Organizational leaders across the country are battling through the difficulties of hiring and retaining highly qualified talent in today’s employee-driven job market. And, they’re asking themselves, “What do Millennials want in the workplace?” With COVID recovery now in full swing, how can organizations adjust to the demands of the available workforce?

Here are four things I’ve focused on with leaders in multiple different industries to attract and retain Millennial and Gen Z talent:


To meet the demands within the new corporate culture, organizations must consider how to offer work-life balance as a selling point to attract top Millennial and Gen Z talent. Organizations that have embraced this demand and subsequently instituted a hybrid or remote option for employees have enjoyed the highest productivity and engagement rates from their workforce.

Caring, Ethical Managers

I recently spoke with a leader engaged in hiring for entry-level positions within the construction industry. He stated potential hires were looking for a new job because they felt undervalued and uncared for by their current employer. “Quality of manager” is at the top of the list in a recent Gallup poll of what younger employees seek at work. Quality, in this case, refers to leaders who are engaged, communicating with transparency and openness, and who care for and address employee well-being.

Opportunity to Make a Difference

Employers have a significant advantage in offering employees (at all levels) the opportunity to share in working to achieve something greater. We are subject to bad news cycle after bad news cycle—all day, every day. With this truism, employees are looking to change that reality and will hunt for an employer who can offer “making a positive impact” as an intrinsic organizational value.

Competitive Pay and Benefits

recent poll revealed financial security as a major concern for Millennial and Gen Z professionals. Combine this with the cultural demands of the Millennial-dominated workforce described above, and you can see some solutions emerging. Employers offering competitive and diverse benefits will both attract and retain talented associates. Employers who diversify compensation with family-related benefits will have a leg-up on the competition in the war for qualified associates. Child care, parental leave, and PTO are all viable selling points for job seekers today.

Interestingly, this list balances intrinsic and extrinsic variables that take both policy change and engaged leaders to implement. We can’t just offer more money than the opponent and expect to win the talent war. What other leader-intensive adaptation skills, policies, and initiatives are your organization using to develop a culture where today’s employees are thriving?

Leadership development is especially critical to implement for Millennials and Gen Z professionals. They are, after all, the next generation of leaders. But what are you doing to prepare them for it?

Our Next Leader Now leadership development program allows us to work with organizations (either in-person or remotely) to build the next generation of your elite leadership team. Contact us to get a customizable, research-based approach that ensures your rising leaders are capable of guiding transformational change while navigating the forever-evolving landscape of your field.

what do millennials want in the workplace