Effectively Engaging with Millennials in the Workplace

A large chunk of the workforce in India today is made up by millennials, and the number will grow consistently doubling up by the year 2020. As the future of work dynamics rests on their young and extremely talented shoulders, millennials in the workplace feel, businesses need to start taking their perspective into consideration. In a recent survey by one of the largest professional services networks, wherein a large number of Millennials and some of their Gen Z peers participated; almost half the respondents of both generations, shared the view that businesses are making a positive impact in the socio-political and economic state of affairs. This optimism was not seen in their global counterparts. However, despite that, the millennials and gen Z -ers differed strongly when it came to career goals, life goals, aspirations and also their respective viewpoints regarding the work culture. While most of the younger lot (Gen Z) are still pursuing studies, Millennials who are the chief workforce in our country aspire to travel and explore the world, as opposed to buying a house or starting a family, which takes a backseat in the list of top aspirations.

According to the survey, while the newer generation Z gave more importance to stepping into the workforce with the pre-conditioned skillset, millennials in the workplace prefer to be able to acquire the skills they need from their respective businesses. The traditional model of work culture may have encumbered their ability to outperform, leaving them unhappy with the work situation. It’s no wonder then, that majority of the millennials believe in ‘work less travel more’ ideology.

The average Indian millennial has a fresher perspective and a burning desire to constantly learn and grow at the workplace. Earning higher wages, or increasing job tenure, is far too low on the scale of priorities. What millennials want in the workplace is a higher learning curve, innovation and flexibility as well as adaptability of the work culture. Failure of an organization to feed the millennial workforce and their cognizance can lead to quitting of jobs and going in search for more enriching prospects.

You might also be interested to read: Importance of Organizational Culture – The Extent it Colors the Environment for Employees

What millennials want in the workplace

Managing Millennials in the workplace doesn’t need to be an insurmountable task. Organizations and managers need to understand what matters most to millennials is job satisfaction. Also, this particular breed of workforce i.e. millennials and gen Z, needs to have challenges thrown at them consistently, in order to keep the motivation levels up throughout. As the blurred lines between career and hobbies keep evaporating into thin air, the millennials in the workplace admit to choosing jobs that they love instead of settling for mediocre work that may or may not earn a higher paycheck. On the other hand, their Gen Z cohorts are seemingly far less dissatisfied with the high-paying-endless-slogging jobs.

Having grown up in an era that allowed self-aggrandizement through their formative years, millennials are used to sharing responsibility and being a part of decision-making in their personal and family lives. Organizations that allow a chance to carry out the same tasks at work, can better provide millennial job satisfaction that generation Y seeks.

So, what do millennials want at their workplace exactly? To begin with, they want flexibility. They also want to be able to work from absolutely anywhere. Millennials in the workplace scenario of India are open to team-collaboration and they do value the benefits that it brings home. Realizing that every task needs to be taken seriously and sincerely with laser-focused attention, they would rather do the same in the comfort of their home or someplace they can better put their energies to optimum use. As the current work culture in our country is skewed towards long working hours, there is a consensus among the millennials that work should not get in the way of other important life-goals or priorities like, fitness, socializing, travel etc. This breed of workforce believes in striking the perfect work-life-balance and would rather not waste a PTO or paid leave, on medical appointments or important chores. So, work-from-home arrangements and flexible clock-in hours are on the top of the list. Employers must realize that millennials have unlimited access to data that suggests “work hours do not equate to better quality and results”.

Regular, constructive feedback is another major expectation of millennials in the workplace. Employers must provide real-time feedback and be specific to the same, while also maintaining a positive work environment, to meet their career expectations. This is an easy requisite to fulfil and would give the job satisfaction that millennials are seeking from their employers. The say-it-like-it-is generation also knows how to take feedback positively, even though all feedback may not be 100% correct.

An open social environment is extremely important and high on the list of what millennials want. Millennials and Gen Z -ers value spending time with their friends and family equally and are used to having a large social network. They crave this social interaction even at work. A good example of how to achieve this at work level is by arranging regular ideation gatherings where all employees can meet and exchange notes, and socialize with each other. This will help maintain healthy employee relations and promote a positive outlook among all members of the office.

Indian organizations can do a much better job managing the millennials they hire if they only take into account their need to be always in the know. Millennials always want to know the answer to “Why?”. Most of them, while growing up had access to Google, Yahoo! and other information service providing platforms, which helped them know the ‘why’ behind everything they saw/heard/or went through. Our work culture isn’t at the stage where information is freely available to whoever wants it, and millennials don’t really know that yet. They are hence always throwing questions and concerns at their managers, demanding rationales for everything. The young cohort may not realize the nature of their approach and end up coming across as push-backs. This can be easily dealt with by a subtle approach on the manager’s part. Taking appropriate steps to ensure that millennials in the workplace feel they belong here is crucial to the socio-economic development of our society, as the time is not far when the reins of the economy will be handed over to the enthusiastic group that is capable of making a global impact.


  • ‘5 Things Millennials Want at Work’, Millennial Boss, 19 Oct 2018
  • ‘59% Indian Millennials optimistic about economic outlook: Deloitte study’, AINS
  • ‘Senior Infosys HR Leader on the three things Indian offices can do to prepare for millennial workers’, Richard Lobo
  • ‘Deloitte survey shows, Millennials prefer to work less and travel more’, LiveMint

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