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Three Points of View: How to keep your rising stars

How can managers and leaders keep top millennial talent from leaving the organisation? Leadership Matters Editorial Director Andy McLean MIML asks experts for their advice.


Sinead Hourigan FIML

Queensland Director, Robert Walters

Sinead HouriganCandidates want to join and remain in businesses that invest in their people, so there are huge benefits if employers can attract millennials.

It is important to train millennials in management and leadership now so that they are ready to fill gaps left by baby boomers who will exit the workforce over the next 10–20 years. Upskilling is essential for millennials and is crucial to their continuous development and lifelong learning. Millennials are keen to access training and development to support their personal and professional growth, so organisations should factor this into their candidate attraction and engagement strategies. In fact, if the company’s values match those of millennial workers – its ethics and coaching, clear progression, flexibility, and feedback – employees are likely to show even more loyalty.

Millennials don’t need to be in a classroom or structured group training session – they’re happy to learn in front of their computers or work with mentors and coaches on the job. However, it’s key for employers to provide a clear roadmap of training opportunities to motivate millennials.


Wendy Thompson MIML

CEO and Founder, Start Social NZ, Auckland

Wendy ThompsonA millennial colleague is an awesome asset: proactive, a global thinker and a tech native. But I don’t necessarily think keeping them should be your primary aim.

Millennials often look elsewhere after two or three years so employers need to play a long game and not take it personally when they leave. If handled correctly, you may one day welcome them back wiser and more experienced! One way I do this is by inviting all our ex-Socialites to our annual Valentine’s Party; it’s a great night out and keeps everyone in touch.

Something else I do to help my millennials on their chosen career paths (and get the best out of them for my company) is one-on-one structured mentoring. At the beginning of the year we set personal and career SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timebound) then have monthly progress catch-ups, before celebrating success at the end of the year. Heading into that festive season, where people often reassess their job, my team has a very fresh reminder of how much Socialites has helped them achieve over the past year.


Sally Roebuck MIML

Operations Manager, Bulimba Outside School Hours Care, Queensland

Sally RoebuckAs a millennial myself, I understand our generation’s desire to be heard, respected and valued in the workplace. I’m the leader of an almost exclusively millennial team and believe the most important part of attracting and holding on to talented millennials is to create a team culture of mutual respect, where each individual feels their contribution is meaningful and valuable.

Collaboration is vital when managing and leading millennials, as we have been living and breathing collaborative practices since kindergarten. We were taught in school not to accept the status quo, but to question, hypothesise and brainstorm.

We were immersed in the digital revolution, and were educated in resourcing and synthesising differences of opinion and facts for a broader world view. Allowing opportunities for collaboration among team members, especially between colleagues of varied experience and job roles, will ensure millennials feel able to make valued contributions to the organisation’s goals.

Developing this sort of positive growth mindset among your team also gives millennials the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge while giving them clear pathways for advancement and success.

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 edition of Leadership Matters, IML ANZ’s quarterly magazine. For editorial suggestions and enquiries, please contact


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