Different Ways to Motivate the Millennial Workforce
How Are Millennials Different?

What happens when younger workers don’t share the same values and beliefs about workplace success? Millennials have different workplace values and definitions of success.

Millennials aren't interested in time-honored traditions or “the way things have always been done.” Rather, they’re single-mindedly focused on what it takes to get ahead to reach their perceived career destination.

This group shuns past definitions of success: climbing the company ladder and earning the rewards that come with greater responsibility. The company ladder, in their view, is irrelevant.

Mature workers and Boomers in managerial and leadership positions struggle with these differing values and beliefs, wondering how to motivate their younger colleagues. If promotions, raises and bonuses fail to motivate, then what does the trick?

We can identify several differences in values. The new generation of workers has:
  1. A work ethic that no longer respects or values 10-hour workdays
  2. An easily attained competence in new technologies and a facility to master even newer ones with little discomfort
  3. Tenuous to nonexistent loyalty to any organization
  4. Changed priorities for lifetime goals achievable by employment
Younger workers view work as “something you do,” anywhere, any time. They communicate 24/7 and expect real-time responses. The rigidity of set work hours seems unnecessary and even unproductive in the information age.

To younger workers, success isn't defined by how many hours one spends at a desk. Success is defined not by rank or seniority, but by what matters to each person individually. Younger workers want to cut to the chase and define their true value. They don’t want to be paid for time; they want to be paid for their services and skills.

For younger employees with working spouses and children, work-life balance and flexible conditions have greater priority. Is someone who arrives at 9:30 a.m. necessarily working less hard than those who arrive at 8:30 a.m.? Differences in generational attitudes must not interfere with progress and productivity.

Newer workers learn “on demand,” which to Boomers means they just want to “wing it,” figuring things out as they go. Gen-Y learning is interactive, using the Internet, Wikipedia and blogs. They rely on Google and web searches to find answers.

Gen Y doesn’t hesitate to call a friend or send an email directly to the CEO. They ask questions and get their information instantaneously. They are easily bored by training sessions, manuals and programs that spoon-feed information over time.

Questions to Ask Younger Generations

How can leaders harness Millennials work force’s skills? What is required to lead young people who believe Boomers are outdated and out of touch?

Leaders should ask themselves the following questions:
  1. What do my employees want from their jobs, bosses and work experience?
  2. How do salary, benefits and promotion opportunities affect loyalty?
  3. How do my direct reports define themselves? How do one’s job and the company enter into this equation?
  4. Do my newer workers believe in paying their dues for a given time period, or are they motivated by challenges and self-fulfillment right from the very beginning?
  5. How self-sufficient are my younger workers? Are they still living at home? How much are they committed to their jobs as their only means of support?
For younger generations, the job future has never been more precarious and uncertain. As a leader, one of your primary responsibilities is attracting and retaining employees, especially talented ones. You must learn to put yourself in the younger generations’ shoes, without prejudice or judgment, even though it’s human nature to view them as inexperienced and naive.

Business consultant Cam Marston presents new insights into motivating the Millennial Generation in Motivating the “What’s In It For Me?” Workforce (2007, John Wiley & Sons).

You can learn how to better motivate millennial employees by working with a professional coach. The investment is well worth the reward: your ability to influence the future, your career and your personal-development capabilities.

Are you working in a company where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders better motivate millennial employees? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be more positive about Millennials? Mindful leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a leader who motivates all individuals to achieve their highest potential, flourish at work, experience elevating energy and achieve levels of effectiveness difficult to attain otherwise?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders develop their millennial employees.