Waddington Brown: Why businesses must understand millennials

PUBLISHED: 08:41 21 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:20 21 March 2018

Emma Gunton, managing director of Waddington Brown Ltd.

Emma Gunton, managing director of Waddington Brown Ltd.

Waddington Brown

Emma Gunton of HR and talent specialists Waddington Brown explains why businesses need to have a good understanding of the millennial employee, which by 2020 will make up 50% of the UK workforce.

As a parent myself, I understand first-hand how a younger person’s views on life, how they communicate and their expectations are so different from when I was growing up.

My children are yet to move into the world of work but, when they do, I hope that businesses have fully embraced their working life needs and created a workplace that allows the modern employee to flourish and succeed.

There is a definite sea of change. The millennial generation like to live and work in a flexible, fluid and creative culture, which is making many employers rethink the traditional “nine to five” office environment and structure.

Those organisations that have begun to look at changes to their working model are finding we all value very similar things in our working lives, and the majority of us will thrive and perform to the best of our ability when constraints are removed and people are trusted to deliver.

So what is it that attracts people to a business or industry in these modern times? What can your business do to make sure you recruit the best people and hold their interest?

Try to think beyond the traditional, contractual model of hours of work. Adopt a management style that encourages people to chat through ideas informally and spontaneously, to fuel creativity and provide constructive challenge. Millennials are digitally proficient workers; they’re able to move through tasks quickly. Providing opportunities for personal growth, while creating a network of leaders/managers that can harness the drive to learn will stimulate and hopefully retain your best assets.

Look at career paths and reward packages that don’t focus on hierarchical progress and financial rewards alone.

If you are an HR leader and interested in further exploring the challenges and opportunities your profession presents, join us at our HR Leaders of East Anglia Annual Conference on Tuesday April 24 at Wherstead Park, Ipswich.

To book, see

Emma Gunton is managing director of HR and talent specialists Waddington Brown.

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