Attracting millennial employees: how to avoid the 'ping pong effect'

That’s right folks, today we’re talking about the ‘M’ word – millennials. And more specifically, just what do millennial employees want from their employers? We’ll give you a clue – it’s not a ping pong table!

Why are millennials important?

It’s estimated that by 2025, millennials will make up a whopping 75% of the global workforce. Not only that, as UK employment reaches an all-time high, this hard-to-please generation can afford to be picky when it comes to choosing their employer.

So if you’re not already putting them at the core of your recruitment strategy then you need to start – and soon.

Millennials have been a key focus for us recently – for both our own recruitment strategy and that of our clients. We’ve been working on an exciting project with Nissan Europe, developing a new employee value proposition (EVP) and employer branding strategy – so it’s safe to say we’ve learnt a thing or two talking to millennials across Europe during our research phase of understanding what motivates people to join an employer.

Not only that, we also recently recruited our very own millennial – our new Content & Social Account Manager, Izzi, who’s been able to offer a unique insight into what’s she’s valued most from employers.

The 'ping pong effect'

We’ve all heard about offices with exciting perks designed to attract a younger generation of workers. But do the games consoles, bean bags and ping pong tables really do the job of attracting a millennial workforce? Not according to a 2018 Sage survey which reported that only 5% of employees felt a ping pong table added to their work experience. In fact, more than half reported that games in the office were a distraction and adversely affected their productivity.

Bean bags, games and a buzzing atmosphere are all nice to have – but you’ll need to offer more to attract and retain your millennial employees.

What do millennial employees really want?

1. Progression and recognition

According to a Capital Group study, 67% of millennials reported that being loyal to their employer is important to them. For a generation that came of age during a global recession, job security and a long-term future with an employer that values them is essential.

Our research into Nissan backed this up. Progression was key – and this went hand-in-hand with ongoing recognition. And it was a similar story for Izzi, who turned down an opportunity with another agency because she didn’t think they were committed enough to her own progression within the company.

Provide your employees with clear progression opportunities and equip them with the tools they need to develop and continue their careers within the company. You’ll be rewarded with much better staff retention.

2. Work-life balance

The world has changed since Generation X ruled the roost and millennials don’t want to be confined to the traditional nine to five.

This is a generation that values work-life balance and is unlikely to take part in the old fashioned “last one to leave the office” contest – and a generation that knows the technology exists to let them work remotely.

A major driver behind Izzi leaving a previous role was the constant pressure to come in early, skip lunch and work late. Those that didn’t were frowned upon – while those that did were burnt out and resentful. Jaded employees who feel like their free time is being eaten into are unlikely to be doing their best work.

Conversely, they’ll thrive if you foster a healthy culture where your team feel motivated to be as productive as possible, but also know they aren’t going to be penalised for not checking their emails after they leave.

It’s not always possible but if you can offer flexible working, then do it. Give your staff the autonomy to work from home, choose their own hours and don’t make them use annual leave for anything that isn’t a holiday.

The benefit to you? Studies have shown working in this way creates happier, more engaged employees and boosts productivity, making it a win/win situation for both you and your staff.

3. A social environment

They may get a bad rap for staying in glued to their phones instead of going out but in reality, millennials are a social generation. Many entered the world of work fresh out of university, where socialising and living with their peers was the norm – and they want the same experience out of their career.

Millennials value the opportunity to bond with their colleagues and are more likely to want to come into the office if their environment is social and positive. At a previous agency Izzi worked for, everyone finished a little early every Friday and sat down together for a beer and a quiz in the office. It was very casual and there was no pressure to take part – but it meant the week always finished on a positive note and gave the team an important opportunity to decompress together.

Work can’t always be fun and games but offering your staff a variety of regular social activities, both in and out of office hours, is essential for keeping your team engaged with your business and with each other.

And yes, sometimes there might even a ping pong tournament – but it can’t be the only thing you rely on to keep your millennial employees engaged.

To find out more and talk to us about how you can attract and retain the right people, get in touch on or 0191 543 88 79.