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Saturday May 25th, 2024

Great Place to Work in Sri Lanka unveils Best Workplaces for Millennials for 2022

The Great Place to Work® Study of millennial employees in Sri Lanka was conducted for the third consecutive year and yet again highlights the thought-provoking fact that only 78% of millennials in all Sri Lankan organizations in the study are having a positive experience at work. The lowest figure among any generation assessed in the study. Conversely, on the brighter side, the perception of Millennials among the Best 15 organizations selected portrayed a different story where 90% of Millennials were in fact having a positive experience.

These workplaces must be doing something distinct that transforms work for this generation. Millennials having a great experience are more likely to plan a long-term future with an organization, provided the organization has a high-trust culture. Therefore, this article dives into exploring the findings of the study to highlight key insights for learning from the Best 15 workplaces for millennials.


The study was conducted by assessing 72,350 employees at an 85% response rate across more than 160 organizations in Sri Lanka from July 2021 to June 2022. Nearly 20,000 Millennials responded to the anonymous survey. The results of this study were used in selecting the 15 Best Workplaces™ for Millennials.

There are varying definitions of what a millennial is, and the range of years can change based on the definition broadly encompassing those born from 1981 to 1997. For the purpose of this study, Great Place to Work® in Sri Lanka considered the age group of 26 years to 35 years as ‘Millennials’ (Generation Y).

While the study represented more than 20 key industries, the Best 15 Workplaces represented 8 industries of which the majority (40%) were from the Information Technology and IT-enabled services sector.

The size of the employee cadre among the Best 15 extended from 60 employees to over 2200 employees, with the majority (nearly 50%) being among the 100-500 employee range. The percentage of millennials in organizations among the Best 15 ranged from 30% to 80% with the average being 50% of the workforce.


The average of all survey statements is summarized into the overall Trust Index© average. Usual studies show a significant gap between Millennials and the rest of the organization as depicted through the example of perception for the 50 Best Workplaces™ in Figure 2. However, among the 15 Best Workplaces™ for Millennials perception among GenY is relatively higher, leading them to be on average on par with the rest of the employees as well. This pattern was seen in 2022 and previous studies in Sri Lanka.

Figure 3 illustrates the pattern of employee perception across the age groups in the workplace. The study considered Gen Z as employees aged below 25 years and Gen X are those from 35 years to 55 years of age. Millennials are sandwiched in between.

Millennials are known to have distinct expectations of their workplace and in short, millennials are here and ready to lead in new and dynamic ways. Their unique characteristics include being socially conscious, wanting meaningful work, and seeking challenges and better ways to contribute to their workplace. They are a generation known to have been affected by significant economic, social, and political changes in their lifetime.

There can be many reasons for millennials to usually be the age group with the relatively lowest positive perception about the workplace. It is generally thought that whilst millennials have proven to have more grit and perseverance than given credit for, they also have high expectations of ideal great workplace culture. Therefore, Gen Y is the most critical of the workplace experience as well as the group that can be most demotivated when the organization may not meet their ideals in role modelling values and creating a collaborative and purpose-driven environment. Since Millennials are now the majority age group in organizations as well as a group taking up managerial responsibility it becomes essential for organizations to nurture a conducive culture that supports millennials to have a consistently great work experience and contribute to a great place to work for all.


When exploring the survey data further, the employee experience derived through the Trust Index© average can be further divided into 5 key focus areas as shown in figure 4.

Credibility measures the extent to which employees see management as trustworthy. Millennials among the Best 15 are highly positive about the level of integrity in managers (Best 90% vs Rest 74%) and communication practices (Best 91% vs Rest 76%). This generation blossoms on having a reliable and honest relationship with their manager, thus leadership effectiveness in both task and people orientation, as well as management role modelling the organizational values, is key.

Respect measures the extent to which employees feel respected by management through actions for professional support, collaboration and caring. Best 15 outpace the Rest by 17 percentage points in Millennial perception around support through training and resources provided, thus contributing to maximizing human potential through providing development opportunities. When respect for employees’ ideas is shown it contributes to encouraging innovation by all.

Fairness measures the extent to which employees feel that management practices are fair, by assessing the equity, impartiality, and non-discrimination employees perceive in the workplace and is a key dimension of sustaining trust. The Best 15 outstrip the Rest in Millennial perceptions for equity (Best 87% vs. Rest 70%) and impartiality (Best 84% vs Rest 66%) Whenever pay and purpose don’t align, millennials will not hesitate to leave.

Pride measures employees’ sense of pride in their work by assessing the feelings employees have toward their jobs, team or work group and the organization. The pride in the organization is enhanced through all living and being inspired by the values of the organization. The gap between the best vs rest seems to be smallest in pride for the personal job (7 percentage points).

Camaraderie measures employees’ sense of camaraderie in the workplace by assessing the quality of intimacy, hospitality, and community within the workplace. Millennials perceive hospitality to be 15 percentage points higher among the Best 15 than among the Rest. It is a great starting point for creating an environment that builds trust. GenY tends towards team orientation and looks forward to building friendships with co-workers.


Great Place to Work® analysts pay particular attention to 5 key indices that are checkpoints to gauge the health of an organization’s culture. Figure 5 provides an overview of these areas. It is clearly seen that the perception among the Best 15 millennials is high showcasing healthy workplace cultures.


The areas that are most closely related to Millennials believing their workplace is a Great Workplace and one with which they wish to have a long-term association are indicated in figure 6. Confidence in management’s behaviour being ethical is the No. 1 driver for Millennials of the Best 15 to believe it is a great workplace overall. It is followed by egalitarian treatment. However, when it comes in particular to retaining millennials egalitarian treatment is in fact No. 1 for Gen Y.



