5 May 2023

Mastering Millennial Loyalty: 9 Proven Strategies to Keep Gen Y Committed to Your Company

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Today's workforce has reached a crucial point where availability is low and mobility is high. As boomers continue to retire, the current largest generational workforce is Millennials, or Gen Y, born between 1981 and 1996. In earlier years, generation Y got a reputation in their 20s for being feckless job-hoppers but today, the numbers show that when a workplace is right, they'll stick through to the end.

Gen y employees' loyalty is greater than first assessed. Millennial professionals truly have a strong sense of loyalty when a company offers what they need and shows loyalty in return. While they will leave toxic jobs that damage their health and wellbeing, making the right moves can inspire your Gen Y employees to stay through many years, projects, and promotions. 

In this blog, we will explore how to create a workplace that reveals the strengths and loyalties of the professional millennial generation, and open the doors to their younger contemporaries - Gen Zs - who follow in their footsteps.

Related: How to Engage and Motivate Your Gen Z Workforce

1) Competitive Compensation with Flexible Benefits

No matter what generation a  professional belongs to, compensation matters. However, younger workers have reached professional maturity in a time when discussing salaries and ensuring that they are getting fair pay is the norm, not the exception. They believe that employers should name their salary range first and that open discussion of salary is a protection against old-school biases that maintained prejudicial pay structures. Millennials expect employers to strive for competitive compensation based on local standards and to keep pay relatively equal between people doing the same job.

Benefits packages also play an important role, but millennials know better than to accept a one-size-fits-all policy. They know that not all households are a nuclear family. They want health insurance and retirement benefits that can be adapted to the individual and their unique household structure rather than a standard package.

Related: Unlocking the Power of Employee Benefits for a Motivated Workforce

2) Focus on Work-Life Balance and Quality of Life

Millennials are well known for valuing work-life balance. But it's not just about self-care or employee rewards; it's about avoiding the mistakes and harm caused to previous generations like the baby boomers. Millennials watched their Gen X or Boomer parents burn out on jobs with poor balance. They were around when medical reports were publicised about diabetes and other health risks associated with long work hours and too-few breaks. 

As a result, younger workers are prepared to defend themselves from toxic work schedules and psychological contract breach by prioritising employers who value their well-being as people, not just assets. They will remain loyal to companies that help them lead healthy, fulfilling lives both in and out of the office, but will quickly leave workplaces that callously put their health and family time at risk.

3) Remote-Capable and Cloud-Based Work Technology

Generation Y is the first generation of digital natives. They adapt quickly to new technology and expect their employers to do the same. Gen y workers become frustrated when forced to work with outdated technology and difficult software when better solutions are available.

In the past decade, this expectation has evolved to encompass remote-capable and cloud-based technology. Remote working is the new normal.Not all millennials want to work from home, but they want the capability of working from anywhere. Some want to travel and continue clocking hours in cafes and hotels. Some want the ability to work from home when they are sick. And, of course, since the pandemic, many professionals of every generation expect the ability to work from home when it is possible and convenient.

4) Care About Workplace Culture


Work culture matters. Gen Y workers know that a toxic workplace is more harmful than a demanding work schedule. They know that a company's values and company culture will have a powerful influence on their mental and physical well-being. However, contrary to popular belief, you don't need to build a silicone-valley pinball-in-the-breakroom workplace culture to thrive with millennials. You just need to care about building a positive place to work. Nap rooms and dogs in the office are sometimes nice, but realistically, everyone has their own preferences and personal values when it comes to workplace personality.

Most millennials are not in their 20s anymore. When they seek a positive company culture, they're looking for an employer who is supportive, listens to feedback, and shuts down toxic behavior.  Simply caring about creating a functional and uplifting workplace culture is enough to begin fostering loyalty in your Generation Y workers. They need an organizational culture and human resource they can rely on. 

5) Self-Management and Managerial Guidance

It has become well-known that Generation Y is a self-directed group. They're used to online resources and platforms that allow them to do things for themselves that used to be directed by others. From taking college courses to checking into hotels, millennials are a DIY generation. This also extends to self-management in the office. Most millennials are happy to take direction from their manager and provide their own time-tracking and project implementation.

