If you’re running a company in modern America, chances are you have at least one millennial on your team. While the term may sound terrifying and futuristic, there’s really no need to fear this young and upcoming generation.
A millennial refers to anyone who reaches adulthood around the year 2000, so you’ve likely noticed an increase in them around the workplace. With an estimated 80 million of them among us, we need to start showing an interest in what makes them tick so that they can help our organizations reach a shared goal.
Numerous studies have already taken place into just how the millennial’s mind works, with thoughts about their involvement in the workplace showing some very interesting findings. Here are a few ways you can use this research to your advantage and motivate the millennials on your team to achieve amazing things.
We’re not saying that you should back off completely and let them have free reign in the workplace, but you will need to be a little more liberal with how you manage them. Rather than giving super specific orders, relay the end goal to your employees and let them work through the steps on their own to get there.
Studies have found that micromanaging employees is one of the biggest factors causing millennials to leave an organization. It’s all about finding that fine line between being a good manager and an overbearing one and letting the millennial find their own two feet at the same time.
Although millennials might crave autonomy, they also want to know how they can do better. This need to please others, particularly superiors, can be used by managers for good, provided you are giving them honest and fair feedback. Constructive feedback is the best way to improve your employee’s performance without hurting their feelings.
If something isn’t right, explain why and then work together with your employee to come up with a solution. When they achieve something great, let them know too. Feeling respected and valued within the workplace is a huge bonus for any employee and not just those of the millennial generation.
One thing millennials are particularly good at is sensing inauthenticity. Whether it’s from their friends, consumer products and advertising, or their employees, the second that they feel something isn’t genuine they’ll want to back out of it.
As their employer, be as honest and genuine as you can with a millennial. They’ll see straight through corporate speak and wishy-washy information, so you should provide them with clear goals about what the company wants to achieve and what you expect from them.
Work and fun might seem like opposing ideas to some organizations, but it’s essential to inject a little bit of enjoyment into the daily grind for the millennial. This should be done within reason, though, and it doesn’t mean that the younger employees should enjoy fun perks while the other workers should slave away at their desks.
Try to incorporate some fun team building exercises that allow the entire workplace to come together and take their minds off work for a moment. Offer incentives to employees for reaching certain goals that have an element of fun to them. Finally, you can take inspiration from innovative companies such as Google on how to motivate your team with interactive and entertaining activities.
Millennials are the generation that craves improvement, and they’re always looking for ways to grow. In the workplace, you should foster this love for improvement and offer training and education that’s relevant to their positions.
A 2012 survey by recruitment company Adecco, showed that 68% of recent graduates identified growth and development opportunities in the workplace as one of their top priorities, making this one of the key indicators of a good company.
By providing relevant training you’re showing the millennial that you care about their future performance and offering them a chance to grow their skills within the workplace. This gives them a greater sense of worth in the team and shows them that the company is happy to invest in their future. In turn, they’ll reward this with hard work and loyalty, two exceptional qualities to have in any employee.
As the generation who grew up with technology, millennials have a very keen interest in using it for all aspects of their life. If it’s possible and relevant to your organization, you should offer all employees the chance to connect to their workstations remotely.
Even if it isn’t feasible to do this every day, you should offer incentives for them to work from home or other remote locations on set days of the week or at certain times. As the future of the workplace changes rapidly, these types of scenarios are set to become more commonplace. You may find that you get better results and a more motivated workforce when they’re given greater flexibility in their working conditions.
Working with millennials isn’t that different to any other generation, and despite the stereotypes, you’ll find that they’re generally a hardworking and motivated group. Provided you can tap into what makes them tick and use this to your advantage, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the innovative ideas they can bring to your workplace.
After implementing some of these ideas in the workplace, you might even find that other generations enjoy them too. Rather than sticking to the same old tired methods and procedures that you’ve relied on for years, why not use this opportunity to find new ways to motivate your team? You might just be surprised with the results.
It’s crucial to evolve with the millennials so that you can foster their natural talents and use their skills to add value to your organization. Soon enough, the next generation of employees will be making their way through your doors and you’ll need to remain flexible in your work practices to ensure you can motivate this new age group as well.