Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Business Administration

Advisor

Kathleen Barclay

Abstract

Millennials are estimated to compose half of the workforce by 2020. Many hospitality researchers have studied Millennial employee engagement, but less is known about how to apply strategies that are authentically engaging for Millennials. The purpose of this study was to explore Millennial employee engagement strategies. The research questions for this study were used to examine the engagement strategies of luxury resort leaders and how Millennial employees perceived engagement. A single case study design was used to gather interview, questionnaire, and company document data from employees of a luxury resort in Hawai`i. Kahn's employee engagement theory served as the basis for the conceptual framework. Six non-Millennial department heads participated in semistructured interviews by purposeful sampling and 11 Millennial employees completed an online, anonymous questionnaire. Saldana's 2-cycle coding analysis was used to determine themes based upon the conceptual framework, participant descriptions of engagement, and commonalities among effective strategies. The 3 most significant themes were the importance of (a) interpersonal respect, (b) interpersonal trust, and (c) meaningful relationships. Another worthwhile finding was the difference in perceptions of engagement aspects between Millennials and other generations. To fully engage Millennial employees, luxury resort leaders should focus on thoughtful communication, empathy, and relationship-building strategies. The implications for social change include the potential to foster happy, productive Millennial employees who contribute to the performance of their organizations. When resort leaders increase their skills to build respect, trust, and meaningful relationships, they improve workplace culture for all employees.