How to Lead the Millennial Generation in the Workplace

By Debbie Ruston

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

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It is no surprise that each generation has different ideas and views on how things should be done. It is also no surprise that there is often resistance from older generations, believing they know better. Who is right, and who is wrong?

I suggest you change the question to, “What can each generation bring to the table and learn from each other?”. When we are willing to look at things differently, instead of simply being stuck in our ways, we can see different perspectives and learn from each other.

I am speaking as someone from the baby boomer generation. I agree that we have experience and knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. However, it would be unwise to think we have all the answers. If we are not learning and growing, we are falling behind. There is a world of information at our fingertips to learn.

When we look at the millennial generation, it is evident they are more educated than any previous generation. They have grown up in the digital age and can find answers to questions as quickly as they can enter them into their phone.

Millennials are quickly becoming the biggest portion of the workforce. With this in mind, it is important for companies to understand what is important to retain these talented young people.

Learning and Growing

They want to learn and grow, and they will do it with or without you. If the opportunity for learning, development, and growth within a company is not possible, they will move on. Most will only stay for 2-3 years, and if these opportunities are not provided, they will have no loyalty to your company. They will then find an opportunity that will allow them to get to the next level in their career.


As many millennials have devoted time to their education, they have already waited to settle down, buy a home, and start a family. It is not uncommon to see couples waiting until their early 30’s to marry and start a family.

They know what they want, and if they can’t see it happening where they are, they are ready and willing to move on to find what will help them take the next step forward. They don’t have time to waste. They are willing to work hard but not waste their years working somewhere that doesn’t utilize their potential and support their growth.


They want to feel valued. There are so many ways to help employees feel they are valued. A simple thank you can go a long way! When you see people doing things that make a difference to your customer, thank them! Think of how little effort it takes to bring someone that is going the extra mile a coffee in the morning when you are picking yours up. Get creative, and show your appreciation for those that are building your company.

Working from Home

Millennials want to work from home around their families. Today there are so many options that allow many work roles to be performed at home. This is a win/win for companies. With fewer employees in the office, the company doesn’t require large office buildings and less furniture, thereby reducing their expenses.

Work from Home

An employee that works from home obviously needs the self-discipline to get the work done. However, in many cases, the employee that works from home will be able to start earlier, work later, work when they are not feeling well, or if they have a sick child.

Snow days will also not be an issue in getting work done. How many companies lose several days annually to weather-related issues because people can’t travel? Imagine that the roads are all closed, but your staff is able to work because they don’t have to leave home to get the job done.

To insist that the employee is sitting in a chair in the office building so you can monitor their work performance is an outdated management style of control and ego. This is increasingly becoming more and more important to today’s workers. If you don’t provide the opportunity for employees to work from home when it is available, they will likely move on to somewhere else.


They also want to be a part of something meaningful. Even if your business is something routine and not really earth-shattering, you can implement ways to be the company that is making a difference. As Richard Branson says, “Doing good is good for business”. How is your company giving back? It creates goodwill with your clients and your employees.

It’s important to treat them as equals by collaborating and working together, not as superiors with threats over their heads. People perform better when they are motivated and feel like they are contributing, not by living in fear.

The bottom line is you either recognize and embrace what is required to retain top millennial talent, or the companies that do will welcome them with open arms.

How Do You Lead the Millennial Generation?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Debbie Ruston
Debbie Ruston
Debbie has been a successful entrepreneur and trainer since 1986, and has spent her career helping people discover and overcome their limitations. She works with individuals, businesses and the educational sector to develop the mindset of an entrepreneurial leader. She believes in taking an active stand for true human potential. Debbie also authors articles for several publications, and hosts a weekly podcast. You can connect with her on social media or by email:
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