IT’S TRUE: Millennials want more, but it’s not what you think.

More than free lunch and ping pong tables in the break room. More than wearing jeans and flexible work hours. More than cool, modern offices and unlimited vacation time. Millennials wants more. So much more. Specifically, they want to feel purpose and meaning from the work that they do, and they want to feel good about the company they work for.

That’s good news for organizations who care about attracting engaged and motivated employees. Millennials are HIGHLY engaged and motivated. I did a research study to learn more about Millennials attitudes toward work engagement and burnout with about 265 Millennials, and the results indicated that Millennials get deeply engrossed in their work and even feel that the lines between who they are and what they do blur a bit. They demonstrated higher levels of engagement at this stage in their careers than older cohorts of workers.

What does this mean?

Millennials are engaged – about three times more emotionally engaged than Gen Xers! And they want to be even more engaged! They thrive on the energy generated from working on exciting projects. They are dedicated to causes and missions that make them feel that their work is important, and they exude pride for their involvement in that work. Perhaps most importantly, they are ABSORBED in their work.

How can organizations nurture this engagement to keep their Millennial employees and help them avoid burnout?

My first recommendation is to focus on interventions that develop and sustain dedication. This variable carried the most importance in engagement, and is characterized by a person experiencing a sense of importance, value, and pride in their work (Schaufeli, Bakker, & Salanova, 2006). One organization I work with is reworking their total rewards program to provide the recognition and incentives that appeal more to Millennials, like professional development opportunities, sabbatical time to do volunteer work, and investment in continuing education. Most organizations immediately think of basic compensation as the most effective lever for creating engagement, but SURPRISE… it’s not. Compensation typically falls 4th in employees’ ranking of important job factors (, 2015).

Another way I’m exploring the Millennial experience of dedication and social action is by attending MCON 2017 this year in Washington, D.C. ( While it’s an obvious fit for non-profit organizations who desire to know more about connecting with Millennials and sharing ideas about causes, it is likewise crucial that for-profit organizations get in on the social cause dialogue. Why? Because 90% of consumers would switch to a brand that was associated with a social or environmental cause. And 62% of people surveyed would work for a company with a clear CSR, even for a lower salary (, 2015). Clearly, organizations who evolve with Millennials will have to join them in doing good while doing business.

Interested in an assessment of your organization’s strategy around attracting, developing, and retaining Millennial talent? Contact me to start the conversation!