Millennials Aren’t Lazy, You Just Have to Motivate Them

Posted by Jeff Pelliccio on Nov 19, 2018 9:00:00 AM

In ICS insights, hiring trends, client

Believe it or not, the first Millennials are turning 37 this year. This generation charged into the job scene about 20 years ago and have, so far, busted the myths cultivated about them. Studies have shown that Millennials stand accused of extreme Narcissism, or self-centeredness, but that hasn't proven true. Instead, many more of them are humbled then the pundits predicted.

Motivating Millennials

In fact, Millennials are now the largest group in the nation's workforce, so they make up a considerable part of many teams in your organization. That's why it's critical that organizations, particularly managers, put in the effort to understand how this generation thinks in order to motivate them.

Leadership IQ found three main drivers that make or break a Millennial's attitude toward their organization. Those who are properly motivated typically go above and beyond to show best efforts. Oddly enough, none of them involve money.

Millennial Motivation Booster #1: Quality

Quality here refers to a focus on the customer and the overall quality of the work output of the organization. This is the top driver for Millennials who decide to stay with an employer.

Most Millennials want to work for an organization that turns out above-par products and services. Examples include Google, Apple, and Amazon, all of which are respected in their industries. This makes Millennials love their jobs at these and similar companies. Google actually has a company philosophy that promises a focus on users will lead to success in all endeavors. Amazon innovates based on a customer-centric viewpoint and works backward to develop the technology or product that fills a need.

To get your organization into this mindset, make sure some of your internal memos are focused on customer needs and values. These communications report how the company helped customers and not on how your organization compares to a competitor. Millennial motivation doesn't lie in destroying the competition. This generation wants to make a mark and create something useful. 

Focus on quality adds an advantage if you want to attract and keep Millennials, so push everyone to adjust their way of thinking if this is an issue. It's a great idea to have this generation act as enthusiastic brand ambassadors, and it'll also impress your customers.

Millennial Motivation Booster #2: Learning

Millennials are deeply motivated by self-improvement and learning. If you manage a team with this generation represented, one of the best ways to keep them going strong is a dynamic learning environment. Of course, this is something that benefits the entire team and keeps morale and engagement high for every generation of employee.

Millennials are seekers and like to think that life is a path of continuous learning, even if only 26 percent of them self-identify with this trait. Millennials have a different way of measuring learning versus doing than older employees. For this group, everything is inter-related, so they're likely to look at job options in terms of what they're likely to walk away with and not merely a way to pay the bills.

Managers can manage expectations by having monthly conversations with all Millennials and other employees. Center the talk around these four points:

  • Name something you do better than you did last month.
  • Tell me what you want to improve this month.
  • Let's talk about your plan to meet these goals. 
  • Let me know how I can provide you the resources to succeed.

This process reminds Millennials that they are continuously learning and encourages future growth. This triggers them to become more self-directed employees.

Millennial Motivation Booster #3: Feeling Valued

Feeling valued is more than a verbal acknowledgment of job-related accomplishments. The work itself should matter, and Millennials need to understand where they fit in the cycle. When a company encourages entrepreneurial thinking and friendly competition, there's a value creation that raises the desirability of your organization.

To attain this status, call out the best efforts and ideas in team meetings and gatherings with larger groups within the organization, such as department meetings. In addition to regular projects, let employees spend up to 20 percent of their day exploring their own ideas that benefit the company. This engenders creative thinking and innovation. Google employs this concept and attributes many of its significant advances to it.

It's hard to maintain that philosophy when a big project is afoot, but it's an essential ingredient in creating a wide pool of creative, independent-thinking employees, especially Millennials.

Here's the Solution

There's no need to go overboard in your quest to attract and keep Millennials and to inspire the kind of motivation that can produce revolutionary thinking. It's not about giving them want they want. Creating an organization that produces quality output, a continuous learning environment, and a pool of employees that feel fulfilled and appreciated benefits the entire company. If you're looking for more ways to attract candidates, pre-order our salary guide! There are plenty of great tips in there on how to handle the candidate-controlled market and what they expect from employers.