How to motivate Millennials is a subject executives ask me about often. There are many people I've met and spoken with who feel Millennials are not motivated. In fact, I recently received a similar comment in reference to one of the many millennial focused blog posts I've written called "Work Ethics In The Workplace: Generation Differences."
How To Motivate Millennials
The comment I received is as follows:
Regarding your statement -- 'Millennials have the reputation of having lazy work ethics and being hard to motivate which isn't true...' is itself untrue. Millennials absolutely do have lazy work ethics, and are among the most overwhelmingly incompetent workers I have ever come encountered. What's even worse is they don't seem to care.
Clearly this gentleman has had some bad experiences. I understand his frustration, but do not agree; therefore, to help explain the work ethics of Millennials I responded to him by sharing four best practices on how to motivate millennials. Because I have more room in this blog post, I've taken the liberty to elaborate and to include seven best practices.
My Expanded Response Is As Follows:
Thank you for your feedback (name removed for privacy).
I don't doubt you've had some challenging experiences. I think everyone has ran into a millennial who did not perform well. I have to balance the scale, howeve,r and say that as a Boomer -- I've worked with Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials who have fallen short of my expectations. I've also worked with Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials who have been amazingly hard-working, creative, devoted and who have sincere work ethics.
Speaking of Millennials specifically -- they are different -- no doubt about it. They cannot be defined in general terms as we've often been able to get away with when speaking about Boomers and Gen Xers... but good people from any generation can be good employees if motivated. The following are four ways (expanded to seven) to motivate Millennials. They are:
- Make sure Millennials know the company mission, vision and values. This provides meaning to the employee. All employees -- but especially Millennials are looking to take pride in their work as well as the company they work for. Sharing the companies value-based mission, vision and values and how you support your community as good corporate citizens will help the individual employee be motivated and engaged.
Conclusion To: How To Motivate Millennials
Millennials want work and work/life balance that most of us would want, no matter how old we are. Millennials want meaningful work that expresses their needs, values, talents and desire to learn. That doesn't sound like unrealistic work ethics; in fact, it sounds quite normal.
The challenge is because Millennials rarely hold back (they were taught not to), they are going to actively pursue the career and the work/life balance they want. It's not that they are not loyal -- they are, and they will stay with your organization as long as their needs are being met.
You might be interested in my recent blog post called "Baby Boomers And Millennials Are Alike."
Happy communicating and creating workplace harmony.
If you have questions please reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org