Regardless of how you feel about the so-called millennial generation, one thing is clear: they’re here to stay. Not only are they here to stay, but by 2020, millennials will comprise around half of the total workforce. Managers must take note, then; if you want your business to survive– and thrive– in the coming years, motivating your millennial employees is a top priority. Millennials— which include those born in the early 1980s and the 20 years that followed– are an educationally and culturally diverse group of young workers that have a lot to bring to the table. However, millennials are notorious for job-hopping, much to the dismay of their managers whose generations stressed strong work ethics and company loyalty. So, what’s a manager to do? Consider the following tips for motivating your millennial employees in the workplace:
Vision and service
Millennials have a strong desire to know that what they’re doing at work matters in the grand scheme of life. While older generations tend to seek employment opportunities that allow them to climb the corporate ladder, millennials want their careers to give them a sense of purpose; they want to know that they’re contributing to society in a meaningful way. Thus, it’s essential to explain tomillennials exactly what the company’s vision is– and how their work will directly contribute to achieving that vision. Additionally, consider encouraging millennial employees to form committees that engage in community service endeavors. Allowing millennials to use company time and resources to fulfill their desires to give back to society demonstrates that you care about what matters to them– and, in turn, encourages them to work harder for you.
Give frequent feedback
Virtually all employees– regardless of generation– appreciate hearing positive feedback from management. This is especially true, however, with millennials. The millennial generation thrives off of praise and encouragement– and they like to hear it frequently, as often as once a week. The good news is that this is a cost-effective and nearly effortless way for management to motivate millennial employees. A simple “job well done” or “congratulations” goes a long way in making millennials feel that they’re valued in the workplace. Don’t avoid constructive criticism, either– but do make sure it’s expressed in a supportive way.
While the thought of social media, wikis, and blogs might make you want to run for the hills, you can bet that your millennial employees will expect this type of technology in the workplace. Instead of resisting the inevitable, embrace their love of technology– and use it to your company’s advantage. Technology that allows employees to communicate in real-time throughout the day– across all departments and employment levels– encourages an open exchange of ideas and company-wide collaboration. Additionally, consider asking millennial employees to manage the company’s Facebook page or Twitter account. Not only will this make them feel valued, it will also help your company stay relevant.
Perhaps more than any other generation before them, millennials value a work-life balance. Thus, if you want to retain your millennial employees long-term, it’s essential to be flexible with their schedules. Because millennials are so technologically savvy, most can work remotely and still be just as effective as they would be sitting behind a desk in the office. Consider, then, offering flex time, the ability to telecommute, and a generous amount of vacation time. Simply put: millennials are unlikely to stay with a company that demands traditional 8-5 office hours. In fact, most millennials rank schedule flexibility higher on their list of must-haves than a large salary.