5 things to motivate millenials to reach their full potential

Posted by in eMBA, Leadership, Organizational Behaviour

Have you been following my posts about millennials? As I wrote my MBA master thesis about “What motivates early millennials in the workplace?” there has been a series of posts about the topic “Seven Areas of Work Motivation“, “The different types of millennials” and “This motivates millennials in the workplace”.

I asked 56 millennials from 22 countries and in-depth interviewed 14 participants from 9 countries.

This is what they said:

#1: Give feedback

Millennials, and generation X for that sake, seek to understand how well they are performing and if they meet the expectations, and adjusts to the feedback. Feedback is the single most important motivator. Make sure that feedback is honest, based on observable behavior and is actionable. Feedback is not always received well and it would be advisable that managers who are supposed to give feedback learns about the technique in order to both understand the concept but also be prepared to deal with outcomes.

#2: Share responsibilities

Enable employees to grow by giving them a great deal of responsibility. They will grow with it. Challenging tasks, still manageable and not too overwhelming in an area of potential growth would be advisable. Some people will handle “deep-water” and a “sink-or-swim” environment but most employees will be set out for failure. It’s advisable to support and mentor the employee, without micro-managing or being intrusive.

#3: Offer flexibility

Enable employees to make their own schedules that fits with their work. Never micro-manage time or have a 9am to 5pm schedule where everyone must show up, if possible. Offer remote options, as long as it fits the job. Offer flexibility also in the way the work is performed. Less stringent processes bed to creativity, and with creativity innovation is at least enabled.

#4: Reward

Recognize good efforts and reward with praise and company wide recognition. This also includes monetary bonus when needed however employees are motivated higher by compassion and good working conditions.

#5: Support

Make sure the best managers are hired that cares about people first of all. Managers that doesn’t manage, but coaches and helps bring out the best of the employees. Support employees in their challenging work situations but never take over.

Further, to be honest about career options and to offer trainings that supports this is perceived as good but it’s not highest on the list of what motivates millennials.

The “Seven Areas of Work Motivation” (Turnbull, 2011) should be used.


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