Understanding Millennial Employees

Crawford Thomas Recruiting Blog

Best Practices for your working Millennials

Before we pick apart my generation of millennials, let’s set the facts straight. Individual human beings, rather than generations, are what make up a workforce.

Having said that, there are clear cut characteristics that differentiate Baby Boomers, Generation Xers and Millennials. I am echoing Micah Soloman, of Forbes Magazine, when he says “I’m going to disappoint some readers by refusing to join in with the very vocal chorus that’s been ranting about “kids these days…expect medals just for showing up”. Quite the contrary.

Millennial employees are some of the the best-educated. They represent a workforce with the highest SAT scores, advanced computer coding ability, and highest levels of education! This is all being taught to them at a very young age, some even before middle school. Solomon continues “regardless of whether you agree with this assessment of millennial employees, you’d best get used to them being around; it’s predicted that by 2025 three quarters of workers globally will be millennials”.

As I mentioned, there are different characteristics for each generation. This does not make millennials better or worse than others, this article is simply to obtain a better understanding of your millennial employees or potential employees. Let’s cover three key facts about millennials that may surprise you.


According to, well nearly everyone, millennials expect a timetable for career advancement that comes off as unrealistic to their managers. This sense of entitlement leads back to their life at home. Growing up as a millennial, in many cases, we were included in family decision-making. Beginning with vacations, grocery shopping, clothing, negotiating chores, and so on. Now as we enter our professional careers, we’re getting pinned for an immediate sense of entitlement. While referring to it as entitlement is over simplifying, it does make sense. Let me explain.

In a great Article by INC MagazineEntitlement is perhaps the top word associated with the Millennial generation. In fact, 71 percent of American adults think of Millennials as “selfish,” and 65 percent think Millennials are “entitled.” Whether or not you believe the “entitlement” label is accurate, perception is reality.”

If you’re an employer looking to manage a team of millennials, “try to create opportunities that give them the chance to take responsibility and find success on a micro level before they move on to larger roles”. Millennials want to feel like a family member inside of a large organization, rather than a number on a name badge. The solution is simple, have them focus on small projects to begin with and make sure your company has a clear path for advancement in a realistic time-frame. As your team continues to succeed, allow them to work on larger projects.


It’s no secret that millennials, at an early age, have a closer involvement with their families, teachers, and coaches. We received support and encouragement for even the smallest tasks. This can relate back to the statement of “kids these days want a medal for everything”. When really, we’re just looking for feedback. It can be very tough on a new millennial employee when they complete a task and receive no recognition for the assignment good or bad. Feedback is also known as constructive criticism. While in theory it seems like a best-practice, this can also have a negative impact on your younger employees. My advice is to have frequent interactions with your team, try to provide “good” words of encouragement when possible, to take away from the harsh negative feedback that could be inevitable.

The solution for providing feedback is easy, apply a system of input and constructive criticism after an assignment. This will create a better work environment for millennials and all generations! A suggestion would be to have quarterly or monthly reviews, but don’t be shy to provide feedback on the fly as well.

Work/Life Balance.

As a millennial, I often get pegged negatively for wanting to leave right at 5:30 PM. It’s an unwillingness to sacrifice my life outside of work. According to Forbes, “[millennials have an] unwillingness to sacrifice their off-work time or to make other lifestyle compromises in return for financial compensation. It’s been argued that millennials’ inclination in this regard relates to them having watched their boomer parents delay happiness in return for career advancement, a worldview they’re not willing to buy into for themselves.”

Now there’s no clear cut answer for this one. If you’re an employer in nearly any industry, you’re fighting the good-fight of scheduling employees in the most humane way possible. A short solution is to accept that the millennial desire for work-life balance is admirable and that any scheduling solutions you make in this regard will also benefit your overall workforce. This, however, is not just pinned to one just generation.


There you have it. If you truly read through, you’ll notice that millennials have both lots of similarities and differences than their generations before. The sense of entitlement can be blamed on multiple reasons, but the solution is simple, create a path for success that your employee must follow. Feedback is easy, provide a quick comment on their work performance. Try and have more good feedback than bad, if you find yourself having multiple conversations about negative feedback, perhaps that employee is not suited for the role. Last, give your employees a chance to spend time with their friends, family, and enjoying life outside of work. If you don’t use these three keys in your work environment, you better believe another company will.


If you’re ready to start hiring for your own team of any generation, check us out here

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Sources provided by: Forbes.com and Inc.com 







Crawford Thomas RecruitingUnderstanding Millennial Employees