How to attract and retain millennial employees - 5 things to consider

By Robert Half on 6 June 2023
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes

In today’s skills short market, attracting and retaining the right talent for your business is more important than ever – and with millennials making up a large percentage of Hong Kong’s workforce, it’s essential your organisation appeals to this demographic.

But what exactly is this group looking for in a workplace? According to Deloitte’s Global 2023 Survey which gathered feedback from over 8,000 millennials across 44 countries, this group have high expectations. While cost of living concerns are front of mind, they are also seeking work/life balance and flexibility as a priority. Additionally, they are looking for companies who are ethical, inclusive and aligned with their values, who offer opportunities for development and growth, to give their work more purpose.

With this in mind, what can you do to stand out from the pack as an employer of choice? It’s clear that millennials are looking for something more than a traditional 9 to 5 corporate role. So, if you’re keen to learn how to attract and retain millennial employees, read on as we unpack the key considerations that matter and share our top tips.

Offer flexibility and work-life balance

While striving for work-life balance is nothing new, for this generation of millennials it is no longer a nice to have. In contrast to the ‘get ahead at all costs’ mentality of previous generations, millennials are not so willing to sacrifice quality of life with family and friends in pursuit of career advancement.

Today, millennials are actively seeking out a balanced lifestyle where there is time and energy to thrive outside of work. To appeal to millennials, businesses are offering hybrid and remote work options within advertised roles, with some also including generous and adaptable leave entitlements in addition.

While flexible work arrangements is certainly a plus, to truly offer employees work-life balance, there needs to be a supportive culture and realistic expectations within the individual’s role. Having open and honest communication channels with your team allows you to get regular feedback on staff satisfaction so you can continue to refine and enhance practices, which is an essential step in retaining employees in a competitive market.

Related: Learn 5 ways to promote work-life balance in Hong Kong

Provide opportunities to learn and grow

Gone are the days where remaining in the same job for decades is the norm – ongoing training and development are now essential as the world around us continues to change at a rapid pace. Millennials are acutely aware of the dangers of stagnating and getting left behind, and actively seek roles where opportunities to learn, grow and progress are included. Investing in training can lower turnover rates, as the new skills gained boost employee performance and satisfaction, leading to more motivated and engaged staff.

According to Elaine Lam, managing director of Robert Half Hong Kong, effective and ongoing learning and development is a critical factor in retaining millennial employees – but the delivery counts. ‘Despite the stereotypes, millennials are highly motivated to learn, but it must be delivered in the right way. Microlearning is highly effective with this demographic as it is presented in short, sharp bursts. As a generation who have grown up surrounded by distractions, bite-sized learnings delivered online are far more impactful than lengthy modules or whole-day training sessions.’

Related: Discover how to attract the best candidate for the job

Nurture engagement across multiple channels

Communication across multiple channels is a way of life for millennials who are surrounded by technology both at home and at work and are online and connected for most of their waking hours. Actively engaging this group is key to keeping motivation high, and utilising a range of communication methods is an effective way to do this.

While past generations communicated predominantly via the office phone and in-person meetings, millennials prefer staying in the loop via video calls, chat, email and social media. Utilising communication and collaboration tools within the workplace and keeping your employees informed has never been easier, and millennials thrive on connection, so make this a priority.

Related: Find out how to build an attractive salary package

Embrace diversity and ethical values

More than ever before, organisations are under pressure to have a positive societal impact across a broad range of areas, from inclusiveness to sustainability. This drive largely comes from the millennial cohort, who believe businesses should be leading the way to create positive world change. Promoting your values and demonstrating your positive actions and impact is a powerful way to attract millennials to your organisation.

On top of this, some employers offer their staff opportunities to personally have an impact through fundraising efforts and volunteer days. Organising regular purpose-driven activities is a fantastic way to increase employee engagement and a sense of purpose. Whatever you do, be sure to measure your impact and share it with your team and the wider world for maximum impact.

Related: Uncover ideas to improve well-being in the workplace

Offer fair remuneration to reduce financial stress

The current economic climate has seen the cost of living rise around the world, and with 42% of millennials surveyed in 2023 stating that high prices are a major worry point, offering attractive salary packages is another way to set yourself apart. If you’re unsure where your financial incentives sit in comparison to others in your industry, the 2023 Robert Half Salary Guide is a great resource where you can discover the baseline and typical range for salaries in comparable roles.

How to attract and retain millennial employees – key takeaway

Within the highly competitive employment market in Hong Kong, having an edge over your competitors can be the difference between finding and hiring your employee of choice quickly and easily versus a long and difficult process.

The question of how to attract and retain millennial employees, is something our recruitment team are frequently asked. When it comes down to it, millennials are looking for an employer who is aligned with their values, and committed to their growth. Financial rewards are important, but are not everything. Millennials seek a workplace that fits into their life and adds value, rather than somewhere that depletes them. While at its core, this is perhaps not dissimilar to what all employees want, the key difference is that millennials are unlikely to settle for less. If you can’t provide what they want, they will find an organisation who can.

Elaine Lam

Related: Discover more management advice

Get expert help to find the right fit for your team

If you’re struggling to understand how to attract and retain millennial employees, our experienced Hong Kong recruiters can help. Contact our team for expert advice and find your ideal employee sooner.

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