Figure 7 summarizes the areas where the Best Workplaces outperform the Rest with the largest gaps (20 percentage points) in Millennial positive perception – these relate to fairness in organizational practices and credibility of managers and are areas in which the Rest of the organizations need to improve themselves the most.


The areas identified as key strengths among the Best 15 are depicted in Figure 8 and are given top priority in contributing to Millennials’ perception of a Great Workplace Culture. Pride and Camaraderie continue to be focus areas of high positive perception among Millennials of the Best 15.

  • Through the research on millennials in the workplace, a personal version of ikigai was discovered in which passion, pride and personal connection overlap. Together, they form the three keys that indicate if an employee is likely to stay with a company or recommend their workplace to others. Gen Y (millennials) thrive on the pride of being part of a purposedriven organization, in seeing meaning in their work and the accomplishments of their team
  • A strong sense of community, acceptance and welcome within the organization affirms a great working culture for Millennials.
  • Millennials also look to their leaders to be role model people managers and set clear objectives, so they are highly appreciative of management competence where it is present.
  • Gen Y also wants to make the most of their time and prefers to have resources and facilities that ensure safety and contribute to their ability to complete tasks effectively
  • Fair compensation is the No. 1 area for Sri Lankan organizations to improve on as employees look for greater financial stability. In a world of constantly increasing cost of living Millennials look to employers for fair compensation that reflects both the commitment given to the job as well as external and internal parity. A best practice would be to have financial schemes for profit share among employees that showcase profit distribution transparently and create a win-win outcome for all.
  • Fair performance management is pivotal to not only retaining Millennials but to keep them motivated. Fairness is a key attribute of Millennials who want to see promotions and opportunities going to those that most deserve them and managers acting in a fair and unbiased manner without personal agendas. A best practice in this area would be to maintain clear expectations and train & mentor people managers.


While the Best 15 outperform the Rest in clinching this title, they too are not perfect and areas in which the Best 15 can further improve themselves according to what their Millennial employees have to say are presented in figure 9. The areas are given in order of key concerns that influence the overall perception of being a Great Workplace. It is noteworthy that while these are areas of concern, the Best 15 are still far ahead of the Rest in their Millennials’ experience, making these areas key differentiators.

  • In the post-pandemic era of the hybrid workplace and blurring boundaries for work hours, it has never been more important than now to encourage work-life balance among all employees. Gen Y is now a generation with families, children and a host of responsibilities on their shoulders for the first time and requires that their time and contribution at work be respected. A best practice here would be for organizations to have processes in place to manage human resources effectively to prevent excessive workloads and burnout among employees.
  • In line with being part of something larger than themselves, Gen Y appreciates being given the opportunity to collaborate with management and have their ideas and suggestions considered in organizational decision-making. A best practice would be to maintain a variety of open communication forums, give opportunities for ideation and innovation, and show connections between actions and feedback received

Millennials stem from an increasingly digital age and possess skills and knowledge resources that should make them invaluable to today’s fast-developing business world. Most organizations tend to overlook and fail to respond to Millennial needs to be linked to purpose, feel positive reinforcement, and see opportunities to grow. This is a mistake, considering that the millennials are now in positions of people managers and significantly impacting the workplace culture. Organizations that competently recruit, retain and inspire millennials acquire significant competitive advantages in the present and the future over their peers. In conclusion, the best way to manage each generation in your workplace is linked to the distinct characteristics they display and the first step towards understanding these characteristics and actioning on them would be to acknowledge that generation gaps do exist and learn about them! Measuring and quantifying employee perception would be the next step in taking data-backed decisions to make changes in your workplace culture to maximize the human potential of all your employees.


The Great Place to Work® model used to assess Best WorkplacesTM was based on two lenses.

Firstly, the Trust Index© employee perception survey was conducted to understand the employee workplace experience as a Great Place to Work For All™. Employees responded to 58 survey questions describing the extent to which employees trust the people they work for, have Pride in the work they do and share Camaraderie among the people they work with. A 95% confidence level with a 5% margin of error or better in survey results was maintained. Demographic information such as Age group was captured through the survey to obtain the perception of Millennials. A robust approach for maintaining individual anonymity was followed so that participants had the opportunity to provide candid feedback. Results for each of the listed organizations were audited to maintain the accuracy and validity of an organization’s inclusion in the Best Workplaces List.

Secondly, the people practices put in place by the organization to drive and sustain the employee experience over the long term were evaluated through a central submission termed the Culture Audit©. The assessment was a rigorous methodology, which has been researched, tested and carried out in similar studies around the world.

In addition, the following criteria were also considered when selecting the 15 Best Workplaces for Millennials:

  • Organizations with at least 20 Millennials representing 20% or more of the workforce (Millennials were considered to be those between 26 to 34 years of age)
  • Organizations and the Millennials groups with the minimum qualifying criteria of 70% positive perception or more through the Trust Index© survey
  • Organizations in which Millennials were of higher positive in perception in comparison to the average millennial in the study, the organization average and other age groups in the organization (Millennials were highest or 2nd highest scoring in organizations)
  • Organizations in which Millennials groups were more positive in areas that Great Place to Work® research has found to have strong appeal to Millennials such as collaborating, work-life balance, non-discrimination by age, meaningful work, making a difference, pride in the organization and contributing to society
  • Organizations in which people practices such as collaboration, inclusiveness, balancing work-life, and inspiring employees were showcased and passed the minimum average threshold score of 40% in Culture Audit©

To better understand your organization’s standing amongst your employees in general and millennials in particular, participate in the Great Place to Work Certified™ programme and be eligible for the “Best Workplaces for Millennials in Sri Lanka – 2023”, register through this link: or via the QR code below. Contact Best Workplaces™ for Millennials List Manager Rukshanie Vidyaratne via +94 71 444 3121 and rukshanie.vidyaratne@ for more information