How is the millennial mindset different to the generations' that came before?

4 trends defining the millennial employee mindset


By the year 2020, millennials will make up 42 per cent of the Australian workforce, according McCrindle Research. From there, their numbers in the workplace are only going to increase, meaning leaders of all stripes will need to understand how to understand and work with them (something management training can help with).

So what it is that makes millennials tick? How are they different to the generations that have passed through the workplace before them?

Opportunities for development

Millennials aren’t in their careers for the money or the prestige. Sure, those things can be motivators but according to Gallup’s ‘How Millennials Want to Work and Live’ report, what they really care about is progress and development in their careers.

Woman walking up stairs.Millennials want their employers to offer opportunities for them to develop, grow and advance in their careers.

They also report that millennials are more engaged when they receive frequent feedback and communication from their managers. This is not, as some stereotypes might suggest, for the purposes of handholding, but rather so that they can continue to improve and develop. After all, how are you supposed to get better if you’re unaware of what you’re doing wrong?


The 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey reports that between 60 and 70 per cent of millennial’s employers offer them some form of flexibility with respect to their start and finish times, what they do (within guidelines) as part of their job and location from which they’re able to complete their work. These benefits are valued highly by millennials, with many of them reporting increased productivity, engagement and loyalty to their employer as a result. Not only that, they also said that the flexibility improved their personal well-being, health and happiness.

The further upside to flexible work arrangements is an increase in responsibility taken on by the beneficiaries. The survey reports that, in organisations where flexible working is very common, 34 per cent of millennials take “a great deal” of responsibility for their employer’s brand, compared with only 12 per cent who do so in less flexible environments.

Meaningful work

Millennials are not happy doing meaningless work – they want there to be a reason behind what they do, and they’d like to know it. Gallup reports that the majority of the millennial generation is not engaged at work – they’re checked out, just showing up to get their paycheck without having any passion or excitement for the job.

Woman drinks coffee while working at her laptop.Millennial employees want to find meaning and purpose in their work – otherwise they’re at risk of being checked out.

This shouldn’t be taken as evidence that millennials aren’t willing to work hard; it should be taken instead as a challenge to employers to make their work more compelling and engaging. When millennials are engaged and feel their work has meaning, the Deloitte survey found they reward their employers with greater loyalty.

Support and appreciation

For the millennials, it’s much more important for them to be supported and appreciated by their managers and co-workers than it is to just receive a large paycheck. This is not to say that millennials can be underpaid, but rather that they’re less willing to put up with an emotionally unfulfilling environment, even if it pays well.

Millennials will very soon become the largest generation in the workforce, so now is the time to increase your leadership and management skills. ICML offer a range of leadership and management courses in Melbourne. Whether it’s coaching for performance, leading change or recruiting and selecting for success, you’re sure to find a program in our offerings that fills one of your skills gaps. For more information, get in touch with a member of the ICML team today.

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