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Engaging Millennials at Work, by Ashley Ritter

Randi Craigen - Monday, November 12, 2018


5. Provide Access to Financial Literacy and Tuition Repayment Programs

Only 32% of millennials consider themselves entrepreneurs according to Fortune, nearly 10% lower than previous generations. Even though they are most likely to not launch an entrepreneurial endeavor until their 40’s, student loan debt is the pervading reason many of them feel crippled to dream. Raising capital will also be a critical part of their future success, so find ways for them to become financially savvy. Offer it as a part of employee benefits, or perks for retention.

4. Help them Develop Focus and Provide Leadership Training

A common misconception about entrepreneurship is the idea of one managing too many projects and never sleeping. Deep Patel from says, “First-time entrepreneurs often become distracted by flashy ideas, whether they come from inside or outside the company. Mature entrepreneurs, however, learn to say no to 99 percent of ideas that are likely to steer their team off course.” See this as an opportunity to shape the next generation of entrepreneurs with your hard-earned lessons. Provide your staff with thoughtful and intentional leadership development learning. In this way, they will grow in their ability to self-regulate, reflect, and work with teams.

3. Let Them Question You. In Fact, Encourage It.

While the entrepreneurial community in many ways is redefining the workplace, it is all too easy to bring knee jerk reactions to the table when managing staff, specifically as it relates to authority structures. Millennial entrepreneurs understand that the future of entrepreneurship is not going to be defined by the best ideas, but the right questions. At Google X, their Moonshot team “creates radical new technologies to solve some of the worlds toughest problems.” They bring innovation, invention and creativity together. Derek Thompson from the Atlantic visited Google X and said in their words, “Moonshots don’t begin with brainstorming clever answers. They start with the hard work of finding the right questions.” Instead of bristling at your staff’s continued questions, leverage it into the direction most useful for your business. Radically integrate it into the culture of your team.

2. Facilitate Intrapreneur Initiatives.

Just like building muscle, encouraging intrapreneurship from within your organization can capitalize on creativity in new ways. For example, a once a year intrapreneur initiative can encourage staff to think outside of the box, practice their ability to give and receive feedback, and can be a space for them to showcase some of their own potential dreams. Ironically, by allowing your staff some time and energy to pursue their own ideas, you can endear them to your organization, retain them longer, and cultivate happier and more fulfilled employees. Whether it be once a year, or once a quarter, intrapreneurship initiatives can be a fun, competitive way to keep staff engaged.

1. Let them take your mission to the next level. They are redefining entrepreneurship and want to change the world now.

For millennial entrepreneurs, the mission is not an afterthought. It is not an end goal. It must be in the everyday fabric and experience of the business. Many of them have different aspirations than to be the next Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Besos. While they admire the success, they aren’t dazzled by only money or solving an app problem. They want everyone to have access to clean water. They want rural areas to have access to telemedicine. They do not understand why 4.5 billion people lack safely managed sanitation and would like to solve that problem now.

While your business may have nothing to do with those issues, find ways to support the social concerns of staff. For them, it’s not just a nicety to do on the side. It is central to who they want to be in this world and why they wake up and go to work. Tap into this, and you can engage them in exciting ways.

In conclusion, millennial staff can add great value in an entrepreneurial landscape. But it begins with authentic engagement of who they are, their best talents, and how your company can be an agent of their development and growth.

(content originally featured at

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