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How to Ignite Your Millennial Workforce

Millennials entering the workforce have become the poster children for the modern workplace. This generation has earned a reputation for needing special treatment, but the truth is, Millennials are not especially needy. They just happen to have been born into a society where there is an abundance of solutions for each of their needs. To them, anything is possible, and they have not known any other kind of reality.

Why Millennial Employees Seem Entitled

Millennials are making decisions about work and life in a market with an unlimited amount of options to choose from. While well-paying jobs are still valuable, there are a growing number of job options from which to choose. This abundance of opportunities frees them up to make choices based on purpose and value. Because most of their needs on Maslow’s hierarchy have been met, they live in a state of self-actualization. They want to make work decisions that allow them to reach their highest potential and create a positive impact on the world. Simply, they want meaning and purpose in their work.

We believe igniting millennials in the workplace starts with harnessing purpose to empower them to reach that highest potential. Here are the three steps to accomplishing this:

Step 1: Turn Career Paths into Journeys of Personal Growth

Today’s employee needs more than a career path in a company. Modern-day workers want help finding their purpose and bringing it to life. This process starts with their own personal growth; they want to know that working with your organization will give them the freedom to grow personally. The key is to support their individual path in a way that serves the company, too. If there is a certification they want to get, or a self-development conference they want to attend, send them. Give them the resources that empower them to become better people. Examples include life coaching, financial coaching and therapy. When millennials know leaders in the company are there to help them live in their purpose, they want to stay for the long haul and will work with their blood, sweat and tears.

Step 2: Turn Your Staff into a Connected Community

Today’s employees want more than a job. They want to be valued members of a community of like-minded people. Teams of employees must become more than a staff that simply completes tasks and reaches revenue targets. They must become communities of individuals who care about each other. Millennials want to do meaningful work with others who have similar values and purpose. Teams that effectively foster a connection around common values and purposes are a breeding ground for employees who are not only more fulfilled, but also more productive. In this environment, tasks become opportunities for employees to build meaningful connections with other people. Turning your staff into a community gives employees a sense of unity and deep human connection. When employees feel deeply connected to others, leaving the company becomes an emotionally tough decision that will go well beyond salary negotiations.

Step 3: Turn Your Offering into a Movement that Matters

Today’s workforce is living in a state of self-actualization. Employees want more than the corner office or a salary increase. In a world where millennials can work for any company anywhere in the world and complete their work from any location on Earth, a higher purpose is becoming necessary to compete in the talent market. As most of their needs are met, their energy is shifting outward toward creating a positive impact on others. The purpose of the organization has become a top variable when millennials are considering what company to work for. It is also the magnet that keeps them working for one company. The need to believe in the purpose of the organization is now vital; it not only attracts and retains top young talent, but it also intrinsically drives these employees to work harder in their daily work. It is the ultimate win-win scenario.

Now that we understand the state of the millennial workforce, forward-thinking companies can seize this perfect opportunity to break the mold of business as usual and engage young talent. Today’s employees want purpose; let us give them what they need to thrive.


ThomasWaterman co-founder of Purpose Pioneers. He believes that when we find meaning in our work, we experience real-time fulfillment. He can be contacted at thomas@purposepioneers.com and @purposepioneers on the socials.