don’t, and they stay.” Because many traditional brands are skeptical of millennial workers, we’ve frequently seen them fail to commit to proper training, support infrastructure, or pay scale to attract and keep workers. This can take the form of not providing adequate training or equipment to be effective or hiring on a temporary basis to “see how it works out.”

            From a CPA’s perspective, one of the most dangerous ways we’ve seen companies attempt to save costs is by misclassifying employees that should receive a W2 as an independent contractor. While this saves employers the cost of offering the employee benefits and avoids their share of taxes, the IRS simply isn’t this stupid and you can end up paying incredibly large penalties on top of restitution. Speak with one of our team members if you’re in doubt on how you should classify your employees.

3.     Appreciate the Impact of Their Work


Count us among the people that commend millennials for the desire to make an impact throughout their lives. Even in the products they purchase like TOMS Shoes or Warby Parker Eyewear that benefits those in millennials want to make an impact through their everyday actions. Jason Dorsey, co-founder of the Center of Generational Kinetics, nailed it in a recent interview with the Journal of Accountancy. Though speaking about accounting, his thoughts can apply in any department.

“What Millennials want to see when they look for an accounting job is: How does this accounting function role or pathway really affect the overall business? Is the accounting going to be used for innovation? Is it going to be used for any one of the 10 things that will actually make a difference in the company?”


Showing your team members the impact that their contributions makes on the company (better yet, the world) can make a tremendous impact on their motivation. Not only do they get to see how they affect the final work product, they’ll be more likely to find innovative ways to make their role more effective for people in other departments as well.