5 Keys For Motivating Millennials At Work

Millennials represents an important and growing segment of the workforce.

Learning to motivate Generation Y could prove critically important to your company’s future success.

The cost of replacing workers can be high, and retaining millennials can be a challenge, especially because they are so achievement oriented. But keeping your best talent is worth the time and effort you put into it.

So, here are several keys for motivating millennials at work.

Encourage Your Employees To Give Back

Many millennials are socially conscious, placing a high priority on helping those who are less fortunate.

Forbes staff writer Jenna Goudreau says, "Dan Epstein, the CEO of business consultancy ReSource Pro who has a staff comprised of 90% millennials, says allowing employees to form committees and use company resources or time to organize their causes meets their desire for social consciousness."

Epstein suggests giving your employees the opportunity to take time off to run charity marathons or even spend the weekend at Habitat for Humanity.

Millennials care deeply about people in need, and if you want to motivate them at work, you should too.

Let Them Be Intrapreneurs

Officevibe has a presentation on SlideShare that shows 90% of millennials surveyed think being an entrepreneur means having a certain mindset rather than starting a company.
Millennials are ambitious. They want to accomplish big things. They want their work to be meaningful.

A Generation Y worker will not thrive in an environment where they aren’t allowed to make any mistakes. If everything is routine and by the books, they will get bored and begin looking for a new career.

Could you allow for more flexibility in your company? Could you let your team members come up with ideas and play a part in making important decisions? Is there a way you could allow for more risks and mistakes?

If you can find ways of getting your team members to contribute beyond the usual scope of day to day responsibilities, you’ll see them thrive in the workplace.

Have More Fun

millennial-motivation
Image: Alyibel

Per entrepreneur and investor John Rampton, "'Creating an organizational culture that is flexible and relaxed, has open communication, encourages sharing and innovation and offers flexibility is a good step to keeping Millennials engaged’, states the UNC study. ‘Millennials want fun and a less formal atmosphere may help foster it.'"

There are many simple ways of accomplishing this end, such as by organizing team building activities, or by instating a policy like Google’s 20% time.

Some businesses even have rec rooms where employees can play foosball or ping pong.

The feasibility of this strategy depends on your budget and workplace, but in general if you can create an atmosphere that’s more fun, you’ll keep your millennial workers motivated.

Offer Valuable Incentives

Millennials aren’t necessarily driven by money.

Still, offering incentives for good work can keep a younger employee motivated.

Ian Siegel, CEO and Co-Founder of ZipRrecruiter says, "More competitive starting pay, performance-based bonuses, annual raises, and internal promotions are just a few incentives that could really motivate a millennial employee."

Siegel also notes, however, that this isn’t just about throwing around money. It’s about understanding what drives each person on your team and determining how you can help them reach their goals.

Millennials don’t want to be bossed around. They want to be coached and mentored.
Furthermore, you can motivate them by giving them flexible work schedules and even by giving them frequent title changes. You may need to create additional titles in your company to give your Generation Y workers more to aspire to while they are working their way up their career ladder.

Trust Them With Challenging Projects

Jordan Scott, Content Marketing Manager at Xactly says, "Every job includes some busy work, but when you’re trying to understand what motivates those Gen Y employees in the workplace, it’s critical to note that amongst the day-to-day work you should give them challenging projects with executive visibility."

Millennials want to be trusted with big projects, not just the small ones. If their work becomes too routine and mundane, they are sure to get bored and start looking for work elsewhere.

When you trust them with a challenging project, it demonstrates that you’re willing to give them a chance to use their skills and talents to solve problems. This is validating.
They may not succeed in their efforts every single time, but that’s where coaching and mentoring comes in. You can offer constructive feedback that helps them do better next time around.

Final Thoughts

Managing millennials isn’t necessarily a walk in the park. There are certain challenges that go along with catering your approach to Gen Y.

But if you keep it simple, build connections with each of your employees, take time to understand what drives them, and help them set achievable goals, you’ll reap the rewards over the long haul.

Are you looking for additional insights into managing millennials? Check out: How To Be A Leader For Millennials In The Office