How Do You Attract and Keep Millennials Without Making More Mature Employees Feel Devalued?

Jahari Soward says the first step is not to distinguish the two groups as different
Jahari Soward, ACS Career Consultant and Managing Director of NPursuit Career Partners
Jahari Soward, ACS Career Consultant and Managing Director of NPursuit Career Partners

I believe the best way to address this question is first not to distinguish one group from the other. Regardless of age classification, millennials and mature employees have one thing in common at a mutual employer, which is that everyone wants to know and feel that their work is valuable and that their skills are contributing to the betterment of the company and society as a whole. By approaching the question from this mindset, it allows you to take each employee for who they are and not a perceived value based on stereotypical categories. 

There is a way to reach this goal successfully, but it will have to come from the cooperation of both the millennial and mature employees. A company's professional development offerings play a significant role in creating this inclusive opportunity. Some of which include:

  • Developing a mentorship program to bridge the generational gap that exists between millennials and mature employees in order to build tolerance, open-mindedness, and respect for each other and what each brings to the table. 
  • Creating a bottom-up culture where management engages every team member and encourages them to express their ideas and have a voice.  This not only helps employees feel more involved in the organization but it empowers them to perform well.
  • Stop micromanaging and promote a culture of trust and flexibility that give employees the chance to be leaders from the start. The decision to hire employees is made out of the expectation for them to apply judgment, responsibility, initiative, and critical thinkings skills. Let people show you they can do it.
  • Acknowledging and rewarding individuals for specific contributions and results. Simple gestures like "Thank You" promote a positive culture and reinforces particular behaviors, practices, and activities. No one wants to feel like they’re being taken for granted.
  • Offering stretch opportunities that would allow mature and millennial employees to expand their capabilities which provide a diversity of learning tools, learning styles, and exposure opportunities to different divisions within the company. 

There is a value when wisdom and industry knowledge collide with multi-tasking, community-oriented, and entrepreneurial energy. It is the unique experiences that each group brings to the table that make each of them a tremendous asset to the success of the business. In all, companies must create a culture of diversity and inclusivity for all employees to thrive and benefit each other's abilities. 

This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.

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