Marketing August 24, 2015 Last updated September 18th, 2018 2,068 Reads share

Motivating Millennials: Understanding the New Generation

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It has been general consensus that millennials are selfish, narcissistic, self-obssessed generation with a sense of entitlement. While undeniably these issues are present, the whole generation can’t be entirely rotten. We must remember, when it comes to technology, innovation and thinking out of the box, no one can do better than this generation. So let us first discredit some theories and prevalent prejudices about millennials.

  • While it may seem millennials are lazy people obsessed with technology and selfies, when pushed in right direction, they are an asset to any company.
  • They are hard-working and desire continuous personal development, which might altruistically appear selfish but is actually a desirable trait for growth of companies. If you give them chance to learn and grow, one of the biggest

    In the following article, we will understand how to tackle millennials, make their negative traits work for your advantage and keep them motivated and happy all the while.

    #1. Give them flexibility

    Millennials are used to freedom of thinking and freedom of speech. They can’t and won’t work in restricted environment. Companies need to give them some flexibility and room for thought, trial and speech. Most millennials despise routine 9-5 jobs. They are tech-savvy people who are ready to work more than the standard hours provided you give them the flexibility to work from home from their laptops and phones.

    Apart from working hours, millennials also want freedom of trial and adaptation. If they think your methods are obsolete, they will have no qualms discrediting them. They are continuously evolving and they want you to evolve with them. A rigid atmosphere riddled with bureaucracy and red tape will make them hop jobs quickly.

    Sara-Ashley Hernandez a graduate who passed out of Notre Dame University in 2010 summed up the desires of millennials very candidly. According to her millennials want it all. They want a successful career and independence, they want a family with kids, they want to live in a big city with all the perks while having the flexibility to drive kids to the school – in short, they want the perfect but elusive work-life balance.

    #2. Money as motivational tool

    Millennials are burdened with student loan debts, overdue credit card bills, mortgages, personal loans etc., despite that money is not their priority. While they usually start at a higher scale than your average Gen X employee, money will not always work in motivating them. Believe it or not, this so-called selfish generation does not translate ‘big bucks’ as success. While it may seem that their obsession with shoes and clothes and fancy gadgets will lead them to steady, high paying jobs, when push comes to shove, they are ready to forego everything and even temp as waiters to make end meets.

    #3. Show them the big picture

    Unlike their ancestors who didn’t care much else than their fat pay checks and were apathetic towards corporate social responsibility, the new generation is more concerned about the big picture. They must know what are your founding principles; what are your company’s objectives; how do you aim to achieve them; what kind of processes take place before achieving the end result; who are your average customers / stakeholders / consumers; are you lawful; do you indulge in philanthropy; and so much more.

    With Google ready to answer every question, with reviews on social networking sites and so much of information everywhere, this generation wants answers and knowledge about each and everything. This habit transcends onto their workplace habits. If you ask them to do a job without letting them know how it will affect your organization in a positive way, they will not achieve job satisfaction. For them, this satisfaction comes from the knowledge that they are doing their bit.

    #4. Make your vision their vision too

    This generation is big on transparency and accountability. They love it when their leaders have clear vision and candid manners and let them in on company plans and strategies. Leaving out your millennial employees can quickly demotivate them and curb their excitement and enthusiasm. For successfully motivating millennials, you have to build a relationship based on trust and openness and keep them excited through a clear picture of your targets, triumphs and tribulations.

    #5. Appreciate or disapprove

    Millennials want everything and they want it now. This goes for feedback too. They don’t mind negative feedback, provided it is constructive (no surprises here as even the previous generations ranted about how they long for constructive feedback). So whether you appreciate their work or disapprove of it, do it quickly and constructively. Always remember, patience is not the virtue of the ‘instant gratification netizens’.

    #6. Extracurricular ethical activities

    Millennials are more aware than the most. Thanks to social media, they are aware about all the ecological and social challenges. Also, they have sound humane values. According to Michael Porter, they are looking for a broader social purpose and want to work somewhere that has such a purpose. They are big on volunteering for nature, human and animal rights. Any company that gives them a chance to fulfill their innate need to do noble acts regularly can be sure of their loyalty.

    There are so many volunteering opportunities, find what gives them the most satisfaction and allow them to volunteer at least once in a month or two. However, a word of caution – don’t make them do this on their weekend. Do it on a work day!

    When you know how to tackle the new generation the right way, you will find they are easy to work with and fun too! They will be loyal to the point that they will work overtime to fulfill your goals. And they won’t even ask for extra pay. But to invoke that kind of dedication, companies must be ready to give certain above-mentioned things in return.

    Images: “Millennials word under a magnifying glass to illustrate searching for young people in the new demographic that is tech savvy, young, modern, innovative and into social media/


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Michael Georgiou

Michael Georgiou

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