BWF_95636782There’s some debate about the birth years of the Millennial generation, but generally they were born between 1980 and 1995 – basically, the first generation to come of age in the new millennium. There’s also some debate over whether they should be called Gen Y or Millennials, but there’s no debate that they represent a challenge to retain as employees. More mobile than their predecessors, and “last hired and first fired” during the great recession, they are ready to change jobs quickly. Unlike the previous generation that would choose a job pretty much for life, they know better. They don’t trust employers to be there for them in the long run.

Today companies want to know how to keep this generation in their jobs long term, how to keep them engaged, and how to get a return on training investment.

We have worked with Millennials in our companies, our clients’ companies, and as students where we speak. We offer these 10 ways to keep Millennials:

1.  Hire the Right Ones. We have a colleague who looks for Millennials who are smart, motivated and kind. We would add two more requirements: having common sense and hustle.

2. Company Values. Millennials want to be proud of where they work. They look for a company that stands for something beyond the mercantile product or service they produce. To attract and keep Millennials, your company should be humanitarian, eco-friendly, and sustainable.

3. Family Atmosphere. Millennials want to be part of a team. They want to be mentored and work with people they respect. Find interesting ways they can get to know and socialize with their co-workers and bosses.

4. Clear Communication. Millennials want to know not just what they are expected to do but, more importantly, why. Tasks need to be explained in terms of the big picture. They want to understand how their duties impact the success of the overall organization.

5. Flexible Hours. They place a greater value on the balance between work and recreation than the previous generation. They want a life separate from their jobs and will look for employment that offers the freedom to pursue both.

6. A Piece of the Action. Whether it’s a bonus based on profits or equity in the company, they want to be financially rewarded for their efforts in ways beyond their salary. If they help make the company more profitable, share it with them.

7. Medical. Most insurance companies terminate coverage under their family’s medical policy at age 25. This means that Millennials are particularly anxious about getting health insurance. Make sure your company offers them the security they need to remove that anxiety.

8. Acknowledgement. Recognize your Millennials for a job well done. Do it in writing and circulate it to the entire staff so they understand what gets praise and what their teammate did to deserve it. Everyone wants to feel appreciated.

9. Career Track. By giving them a clear route to raises and promotions along with your expectations, Millennials know that if they perform, they won’t have to leave your company for advancement.

10. Have Fun. Allow a playful and fun atmosphere to prevail. Millennials like to look forward to going to work. They want to see their jobs as fun. Nicknames, games, contests and parties will give them a social reason to stay with your company.

Barefoot Wine, the brand we created, is a Millennial–and shares their desire for fun, out-of-the box thinking, and standing for more than just a product. We are thrilled to work with the Millennials throughout the country and rejoice in their success.

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact