During my years at Superbalist I interviewed 100's of millennial candidates from various demographics, backgrounds and levels of experience. From these meetings, two key trends stood out in terms of what millennials require from their employer.
Those who grew up in previously disadvantaged (under the apartheid regime or other backgrounds) seek an opportunity for growth as their primary need. They need to know their employer is willing to recognise and reward their hard work through career growth and benefits. They need to know they will be offered training courses as they progress and further contribute to the organisations’ success. As an employer, if you do not offer growth opportunities following consistent good performance they will leave as they feel ignored and undervalued. But if you do acknowledge their performance, they will be committed to your organisation and will share the growth that you have offered them with their community.
On the other side of the coin, those who grew up in a privileged background (fully educated, tertiary degree) want to make an impact and be part of something greater than themselves. They do not care too much about what product your company sells. They care about why the selling of the product makes the world a better place. They care about being part of a company community - one that gives them connection, pride and status. They want to be told at social events 'wow that is cool, I wish I was part of that community too!' when asked the where do you work question. They want to understand 'the why' as Simon Sinek refers to. As an employer, you need to show them, 'the why' as well as community, and your millennial employees need to see and understand it. If not, you won't keep then for long, you will lose them to an organisation that does or they will start their own thing.
In summary: To better understand your millennial employee, determine if they need growth or purpose as their primary driver. Give them this and you one step closer to building their loyalty.