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A complete guide to “taming” Millennials in the workplace


At the “Empowering the Millennials” workshop organised by Apex Institute, senior HR professionals in Hong Kong confessed that numerous Millennials bring a whole new dynamic to the table. Nevertheless, they also launched a scathing attack on the post 1980s and post 1990s work ethic.

To succeed in effective communication and a seamless collaboration with Millennials, Dr Eunice Chen, director at Apex Institute, urged senior HR professionals to take nowadays' factors, economic conditions and technological advancements of the time into account. Instead of putting every unsatisfactory Millennial onto the chopping board, one could consider the following methods:

The four archetypes of Millennials

“It is HR leaders’ utmost responsibility to mould employees from passive to proactive,” Chen stated.

After identifying which category a Millennial employee belongs to, one can start empowering them in the following ways.

For an arrogant/naive employee who has clear objectives, but is not a good listener, fill his ego by assigning challenging tasks. However, make sure you are there to support them in failure.

For the lost generation, provide constant support and care. It is crucial to motivate them to make an attempt.

The class of passive, or the “Buddhist” as they possess a Zen and partial nihilist mindset of “whatever will be, will be”, is very typical at  workplaces nowadays. HR leaders need to be careful with them – with proper guidance, they can easily become proactive; on the contrary, they will continue being Zen, make zero contribution to the company and even jeopardise the business with the “I don’t care” attitude. Leaders should identify individuals’ strengths and interests, followed by setting small goals for them.

The proactive type is undoubtedly the most ideal. Retaining them should be at the top of your agenda. Considering all Millennials need constant validation, one needs to recognise the talent and reward them in time. Your negligence will be a push for them to find another employer.

Liston Lee, solutions manager, Apex Institute made a remark:

Bear in mind that one does not fit one archetype for life. The role is ever-changing.

Performance coaching

Millennials are not born to be commitment phobes. They just have more options in hand than Baby Boomers and Generation X, and therefore, they are in perpetual search of the right employer who appreciates how special they are.

By “identifying issues objectively”, it means to share how the obstacle impacts the company with the employee, instead of pinpointing it to the individual’s incapability; then, partner and solve the problem together.

Hurray is considered the most important step. Celebration of small milestones has to be done in time.

Agile practice

To curb a Millennial’s rise in workplace, two questions to ask regularly:Why do you do what you do?How is it related to the company vision, the bigger goal?


While developing the above routine, value:Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.Working product over comprehensive documentation.Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.Responding to change over following a plan.

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