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Why Investing in Millennials Could Be the Key to Ensuring HR and Organisational Success

By enabling millennials to do more via added responsibility, organisations must invest in their learning and development.

By Saima Arfeen

Saima is Oakwood's Associate Consultant and works in our Associate Team
More from Saima >>

Times are changing; we live in a very dynamic environment where everything is constantly evolving. Change is never comfortable, but is definitely inevitable; most individuals and organisations prefer to maintain the status quo because that’s familiar territory. To venture into uncharted waters brings feelings of uneasiness, discomfort and a fear of the unknown.


With the advent of technology and the tide of change that it has brought in the past two decades, the generation that has grown up with this change is one that organisations need to tap into as possessing incredible potential, are the ‘’millennials’’. Millennials are your workforce that fit in the age bracket of 18 – 35 year olds, many of whom are seen in highly specialised roles in the field of IT.


While we posit that it is in the organisation’s interest to invest in millennials, this does however beg the question, ‘’Are organisations ready for a change of this magnitude?’’ where the ‘’if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’’ attitude is now shifting to ‘’what’s next?’’


Gone are the days when working hard took precedence over working smart; how this equation has flipped is truly interesting. From a workforce keen to demonstrate loyalty by remaining with the organisation practically for the entire duration of their working life, there is now a shift to professionals possessing characteristics of actively seeking diversity and instantaneous gratification.


Millennials bring a fresh perspective to the table that many Generation X and baby boomers find challenging. They are truly a different and unique breed of professionals and one that can stand to be reckoned with if enabled well by the organisation they work for. So how can this be achieved? Strategic and continuous investment of the following is the hallmark of successful relationships and yield profits for all stakeholders.


  1. Time: Millennials need time; Time to orient themselves, time to be nurtured, time to learn and time to grow. Some organisations have very little patience and time to give to millennials. It is considered a luxury rather than a necessity from an organizational perspective. This mindset needs to change and time needs to be viewed as an investment that reaps long term rewards for the organisation.
  2. Skills: By enabling millennials to do more via added responsibility, organisations must invest in their learning and development in order to ensure that if the individual grows, they will be motivated to do more and therefore the organisation will succeed.
  3. Empowerment and creative freedom: Empowerment and creative freedom are key. Once employees have the required skills and know-how, the world is their oyster. Millennials have the added advantage of being technologically savvy and with organisations increasingly investing in their professional development, they will naturally become empowered and motivated.
  4. Reward: Reward can take on many shapes and form, tangible and intangible. Any form of reward is yet another form of investment which organisations quite often over-look. Reward is a natural motivator and varies from one individual to the next; however it does propel performance significantly which is a win-win situation for both the employee and the organisation.
  5. Regular Feedback: Millennials require regular and balanced feedback. It is always a good feeling to be noticed and developed in order to feel valued. Informal feedback also goes a long way in the form of a ‘’good job’’, pat on the back, ‘’thank you’’ and ‘’congratulations’’. A foundation of open and transparent communication and supportive behaviour is an investment which bears fruits for years to come.
  6. Education and Professional Development Opportunities: Millennials have a hunger to advance and grow. Organisations that support professional growth always stand out from those who don’t. Any form of educational or professional development opportunity will definitely go a long way. Guest speakers, online learning support and professional certifications are investments that will show incremental positive results in the long run.


Organisations must first understand and recognise the need to adapt and invest in millennials before they follow ‘’best practice’’. They need to adapt, while appreciating a change of this scale will benefit the organisation.


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