Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) currently occupy a third of the workforce. Considering the important role that millennials will play in the workforce in the years to come, it’s important for small businesses to attract millennial talent.

To win over this generation of employees, here are several things that millennials want from their job:

Work/Life Balance and Flexibility

Different than generations that have come before them, millennials place more emphasis on happiness than money. This means having a job that offers flexibility and a healthy work/life balance.

Millennials want the freedom to be able to complete assignments in the style and location in which they will be most productive. Employers will better suit millennials by moving away from the “clocking in” mentality and instead focusing on the final product that is being produced.

Another way that employers are re-shaping the workplace to attract and retain millennials is by creating an open concept work environment. An open space appeals to this generation’s desire to be social and inspires creativity.

Opportunities for Personal and Professional Development

Companies that offer training programs and opportunities for both personal and professional development will do well with attracting millennial employees. According to a PwC report, Millennials value training and development over flexible working hours and cash bonuses.

This younger generation of employees prioritizes training and development because they want to receive more challenging work and advance quickly. When millennials don’t feel that they are being groomed for a higher position within the organization, they are more likely to leave. In fact, the average tenure for a millennial employee is two years, which is considerably shorter than older generations.


Millennials don’t want to be micromanaged; however, at the same time, they don’t want to be forgotten about. They want a manager that also serves as a coach and mentor to help them progress in their careers. Today’s managers need to embrace nurturing skills and use feedback and acknowledgement as a way to motivate younger employees.


Millennials want to be challenged, and they expect to be rewarded with advancement when they conquer those challenges. When they don’t feel that they’re earning better opportunities for their hard work, millennials will become frustrated and change jobs.

By taking into account these four qualities that millennials want in an employer, today’s SMBs will be more successful in attracting and retaining this younger generation.