Best Workplaces for Millennials: Attracting and Retaining Canada's Most Talented Young Workers

Best Workplaces for Millennials: Attracting and Retaining Canada's Most Talented Young Workers

Great Place to Work® is pleased to announce the 2017 list of Best Workplaces in Canada for Millennials. To be eligible for this list, organizations must be Great Place to Work Certified™ in the past year, at least 30% of their employees must fit the millennial demographic (born after 1980), they must have a minimum 90% positive response to the statement, "I am treated fairly regardless of my age," and the organization must meet a minimum consistency index among the different age demographics. We determined the BEST based on the overall Trust Index score from millennials working in organizations.

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With rising tuition costs and home prices out of reach for most new grads, Canada’s youngest workers face slightly different struggles than previous generations when getting started in life. Financial and career freedom can seem unattainable to this generation, causing them to seek alternate opportunities for higher salaries and growth opportunities, contributing to the mainstream narrative that millennials are job-hoppers.

Employer understanding of the motivating factors that drive today’s youngest workers may make it easier to attract them to the workplace – and keep them once they get there. The Best Workplaces for Millennials use these five simple strategies:


In today’s information age, millennials expect on-demand information when selecting an employer. With Canada’s jobless rate the lowest it’s been for a decade, millennials have choices about where to work, and they use information and experience to guide these choices. The Best Workplaces for Millennials recognize the importance of proactive relationship building and begin targeted recruitment with students well before there is an immediate demand to hire. This “courting period” can take four years or more.

At ATB Financial, they begin building relationships with potential hires their first day on campus. Their branches in post-secondary institutions across Alberta are designed as collaborative workspaces where students can come in for career and financial advice, resume reviews, and interview preparation, in additional to traditional banking services. They also host open houses where students can find out more about the ATB culture, opportunities for new hires for growth, mentorship and career development.


As much as possible, millennials want to know what they are getting into before accepting a job to determine if the fit is right. The Best Workplaces for Millennials use strategies such as a day-on-the-job, take away problem solving challenges or value alignment exercises to determine two-way fit.

Publicis.Sapient hosts Super Saturday events, offering a full-day immersive experience for university students to get a real-life sense of what it would be like to work there. The day includes a kick-off presentation showcasing the organization’s most recent work projects, a group exercise, final round interviews with domain teams and a networking forum to allow students to meet peers from other disciplines and foster connections with existing employees. The day is not only meant for the company to see which students they would like to consider for employment, but also for students to engage, participate and embark on the company culture.



Millennials want to be challenged on the job to accelerate their learning process, but with the broad nature of the average education, students rarely know exactly where they will fit best in a new corporate environment. Exposing students to a few different areas of the business can help them (and the organization) learn where they are most comfortable and productive. Programs like job rotations and stretch assignments help young employees learn how to manage business issues in a risk-free environment to satisfy their appetite for challenges. It’s especially important for companies to allow students to use the same skills they were tested for in recruitment.

At G Adventures, there is a strong focus on experiential learning. G staff at every level of the organization are strongly encouraged to get involved in stretch assignments or projects enabling them to develop professionally and take their skills to the next level. Through their G Apprentice program, the most talented team members are given the opportunity to work in a remote office for several months, developing and testing new skills.




Millennials need and expect feedback on how they’re doing to feel safe and confident in their role. Having more frequent, less formal evaluations ensures easier and more transparent communication between managers and employees and gives them a pulse check on how they’re doing and where they can improve. When a manager takes the time to get to know personal as well as professional goals, their on-the-job development accelerates.

At Beyond Technologies, they do not have traditional supervisory roles; instead employees have a career counselor who acts more like a coach. Career counselors are senior managers within the organization who provide frequent performance feedback, guidance on training and staffing choices, with an understanding of the employee's career goals. This model helps employees to continuously feel engaged and know they have a future in the organization.  


For millennials to really feel engaged at work, they need to see that their work is contributing to something greater. The Best Workplaces for Millennials don’t just contribute to the community, but actively involve employees at every stage.

AppCentrica recently launched a "community engagement" dashboard for their staff that tracks and gamifies their collective contribution to the community. This dashboard allows staff to earn points, "achievements" and recognition for committing time and money toward great causes. The dashboard also works to give all staff a say in which charities AppCentrica supports.


New research conducted by Great Place to Work (GPTW) suggests that while each generation has its quirks, we are actually more alike than different. Sign up here to receive this research first!


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Great Place to Work publishes a series of Best Workplaces lists based on feedback from more than 300,000 employees at Great Place to Work–Certified™ organizations across all industries in Canada. Employees complete an anonymous Trust Index© survey, answering questions about how frequently they experience behaviors that create a great workplace, including, the transparency of communication, degree of collaboration, quality of benefits programs, opportunity for professional development, and support for work-life balance. If 7/10 employees respond positively to the survey, the organization becomes Great Place to Work-Certified™ for one year. Results from the survey are highly reliable, having a 95% confidence level with +/- 5% margin of error.


GPTW ( is the global authority on high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools, advisory services, and certification programs, GPTW recognizes the world's Best Workplaces in a series of national lists including those published by Fortune magazine (USA) and The Globe & Mail (Canada). Great Place to Work® provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures.

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