The Experiential Millennial

April 27th, 2016 by Allen Liedkie



Eight years ago the global economy took a major turn for the worse – nose-diving deep into recession.  Work forces were compromised as companies closed and cuts were made at any cost.  Analysts say that we aren’t completely out of the wobbly financial forest yet, but we have turned the corner, and the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in over ten years. 

The largest portion of the recovering growing workforce today is the experience seeking, socially minded and tech savvy ‘Millennials’.  A Millennial is a person born between 1980 and 1996 (give or take a few years depending on who you speak to) and by 2020 they will make up 50% of the global workforce.  One of the biggest struggles companies face with Millennials is retention.  The 2016 Deloitte Millennial survey found that, ‘During the next year, if given the choice, one in four Millennials would quit his or her current employer to join a new organisation or do something different.’  So how do large global companies retain such flight-minded talent? 

As a Millennial myself, I feel I’m allowed to paint us with the broad brushstroke of qualities that that fuel us in the workplace.  Type ‘millennial’ in any Internet search engine and you’ll find that our personal views, life experiences, and working in an ethically and socially minded business is what drives us.  We shun the notion of worldly possessions and aren’t driven by our salaries (as long as we can pay our student loans) but we yearn for life experience and working with people that inspire us to better ourselves places where we can grow and learn.  Large businesses need to adapt to our mindset if they want to retain us – a major difference from previous generations who were comfortable conforming to get a pay check and a bonus. 

A key driver for the Millennial is life experiences. We contribute these experiences as a vital attribute; not only to our personal growth, but also in the continued development of our emotional intelligence.  We go out of our way to find experiences that are once in a lifetime opportunities.  From sold out Adele concerts at the O2 to pop up performance dinners in unknown locations in Dalston, we crave moments that we can share with other people.  These moments are not only exciting, but they also feed a core need of this generation – living with meaning.  Eventbrite, an online platform for live event postings, found in their research that for Millennials, “Living a meaningful, happy life is about creating, sharing and capturing memories earned through experiences that span the spectrum of life’s opportunities.”

For businesses to retain their Millennial workforce, they need to provide environments in which they can come together to share their experiences; so they can grow as people and in effect grow the business bottom line – a win win for both parties.

Steps has built its business on creating drama based experiential learning opportunities in which employees can do just that.   By utilising drama based learning, businesses can speak to the heart of Millennials by providing a platform which allows them to come together for a live, interactive event that challenges them to see things through a different lens and for personal and emotional development.  When Millennials feel listened to as well as a part of a movement that is positive, inclusive and socially cognisant they feel inspired and want to give their best at work and most importantly – stay in their job.

The landscape of business is ever changing and so must the strategies for finding and keeping the best and brightest talent. Millennials are starting to take positions on boards and saturate management level – we are not the workforce of the future, we are the workforce of now. 

By experimenting with new ways of working and learning through the experiential process, businesses will find they don’t need to seek new talent – they already have an untapped resource in the Millennials who are willing and wanting to come together, learn from each other and inspire from within to help a business succeed.  



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