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Learn the 4 “M’s” of Managing Millennials

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Erin Cushing
on February 03, 2016

It’s not news that millennials are now the most-represented generation in the American workforce, but what is surprising is how unprepared so many managers are to develop and execute talent management strategies that set these young employees up for success.

While you might not believe that this group needs tailored management tactics, consider this: according to our original research, while more than 75% of millennials are “engaged” or “very engaged” in their current job, nearly two-thirds are still entertaining other career opportunities. This Digital Generation always has an eye out for the next best thing – which is why you need to make talent management a priority to retain your top millennial employees.

It can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. When examining your talent management strategies, focus on these 4 “M’s” to better engage, develop, and retain your best millennials:

Multiple Feedback Streams

It’s no secret that the Digital Generation LOVES feedback, and feedback in themillennial, millennials, digital generation, hr workplace is no different. Millennials prefer to receive feedback frequently; half of our survey respondents want feedback on their performance at least monthly, if not more frequently. However, this isn’t a case of young people wanting to receive meaningless praise; nearly 60% of millennials believe that reviews and formalized feedback are effective at boosting their performance.

Worried about the time drain these monthly check-ins could become on your personal productivity? Don’t fret: instead of trying to replicate the highly formal yearly review every month with your report, have informal checks-ins on pre-determined goals and projects where you relay short, pointed feedback that will help your Digital Generation employees grow in the short term, and leave the larger over-arching conversations for the annual review.

 Also, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be the only person from which your direct reports receive feedback; use the right performance management technology to collect departmental or team-based peer reviews for your Digital Workforce employees. Our original research found that 78.7% of millennials consider peer feedback as “valuable” or “most valuable”; empower them with these multiple feedback streams and see the positive effects on their performance and engagement with their work.


Want to engage millennials, develop them into effective leaders, and offer collaborative opportunities for both younger and more experienced team members? Mentorship programs are a fantastic way to accomplish all three goals. Nearly 80 percent (78.8%) of millennials say mentorship programs make them feel more engaged with their company. All good news, right?

Well, it is if you’re effectively communicating with your workforce about these opportunities. One in six of our survey respondents were unsure if their company even offered a formal mentorship program. Make sure you’re communicating the multiple opportunities – both structured programs and informal interactions with more experience staff – to your employees to capitalize on these talent development benefits.


Surprised? While it is true that the Digital Generation values organizational mission statements and community impact, when it comes to actually deciding upon a job opportunity, these young professionals are pragmatic: 78.1% of millennials would leave their current job for better pay, and 60.7% of Digital Generation members consider salary their top job consideration factor. Fair compensation is a big factor in recruiting, motivating, and retaining top millennial performers, so a strong pay for performance strategy could be useful. No matter how you structure your compensation strategy, make sure you are clearly communicating it to your employees – if millennials are considering jumping ship, and salary is their main reason for leaving, then you need to make sure they understand exactly how and why they are receiving the compensation they are.

It’s also important to discuss recognition when discussing money. Both monetary and non-monetary recognition matter immensely to young professionals. According to our focus group participants, recognition is the most important performance motivator. Money continues to play a role in recognition; 85.7% of survey respondents viewed performance-based raises as “important” or “very important.”

Multicultural Mindset

Diversity has a huge impact on your organization in general, but it particularly affect millennials, which are also the most diverse generation in American history. One in six of our survey participants felt their current organization was not inclusive. Additionally, those who felt their organization was not inclusive were 1.7x more likely to be actively looking for a new opportunity.

In order to appeal to millennial job candidates, and to better motivate and hold on to your best millennial employees, focus on creating a culturally diverse workforce, maintaining equitable compensation policies, and offer inclusive learning and development opportunities.

It’s time to face facts; as the makeup of your workforce changes, your talent management strategies also need to change. Learn more about the Digital Generation, and how they will affect your organization: download our original research report!

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