Millennials: not all bean bags and free lunches

The truth about millennials: it’s not all bean bags and free lunches

Jamie Finnegan Employee experience, Engagement 3 Comments

Welcome to the first article on millennial employee experience from Head of Talent Jamie Finnegan: part two coming soon!

Millennials. I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ve heard all about them. They’re born between the early-1980s and mid-1990s and they account for a large proportion of the modern-day workforce. They struggle to get out of bed, make breakfast for themselves, and they’d rather eat avocado on toast than save for a mortgage…

I’ve attended and spoken at a lot of events over the past year or so and millennials seem to be a fairly hot topic of discussion. The only thing is, every person I’ve heard speak about millennials has been 40+ and it often feels like they’re talking about us, rather than to us. So I thought I’d create some content from the subject’s point of view.

The millennial POV on designing employee experience for millennials

I was born in 1988, right in the middle of the millennial era; I’m from the UK originally and moved to Sydney just over 6 years ago. I’ve been working in Talent ever since and am now Head of Talent for – Australia’s most-visited online comparison company. We have an Australian crew of 144 and 120 of those fall within the “millennial” bucket – 83%!… crazy right? How does the company function with so many of us, since we can barely even feed or clothe ourselves?

Joking aside, I wanted to explore ways in which the millennial workforce finds purpose and engagement. There’s a lot of stigma around us wanting to work in funky offices with bean bags and free lunches. And sure, who doesn’t want this, regardless of which generational group you’ve been labelled with? As a business, provides all of the above and more. But that’s not what keeps us all motivated and has created a 90%-plus retention rate since the company’s inception.

What millennials really, really want

What millennials really want is a physical space that promotes creative thinking and different ways of communicating ideas. And for both, concentrated individual effort and team collaboration are essential.

Each wall at is a white-wall which people draw all over, and new ideas are formed daily.

Team meetings that take place on sofas, bean bags and even the floor can be just as effective as those in meeting rooms, or those that take place outside of the office: in a park or even on a walk around the block.

The free lunches are a chance to engage with colleagues on a personal level, but also to discuss ideas with people who you may not sit near or work with regularly. Entire new products or revenue streams have been born out of these very lunches!

So I guess us millennials aren’t as entitled or expectant as people say.  Maybe it’s not all about bean bags and free lunches; it’s about supporting great ideas and creativity!

Comments 3

  1. The idea of “team” being fluid – new teams forming around ideas and projects – is such a part of the future of work. This is an outcome to be environment design; nicely put Jamie… and the “office” is back in fashion.

  2. Love this article Jamie – great stuff. Interesting that you commented on most people also wanting to have funky offices and free lunches (I agree!). I’d go one step further and suggest the need for collaborative spaces is also the same – everyone needs this. I wonder if millennials are just used to collaboration (maybe with such high usage of social media?) and therefore expect it. We just need to make sure all have quiet spaces too where they are able to concentrate without distraction.

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Pingback: The truth about millennials: shared values - EX Journal

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