How to manage and motivate millennials in the workplace

Posted by David Gould

Millennials now make up the majority of the workforce, so it’s vital that employers understand who they are and what makes them tick.  Generally classified as those born between 1980 and 1999, millennials bring a new attitude to work and have unique expectations of employment.

They are confident, passionate, sociable and extremely tech savvy: the doting parents of this generation raised them to believe they can achieve anything. These qualities and expectations can be beneficial to businesses, but they need to be understood and well directed.

It’s worth bearing in mind that millennials tend to be well connected on social media channels and the internet community. This can be an asset to your company, especially for certain job roles. However, if a job isn’t living up to their expectations, a millennial will use their tech-savvy talents to look elsewhere, and if they don’t already have the contacts, they will think nothing of establishing them quickly and efficiently online. If you want to keep them, read on.

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Permission to multitask

Did you know that millennials are instinctive multitaskers? This talent can most likely be attributed to being brought up alongside technology, rather than having to adopt it. Carrying out several tasks at once is a millennial norm: taking a call while emailing and making notes is considered normal, which means they can work efficiently. Their technical know-how also means they are able to come up with fresh ideas and processes, as they can deploy and manipulate technology to their advantage.

This ability can have a positive impact on an organisation if it’s accepted as a valid way to work and managed well; guidance is imperative, as millennials do need, and want, direction.

Nurture their passion

Given that millennials intend to approach whatever they do with passion, it’s important to them that they find a job they believe in. Their managers should demonstrate how their work matters and what their role means to an organisation. If they can see that what they do makes a difference, they will be all the more motivated to achieve. They also expect to receive instruction and training, as education has been positioned as a major priority for this generation.

Freedom to develop new ideas should be given, with parameters or guidelines to maximise their passionate approach to work.

It’s a team game

The style of learning that millennials experienced within the education system is team-orientated, rather than the individual approach of previous generations that many employers are familiar with. This translates into the workplace as positive reactions to working in a team environment, and an expectation of support and learn from their peers.

Taking this even further, millennials will expect to make friends at work; they will not view their colleagues as mere workmates, so a relaxed and sociable office environment will suit the millennial workforce best. Social events and activities that allow staff to mix outside of the office are a great way to foster team cohesion and working relationships, and will likely be expected by this generation of workers.

Social events and activities that allow staff to mix outside of the office are a great way to foster team cohesion and working relationships, and will likely be expected by this generation of workers.

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Relationships matter

Given that relationships are so highly valued by the millennial generation, it shouldn’t be surprising that they will seek a close and positive working relationship with the boss.  Highly loyal, millennials will want to place their trust in and be inspired by their boss, looking to them for encouragement and instruction. If bosses are aware of how millennials work and what motivates them, the sky really is the limit in terms of expectations.

Properly managed millennials will be dedicated to their employer and do the task at hand to the best of their ability. All it takes if for the right boss in the right organisation to motivate, value and nurture the millennial workforce.

Offer flexible working

The millennial appreciates flexible working and some even expect it as the norm. This is a generation that has been exposed to and involved in multiple leisure time activities as they have grown up, so they expect flexibility to pursue this lifestyle once they enter the workplace.

Maintaining a work-life balance is paramount as they value the time to maintain hobbies and activities, as well as time to spend with family and friends. This generation prioritises family and will not be willing to compromise this time for a job, so this should be accommodated where possible.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions

Millennials’ esteemed view of education mean that on-the-job training and ongoing feedback are offered, to help millennial staff feel valued and make them want to stay. Indeed, feedback is expected on a regular basis – weekly if not daily to some degree – and praise is also fundamental. Used to ongoing praise and encouragement, millennials often cannot absorb criticism if it is not presented in a manner they are accustomed to. The most effective way to feed back to a millennial employee is to lead with praise, and proceed from there to constructive criticism, as millennials need to feel that they are doing a good job.

As they appreciate technology, innovation and excitement, an incentives programme that rewards their hard work could really help keep millennials motivated – and their older colleagues too.

See here for examples of how some of the top global brands motivate their diverse workforces.

Motivating Millennials in the Workplace

Staff who feel motivated, rewarded, and valued by you as an employer will undoubtedly feel more driven to succeed. This is why it can be so important to ensure you have a robust employee recognition scheme in place. At CR Worldwide, we can design and implement employee recognition schemes that are:

Easy to implement – Setting up our employee recognition schemes is quick and easy. It can also be tailored to your business’s specific need, too.

Easy to use – Rewarding your staff’s hard work and achievements through our employee recognition scheme is simple, which means you can effortlessly drive employee performance and increase engagement

Easy to manage – Real-time reporting lets  managers keep track of their staff’s performance with ease. This makes rewarding well-performing staff simple, and there’s a broad range of rewards to choose from in our catalogue to help you provide the right reward for each staff member.

We’d love to help you engage, motivate and inspire your team with our innovative Employee Recognition services. To speak to a member of our award-winning team:

Or visit the contact us page to make a quick online enquiry to find out how to drive your business performance today.

David joined CR Worldwide as CEO in 2014. Leading a team of performance improvement experts, building and managing engagement programs, he is responsible for developing and growing the business to support new and existing clients.