Motivation and millennials: Managing a younger workforce

Motivation and millennials: Managing a younger workforce

It's no secret that Millennials have become the major players in the modern workforce. In fact, according to an extensive study on millennials in the workplace by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), by 2020 this generation will make up 50 percent of the global workforce.

Millennials have a lot of stigmas attached to them but let's stick to the facts. They have surpassed the baby boomers as the largest generation in US history with over 90 million millennials in today's population, according to Goldman Sachs.

Countless analyses have shown millennials as the largest demographic today. x 0 0 0 14100928 800Countless analyses have shown millennials as the largest demographic today.

Millennials are defined as anyone born between 1980 and 2000. They have completely shifted traditional timelines for general life milestones such as marriage, parenthood and home ownership. They are deeply connected to all things digital having been the first generation to grow up completely connected.

And, as a whole, they are generally misunderstood. We know this because there have been so many studies dedicated to understanding what makes millennials tick – in the realm of business and leadership in particular.

Research has set out to answer a variety of questions: Are their motivators different? Do traditional models of business work for them? What incentives do they crave? How do you get them engaged? Why is retention such a problem? How do you create the necessary office culture? The list goes on.

Understanding the predominant millennial characteristics

The PwC study concluded that while stereotypes surrounding millennials may paint this generation as entitled, social media obsessed or even lazy. The fact of the matter is, they make up one of the most valuable and powerful generations in the modern workplace.

Millennials have more to offer offices than Facebook statuses and Instagram collages.

Millennials have more to offer offices than Facebook statuses and Instagram collages, the key is to find the right ways to motivate and engage them. But before you can begin crafting new ideas for participation and engagement, you need to secure a deeper understanding of what makes millennials tick.

The study found a few salient characteristics across the millennial demographic. For starters, millennial workers have a distinct distaste for rigid corporate structures. They want opportunities for rapid career advancement. They desire freedom and flexibility in their jobs but want structured and consistent feedback from their superiors.

So, how does this materialise in terms of action? We came up with three key tips aimed at genuinely motivating millennials.

Promote a culture of constructive feedback

Millennials put major value on effective and detailed communication. While communication is the backbone of any good company, it becomes ten times more important when you have a younger workforce.

A desire for genuine feedback stands as this generation's most defining trait in terms of professional needs. A mere 1 per cent of millennials in the PwC study claimed feedback was unimportant to them. Make sure you commit to consistent reviews and pointed feedback for all your team members.

Millennials crave consistent and detailed feedback. x 0 0 0 14037109 800Millennials crave consistent and detailed feedback.

Offer more flexible work policies

Flexibility is a key driver for millennials. Not only do they want flexible work options, they want flexible work systems. This manifests in two keys ways. For starters, micromanaging is not something that works well for this generation. Millennials need autonomy. Allow them the space to do work in a way that suits them. This is obviously a privilege that needs to be earned but once your team proves to be reliable, give them the freedom to complete their tasks however they see fit.

Flexibility is a key driver for millennials – they want flexible work options and structures.

The second form of flexibility comes from the working environment. The digital era has enabled a whole new realm of possibilities for workers. People no longer need to be physically in the office to get their job done. As such, many offices are now offering work from home policies for their team members.

For many workers, this can be helpful not only in terms of maintaining a work-life balance but by cutting out their daily commute entirely – allowing them more time to focus on getting things done. Promoting a healthy work-life balance is a huge priority for millennials, according to the study. In fact, it was the second most sought-after benefit – even beating out financial rewards.

Focus on growth

More than anything else, millennial workers value career progression. They want to work for employers that value their skills and invest in advancing their capabilities. Development opportunities even outweigh financial incentives, according to the PwC study. When researchers asked participating millennial professionals what benefits they would like to see from employers financial rewards ranked third while personal learning and development took the top spot.

Opportunities for professional development are a major priority for this generation. x 0 0 0 14108324 800Opportunities for professional development are a major priority for this generation.

Leaders should turn their attention to skills training and courses aimed at leadership progression. This will not only satisfy the millennial appetite for development but it can help start a path of succession planning – with promising workers learning the skills needed to take on more managerial or executive level roles.

Here at LMIT we offer a wide variety of courses for professionals in any industry. To learn more about our training offers, contact one our reps today!

Published by: LMIT