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No Need to Change Your Firm’s Culture to Attract Millennials

By Brad Deutser


Employers spend a lot of time puzzling over what they need to do to attract millennials and how to retain those young employees once they hire them.

Many organizations even adjust their corporate culture to better appeal to the generation of young adults who are expected to make up half the global workforce by 2020, and who are said to be uncomfortable with rigid corporate structures, expect rapid progression, and want constant feedback.

But could it be that companies desperate to recruit millennials are looking at the situation all wrong?

When firms talk about how to attract and keep millennials, they take a surface approach. They are treating millennials uniquely, but that’s not the way they should do it. There’s not one approach you should take with your overall workforce and a separate approach to take for millennials. 

In fact, companies will enjoy more success if they remain true to themselves rather than try to be all things to all millennials.

An organization will do fine if it’s willing to get to the core of what it believes in and then hold true to those beliefs. That’s providing a sense of organizational clarity that millennials and others will appreciate. When companies aren’t true to who they are, they become lost. They will be disconnected from their workforce and that’s when millennials are likely to look elsewhere for jobs.

To attract millennials and keep them around for the long haul, businesses should be the following.

• Clear about their vision 

The most critical ingredient to achieving business success is clarity. That means an organization needs to be clear about its purpose and its vision, as well as clear about the roles of those who carry out that purpose and vision. This remains true whether employees are millennials, baby boomers, or part of another generation. 

• Willing to communicate 

It’s important that a company explains to employees and job candidates how things are done at the firm and what is expected of them. Once they are told how things are, people can opt in or they can opt out. And usually they will opt in. But if you are unclear about the expectations or your beliefs, they will opt out or there will be problems. 

• Able to keep things positive 

I am a proponent of positive psychology, so I believe keeping an upbeat atmosphere is essential to a company’s culture. You want your employees to be happy. If you can find a way to encourage a positive outlook and attitude, employees from every generation will be more motivated and will perform their jobs better.

You can pursue initiatives in your company that will engage millennials, but there must be a holistic view of what the company is and what the company culture is. That itself hooks millennials into what you’re doing. In short, you don’t have to change your company culture to bring in millennials.        

Brad Deutser is president and CEO of Deutser LLC (, a consulting firm that says it advises leaders and organizations about achieving clarity, especially in times of transition, growth, or crisis. 


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