The BLOG: Culture

Ten Ways To Survive and Thrive With Millennials in the Workplace — The Good, The Bad, and The Head-Scratchers

I might be the harshest critic of my generation.  Seriously.  I’ve written countless pieces about my fellow millennials and how many of them are giving us a bad name.

As a matter of fact, I run a company that was so inundated with applications by millennials that I had to create The Snowflake Test.  I suppose that’s what happens when you have a massive bar, a private caterer, access to gyms, and you allow employees to trade sick days for guns, ammo, and range time.

But after some recent pieces I wrote beating up on millennials (and others talking about my generation’s selling points), I was inundated with other business owners and executives who wanted to weigh in.  Here are THEIR thoughts on millennials in the business world — positive, negative, and wonderment:

1.  Hire in the Now:

“Contrary to popular belief, we aren’t anti-Corporate America but the structure of most businesses today thwarts our natural strengths rather than providing the environment we need to thrive. The qualities hiring managers looked for in 1967 are not necessarily the qualities they should look for in 2017. The people who knew the most – who had the highest “IQ” – rose higher and faster in the ranks. Now, information is cheap. So when you’re hiring Millennials, the differentiating factor is not their IQ. More often, it’s their ‘I will’ – their motivation, enthusiasm, grit, and perseverance to accomplish the work.”

James Goodnow, Millennial Attorney, Fennemore Craig, P.C., Phoenix, Arizona


2.  Look into the Future:

“[Millennials are] the trend-setters of the world. Millennials will of course be the best tool to help figure out what’s next, and it’s how you will find out what you need to do to stay relevant and adapt. Our millennial employees are who we go to for upcoming trends in not just our industry, but pop culture and more. [They are] more out-of-the-box thinking and challenging traditional ways of doing tasks, providing a much greater improvement in productivity and ideas.”

— Eyal Levy, Founder and CEO of Yogibo (, Nashua, New Hampshire


3.  Build Your Team:

“Millennials prefer less hierarchy, more transparency, and flatter organizations. Millennials are much more team-oriented. They excel in group environments and prefer to work on shorter/smaller versus longer/larger projects. They have grown up digitally native, with more access, and greater privilege than any prior group. Millennials require greater flexibility in the workplace. Examples include work schedules, and how and where they work.”

— Jason M. Hill, Founding Partner, Sound Advice (, Denver, Colorado


4.  Appreciation Goes a Long Way:

“‘Just because I said so’ does not work with this crowd. Explain what the work is, who is depending on it, why it matters, and what the consequences of not doing it well are. Particularly for entry-level employees who may not understand why their work is valuable, be sure to explain how everyone’s work matters to team performance. Appreciation matters. Harvard, Wharton, the London School of Economics, etc. have done lots of research on the impact of appreciation in the workplace, and we know that teams that feel appreciated out-perform those that don’t up to 27% on the bottom line. Just saying Please and Thank you throughout your day changes the dynamic from people unsure if their work matters to feeling appreciated. No more does “your paycheck is your thank you” work in the workplace.”

— Lee Caraher, San Francisco, California, Author of Millennials & Management: The Essential Guide To Making it Work at Work

The Boomerang Principle: Inspire Lifetime Loyalty From Your Employees


5.  Be Prepared For A Sense of Entitlement:

“As an employer of 150 mostly-millennial-age workers, I have my fair share of experiences working with millennials. They are a sharp contrast to the older generation, and even the late-teens that I have working for me. For some odd reason, they approach the workplace with an attitude of cockiness entitlement, as if I owe them a job. The ironic thing is, I have 19-year-olds working for me who are more technologically literate, who can ‘keep up’ with the pace due to their younger brain, and best of all, they are still eager to learn even though they outperform my millennial employees on a consistent basis.”

— Trent Silver, Workplace Expert, CEO of, Tampa, Florida


6.  Give Them Purpose:

“Purpose-driven work outweighs the numbers on your paycheck much more than I expected. It’s not as black and white as the traditional definition of work-life balance, but there is more of an emphasis on personal fulfillment, social interaction, and flexibility than I experienced in my previous life at a large, corporate company environment. The result is that it can be challenging (or simple, depending what approach you take) to keep employees motivated and invested in the workplace. If money alone doesn’t cut it, it can be challenging to figure out what works.”

— Kerri Moriarty, Head of Company Development, Cinch Financial, Boston, Massachusetts


7.  Allow Them To Progress:

“Millennials like to show progress and movement in their career, meaning they want to work hard and advance through your company — great for SMBs where resources are low.  Millennials want to feel passionate about their work, meaning they’ll bring energy and focus to the projects they run autonomously and with authority, assuming they’re aligned with their interests.  Great for companies who need someone to run with a project without a lot of hand-holding — when millennials feel like their own boss, they’re that much happier.”

Morgan Chaney, Head of Marketing, Blueboard, San Francisco, California


8.  Allow Them Ownership:

“A recent study by Deloitte showed that 77% of millennials felt they had ‘total’ to ‘a large degree of’ control over their career path. This powerful statistic suggests the millennial generation is eager and prepared to take ownership of their work-related responsibilities. However, those looking for career advancement must understand how trust is earned – by spending time in the seat, building a professional reputation, and showcasing your ability to truly engage in something you are passionate about.”

— Amy Lyons, Managing Partner, SHIFT Communications, Boston, Massachusetts


9.  Meet Them Halfway:

If you want to hire millennials, you need to meet them where they are. What millennials want in terms of work/life balance is to be able to have the best of both worlds. They want a work life that fulfills as much as their personal life does and seek out positions with companies that offer challenging workloads, flexible scheduling, and environments that allow for collaboration and positive energy. Offer them a mix of that trifecta so that they will stay and feel confident in that decision because just as much as the company is growing and progressing forward, so are they

Deborah Sweeney, CEO of, Calabasas, California


10.  Be Honest:

“[Statistics show] 31 percent of new hires will quit a job within the first six months. Xers and Millennials don’t feel the same loyalty toward companies that Boomers do. These two generations are at risk of being poached or just leaving. The Millennials’ distrustful nature is calmed when a company is forthright even when the news isn’t good. For Millennials — the most educated generation in American history — TaskUs resonates with tuition reimbursement. TaskUs [also] takes transparency to an extreme, sharing revenue, C-suite salaries, and much more with its employees.“

Jaspar Weir, Co-Founder (and Stereotypical Millennial), TaskUs, Santa Monica, California


Kyle S. Reyes is President and CEO of The Silent Partner Marketing. He’s also an acclaimed keynote speaker on entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing and social media. You can follow him on Facebook.