The younger generation, also referred to as Generation Y, or the Millennials, has definitely become an integral part of the job market. According to recent stats and estimates, there are some 80 million of them in the United States today. People aged 18 to 35 will make up 36 per cent of all employees in the U.S. by the end of 2014, and half of the job force by 2020. Yet, in spite of their rise to prevalence, it seems they are facing a large number of negative misconceptions. They are perceived by their older coworkers and employers alike as unmotivated, inflexible, and difficult to integrate. While we are not going to dispute or reinforce these assumptions, our aim is to provide you with five tested-and-true motivations for young employees. That’s because there are far too many of them to continue ignoring them, or to attempt to address their issues with methods that clearly don’t suit their mentalities.
Give them feedback
Feedback is perhaps the simplest, most affordable and most economically efficient of all motivations for younger employees. Research has shown that millennials respond especially well to feedback in all forms. They are very motivated by encouragement in particular, so if you want your younger staff to pull more weight around the office, simply praise them when they’re doing their job right. There’s no need for speeches and lofty words – a free, simple ‘thank you’, when deserved, will do just fine.
Get them to help others out
In 2010, social scientists from the Pew Research Center ran a survey, whose results clearly indicated that people aged 18 to 35 greatly value helping those in need. 21 per cent of respondents said they value this more than having a financially successful career (preferred by 15 per cent). Implement such an approach at company level, if you are looking for motivations for younger employees. Have them coordinate department-wide training sessions or assign them consultancy tasks – they’ll be happy to oblige.
Promotions work as motivations for younger employees
It might have something to do with their appetite for instant gratification, but it is certainly clear that Generation Y employees are very eager to climb up the corporate ladder. They are far more determined about this then their parents or Generation X predecessors. This, of course, doesn’t mean you have to indulge them and promote them without merit. But it might be a good idea to ‘invent’ intermediary titles and steps on said ladder, which they can look forward to reaching. Think of it as a way of applying gamification theory to your organizational structure.
Get them on board with your vision
If you are running a company or in charge with managing one, no matter its field of work or size, we suggest you educate your millennial employees on what the company values, goals, and vision are. According to several leadership experts, higher purposes and meaning rank highly among motivations for younger employees. They are not the kind of workers who will simply resume to clocking in the work hours and then heading home. Their young age and its specific idealism might have something to do with this, but you have to admit that a lofty attitude is praiseworthy.
It’s a well-known, scientifically proven fact that Generation Y workers greatly value their personal time and flexibility. A recent study has found they are, by and large, willing to sacrifice a portion of their salaries for the opportunity to work from home, via the Internet, or for more time off. So implement some of the incentives that other companies have tried: allow them to work from home, or, if you’re feeling particularly brash, go for unlimited vacation time. And don’t forget to let us know how it all pans out!