Renée Wilson, Staff Consultant & Search Specialist

Don’t worry. This isn’t another article on “reaching” that awful generation that just won’t seem to go away. (fun facts: sarcasm is a love language. And I’m a Millennial.)

No, no. THIS is a word on how to work with those who are now a part of “the largest generation in the U.S. labor force.” (source:

Because Millennials have officially surpassed their predecessors in the workplace – and you probably have, or soon will have, a few on your staff – you need to understand the not-so-secret secret about these 35 and unders: They. Are. Different. Different things matter to them. Most importantly, they believe THEY matter. And aren’t just a cog in a system that needs to continue producing __________ (fill in the blank).

But here’s the interesting thing: the system still matters. Did you know that Millennials are willing to take a $7,600 pay cut in their annual salary JUST to be in a job with a better “quality of work life”? (source:

Their value of culture, their fight for appropriate work-life balance, their deep want to experience purpose – these MUST be considered on our staffs if we want to attract this new generation – and retain them.

Aw, yes, the “r” word. Retention. Does that matter to you? Employee transitions not only affect an organization financially (source:, there’s a relational impact, as well. When someone leaves, this has the potential to influence engagement of your primary stakeholders (for ex., children or youth in a ministry), forward progress towards the vision (if the transitioning employee is in charge of multiple initiatives on their own), and, depending on your rate of turnover, congregational trust in leadership.

A simple place to start might be in your job descriptions. Seth Godin, author and former dot com business tycoon, recently offered some ideas with the Millennial generation in mind. Found here ( one might suspect older generations would find these suggestions superfluous and needy. While younger generations would probably say “now you’re talking!”. The former might argue that this list is not vital to productivity. While the latter could easily counter with “some of these are essential to me working at my best.”

Here’s the thing: Both viewpoints can be right! But that’s not the real question you need to be asking. The real question is: Can you identify the culture of your workplace? Is your staff talking about this – and is everyone on the same page? Could you define your office environments and staff community to a new applicant? And could you identify what characteristics you’re looking for in a new hire, specifically related to their ability to connect with current staff? Taking it one step further, do you have a way to vet these characteristics in an interview process?

Just as much as you’re looking for the right-fit candidate, they’re looking for a right-fit, as well. So what’s your next move in figuring out what makes your team worth being a part of?

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