It’s 2019 and we have 5 generations working side by side. What each of these generations has experienced ultimately effects how they view work, responsibilities, and relationships. Lets first look at what each generation has experienced:



  • Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Disciplined
  • Workplace Loyalty
  • Move to the “Burbs”
  • Vaccines


  • Fall of Berlin Wall
  • Gulf War
  • Independent
  • Free Agents
  • Internet, MTV, AIDS
  • Mobile Phone


  • Age 21 and Younger
  • Optimistic
  • High Expectations
  • Apps
  • Social Games
  • Tablet Devices
  • Vietnam, Moon Landing
  • Civil/Women’s Rights
  • Experimental
  • Innovators
  • Hard Working
  • Personal Computer


  • 9/11 Attacks
  • Community Service
  • Immediacy
  • Confident, Diversity
  • Social Everything
  • Google, Facebook

There is no doubt that each generation has different drivers. The real question is what drives our current generation of Millennials? Is it bean bag chairs and the ability to work remotely? Is it what social causes their employers support? Is it really that different from previous generations or is this generation just louder about what they expect?

In order to answer this question, we asked a group of millennials to share what their criteria is when evaluating other opportunities – and here are their top 5 things:

  • Opportunities to learn and grow
  • Quality of manager
  • Quality of management
  • Interest in type of work
  • Opportunities for advancement

Are these top 5 really exclusive to millennials? Absolutely not! In fact, many of these top 5 cross multiple generations – it all depends on the priorities of the individual within each generation.

However, knowing these broad drivers can help you define your strategy when trying to attract, retain, and inspire millennials.

Opportunities to Learn and Grow

  • Emphasize their development programs
    • Tuition reimbursement policies
    • On-the-job training
    • Certifications
    • Participation in conferences/professional organizations
  • Advancement Understanding
    • Concrete details on promotion decisions process
    • How does company handle career pathing or performance management? (NO BS! They will find out online!)

Quality of Manager, Quality of Management

  • Quality of Manager
    • Not a new idea or unique among millennials
    • Ensure candidates meet with manager before hire
    • Get a better sense of candidate’s fit to team
  • Quality of Management
    • Also not unique to millennials
    • Demonstrate the leadership tea,/company has sense of purpose and direction
    • Connect candidate’s role with that direction

Interest in Work, Overall Compensation

  • Interest in work
    • Get candidates excited about role
    • Go beyond job description
    • Emphasize potential outcomes of projects and responsibilities
    • Emphasize how candidate can help company – Be specific!
  • Overall Compensation
    • Less focus than baby boomers
    • High levels of student debt
    • Already standard discussion point
    • Don’t rely solely on competitive wages

Maximize Performance

  • Managers Need to be Coaches
    • Job clarity and responsibilities
    • Ongoing feedback and communication
    • Opportunities to learn and grow
    • Accountability
  • Moving Beyond the Job Description
    • Know how his/her key goals and performance align with team and organizational objectives
    • Learn to prioritize responsibilities
    • Offer sense of direction
    • Focus on short and long term
  • Frequent Feedback and Interactions
    • At least one/week
    • Currently less than once a month
    • Meaningful feedback
  • Managers Must Initiate
    • Only 15% of millennials comfortable asking for feedback
    • Only 33% say they’ve told their manager what they need most to get their work done and why

If you are a not a millennial and are recruiting millennials, its important to know what they think is most important. What you are most excited about may not be what gets them interested in your role. The best approach is to find out what motives and inspired the individual – if that cant be done, use these as a guide to address some of the top things millennials want to know about!

For additional information on talent attraction, acquisition or optimization, contact me directly at [email protected] or 734.521.2800.

Happy Hunting!

Steve Lowisz


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