Want to Know How to Engage Millennials?

This blog will help you get the best out of the millennial generation of your crew. If you are a millennial yourself, this article will help you understand the importance of values, which will help you lead a more purposeful life.

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“Misunderstanding the differences between generations can detrimentally affect employee performance and satisfaction. Managers must learn more about their employees’ job satisfaction and organizational commitment levels as new generations merge with older established ones” (Smith & Nichols, 2015).

How making assumptions can be detrimental in building team cohesion

Often what tends to happen when we don’t understand millennials is that we stereotype them. Stereotypes consist of broad generalisation, either negative or positive, about others that we believe to be true. Schema is a term used to describe a group of thoughts, ideas, and beliefs about social entities (group, event, person). Both of these terms help our minds organise information by grouping data together to process and make sense of receiving information.

For this blog, I will focus on understanding millennials, also known as Gen Y. You often hear of millennials being classified as entitled, lazy and self-righteous. However, I would argue that these stereotypes are flippantly used to appease one’s ignorance around understanding millennials.

When we draw assumptions about the ‘other’ (someone different from ourselves), there is a propensity for judgment or thinking errors. As such, it is always important to take the time to explore our biases and truly understand where our assumptions come from and whether there is evidence to support it.

In any organisation, whether it be land-based or crew working on yachts, there will undoubtedly be diversity amongst staff, whether it be about race, cultural background or age group. The difference should be embraced rather than shut down. If you are unwilling to understand the differences, you will be setting yourself up for failure and dealing with the aftermath of the destruction caused.

So rather than pointing fingers, let’s build a culture that is inclusive of diversity. The change needs to start within ourselves, and then we can lead the younger generation.

Why understanding values can build your team up

When building a positive culture, it is imperative to understand each of your team members’ personalities and what they value, both in a leader and in the workplace, no matter their generational categorisation. In a team, you will have individual values and shared values. As a leader, it is about understanding the team’s needs and how to include values as part of everyday working life. Demonstrating respect for individual values and motivating the team to commit to the shared values to reach the common goal is a sure win-win outcome. 

So how do you determine the crews’ values and iron out any biases or misconceptions? My recommendation is team workshops. This has proven to be the ideal forum to understand differences and develop crew cohesion and culture. In addition, it allows the crew to connect, understand and learn how to communicate whilst respecting each other. To access your team workshop values’ template, download it here.

Asking these open questions gives you better insight into the crew’s values and attributes which will empower you to lead them with ease and elicit more engagement from your crew. It also shows that you care for each individual and are invested in developing a positive working relationship rather than viewing them as a cog in the wheel.


So perhaps millennials are not that bad after all. Maybe they don’t feel like they are heard due to a misunderstanding or lack of interest in their values. To avoid painting a misconstrued picture of the ‘us’ and ‘them’, we need to demonstrate empathy and equally take the time to understand each other’s values to avoid conflict and build positive working relationships.

Ongoing personal and professional development is vital when wanting to develop your leadership skills. 

I hope that you find this tool as helpful as my clients do! If you require further support in delivering workshops, feel free to email me at karine@thecrewcoach.com or review my one-on-one coaching program here

Want to Know How to Engage Millennials