Leave the micro-management at the door. You will find greater employee engagement and career commitment - and lower employee turnover - from employees who direct themselves. Instead, direct your managers to provide guidance, feedback, and the tools to empower Generation Y workers to thrive on their own.

6) HR That is On the Ball 

Generation Y has proven that they're willing to show loyalty to the point of burnout for a supportive employer who respects the psychological contract perspective. But nothing causes a mass walk-out faster than ineffective HR. When a millennial reports harassment or requests help with a delicate situation, they need HR to be on the ball. They want protocols, solutions, and anonymity. They want to know that HR has their back, and the backs of their colleagues who they may be looking out for.

Related: How to Build a Comprehensive Anti-Harassment Policy

To earn Generation Y loyalty, build a strong HR team and situation response system. Have real, actionable policies, anonymity protection, and discreet investigation methods ready. Be ready to reassign, suspend, and fire bad actors, protect victims, and also provide more sensitive responses to complex situations. When HR takes care of Generation Y teams, they will take care of the company with loyalty in return.

7) The Ability to Make a Difference

Generation Y and Generation Z are both notorious seeking purpose and meaningful work. Unlike previous generations who accepted the "cogs in a machine" mentality, the younger generations of professionals today want to make a difference in their companies and in the world. This twofold ambition should be embraced by employers as an opportunity. Who doesn't want a generation of team members eager to help the company thrive and make a positive difference in the world?

Generation Ys and Zs will become leaders of your efforts for both internal and external innovation. They want to win clients, improve the product, see ecological change, and positively impact lives on a larger scale, and can bring that energy to your company if empowered to do so. Those who feel that they are making a difference will give their all and remain with companies that make them feel positively powerful, even in small ways.

8) Meaningful Recognition and Professional Awards


Generation Y returns recognition with loyalty. The mirror to wanting to make a difference is a tendency to feel unappreciated if their efforts go unnoticed. Recognition programs have had a powerful effect on the millennial workforce who need to know that management sees all the hard work they put in and appreciates the value of their contributions. Millennials who give their all want that effort to matter, and they will seek jobs that make them feel appreciated when they try to make that difference.

Related: Unlock the Power of Employee Recognition: A Comprehensive Guide

Managers who say "thank you", "I know you worked hard" and "I can see the effort you put in" are sometimes all it takes, but formal recognition will be something a Gen Y treasures for their entire career. From the certificate of excellence from their internship to professional awards later in life, millennials thrive on outward signs of appreciation for their work.

 Related: Employee Appreciation Best Practices: Strategies and Benefits

9) Professional Development and Internal Mobility

If you want loyalty from Generation Y workers, eliminate dead-end thinking. Every position should have a path upward and onward. The "job hopping" millennials are so well-known for often stems from companies that do not reliably train or hire internally. Millennials see no reason to stay at a job where they achieve no growth or earn no raises. As they progress in skill and experience in their careers, they will seek out positions that reflect that increase in value.

If you want to keep a Generation Y professional on your team for years, give them opportunities to grow. Provide professional development training in a number of avenues. Give them opportunities to work on bigger and better projects, pair them with higher-level mentors, and offer cross-training with other teams. Generation Y also respond very well to online training materials and will often self-direct to learn the skills they need to earn their next promotion.

Hire from within and maintain a robust internal hiring policy. Provide not just vertical opportunities, but also lateral opportunities for Generation Y workers who want to broaden their horizons or build a multi-specialty career and you will cultivate the talent you wish was available on the market.

Cultivating Loyalty in Your Gen Y Workforce

Generation Y has a far greater capacity for loyalty than initially given credit for. As employers adapt to Millennial values, job-hopping has decreased and dedication - sometimes to the point of burnout - has shined through. If you want your company to be a place where Gen Z professionals can give their all and remain loyal for years, build a foundation of loyalty that can be returned.

Provide flexible benefits, opportunities for growth, and recognition when your team goes above & beyond. Build a positive workplace culture, provide a healthy work-life balance, and take care of your Gen Z workforce so that they will feel that your company is a safe place to pour their dedication and build their careers.

For more workforce insights and strategies to build your company from the inside out, contact us today.