Anyone aged between 18 and 35 is considered to be a ‘millennial’. They are the group within the workforce that will slowly emerge as the dominant group; they are, so research tells us, a highly educated bunch that will bring new and dynamic forces to the world of work and across all industries and sectors. As well as being the most educated, Millennials are also the most culturally diverse group of any generation before them. And they are very different to how other generations have been. We have all heard the phrase ‘job for life’. We all know someone who has been in the same job for years and years but, the Millennials are not that group. They are actively seeking new challenges and are not afraid to seek them out. Job-hopping might be a phrase that does them a dis-service but, if the work they are doing becomes overly prescribed and stale, they will move on. Thus, motivation all of a sudden becomes a critical player in keeping hold of the skills of the younger sector of your workforce. This means we wall need to know.
How to keep millennials motivated at work!
Explain the company vision and mission
Connect the meaning to the person. You may think this sounds flighty and over the top but, sharing what your company or business is about is necessary for the younger generation to identify that part that they are going to play in this.
Some of these mission statements can seem a little lofty – just take Microsoft’s ‘a computer in every home and desk running with Microsoft’ – might seem a bit over ambitious but with the right drive, leadership and people, can and has been widely achieved.
This is about a particular sense of purpose, a clear sense of them in the larger, overall plan.
It’s not all about the money
American research has also shown that millennials are also not only chasing the money if it all; identifying with and helping people seems to be what drives them.
It is a break from tradition for many businesses. For example, community work for many a company up until recent times has been the odd donation, either of cash or a cheque, or other items. But it seems that the younger workers want to do more than this. Thus, some innovative companies have a driving force of younger workers banding together to create a force for change within a community or local group.
In other words, it is not just about money, nor just about the work. It has to be about something more than just making a profit. Maybe the millennial is more socially aware than previous generations?
Inpatient or dynamic?
On one hand, it seems that 18 to 35 years olds are not willing to wait years for a promotion to come their way. In fact, they expect to get somewhere relatively fast within any company or business for whom they work.
The solution? Create what are known as ‘in-steps and titles’. Think of it as a form of additional training, a way of training the next generation of middle and senior managers. This way, this impatient and yet dynamic group of workers may feel that they are progressing, and in the right direction too.
Encourage and feedback
Not many employees are willing to be ‘done to’ anymore; they expect a say in how things are done. This is valuable feedback for the business but just as important is fuelling the motivation of employees.
But grand gestures are not always needed because Millennials, like other staff members, are looking for recognition and that their work is valued. A simple, yet powerful ‘thank you’ or ‘excellent job in such-a-such project’ and so on, can go a long way.
Some people have criticised the millennials for being reward hungry but, this is not always the case. It is your role as manager to praise when praise is due to, and feedback too.
Flexibility is key
Rigid work patterns are becoming a little staid and in many industries, simply no longer needed. The Internet and connectivity between work and a ‘remote base’ mean that work does not have to fit the 9 to 5 pattern.
Millennials don’t see an issue with working when they work best; for some, the early hours of the morning, for other this may be later afternoon into the evening. And don’t forget work/life balance too.
Offering flexible work patterns may or may not fit your business. And you may not be brave enough to take the step that Virgin have recently done, allowing people flexible holiday leave…
The progress of the individual is essential. They are being taught that learning is life-long and yet for many, they found on entering the workplace that it did stop. They are hungry for knowledge and looking to advance. Feed them with professional development that is worthy and useful.
Side project or personal projects
Call them what you will but this is when an employee or a group of employees are given the opportunity to branch out. This not only helps to keep people motivated but can also bring into the company a stack of innovative ideas. A motivated workforce is a happy one, with the skill sets being developed and you retaining these skills in-house.