How to Engage and Retain Millennial Employees

...And why cinema is the ultimate experiential reward

We’re seeing a monumental shift in the way the large majority of the global workforce perceives, demands and expects to be treated by employers. This is a new breed. A generation that’s prioritising self-preservation and meaningful careers over financial gain.

Revamp, rework, remodel

By 2020, millennials will form 75% of the world’s workforce. This is a reality that employers must adapt to if they are to retain their employees and evoke loyalty to their business. Many are already ahead of the game, introducing innovative management structures that play to each individual’s strengths and idiosyncratic needs.

Traditional business practices are fading. Employers are offering millennials flexible working hours, leisure and experiential benefits – such as gym membership and cinema tickets – and an internal coaching system that values them both as people and employees.

The Millennial Mindset

If you dig deeper, you will also find that millennial employees boast passion, entrepreneurialism, ambition, spontaneity, a social conscience, a global view, technological adeptness…and many other assets.

The generation Y differentiators are clear. Research has shown that baby-boomers identify their strengths as organisational memory, optimism, and a willingness to work long hours. These strengths have played well to ageing organisations with large corporate hierarchies of the past.

Millennial employees are switched on. They’re eager to show their worth, but unwilling to sacrifice their time, health and ideologies to do so. In our connected world – a world where personal wellbeing has emerged as a priority – this is a generation that’s simply flat out refusing to sell its soul to employers to make a quick buck.

What's the secret?

Millennials are not just today’s workforce, but tomorrow’s leaders. 2020 is not far off, and if predictions are correct, companies need to compete hard for this emerging wave of talent.

The secret is not to talk at millennials, but to engage in dialogue and really listen. We know more about this generation than any previous group, and employers have an unprecedented chance to use this intelligence to strengthen their offering to the millennial employee.

Where does cinema come in?

A study from Movio, a data analytics specialist, in June 2016 supports this. It states that:

  • Millennials visit the cinema on average 6.2 times a year
  • Millennials account for 29% of ticket purchases

As Movio chief executive and co-founder Will Palmer says, “Our data science analysis demonstrates that millennials are far more engaged in cinema than the industry’s anecdotally driven belief to the contrary.”

Rewarding employees with cinema tickets enables recipients to not only enjoy a memorable experience, but to tailor that experience to their own taste. It's a cliché, but cinema really does offer something for everyone, particularly now that digital has added live theatre and concert viewings into the mix.

But it is not just the content itself which is appealing to millennials. Cinema technology has moved on too. In 2015, UK cinema completed its shift from 35mm celluloid film to digital projection, and many film distributors now only release their films in digital format.

Digital cinema brings a number of advantages to viewers:

  • Access to a greater choice of content
  • The ability to screen live events such as plays, concerts or sports events.
  • Improved picture and sound quality
  • Access to 3D film

Out of all the trends defining the millennial mindset, an experiential reward like cinema represents a tangible opportunity to give something back to your employees without breaking the bank.

By showing your workforce you value them, that you understand their needs – and are ready and willing to recognise them with worthwhile incentives – there’s every chance your millennial employees will stick with you in the long term.