Skip to main content

Remember this mantra “Do Something That Sets Your Soul on Fire!”

As more Millennials head into the workforce, a lot of older workers – Baby Boomers and Generation X just don’t really understand how to motivate them. The key is understanding that they’re different …. They’re driven by purpose, and satisfaction, not money.

Very different to the Generation X who are motivated by relationship, flexible schedules, office perks like free coffee or lunch, including a discount card, incentives and perks really motivates them, they love to be rewarded for their efforts, free gold class tickets or a weekend away.

Whereas Millennials are all about innovation, ideas and freedom. Millennials are very often misunderstood, they sometimes get a bad reputation and carry labels such as lazy, delusional and unreliable … but the truth be told, is that when they are guided by a leader who ‘gets’ them, the Millennials can be a real asset to any team. Millennials thrive on freedom – they need a framework, but they like being able to come up with ideas on how to bring a particular task or project to life and dislike being micro-managed.

Dare to be different…

Millennials think differently. When they connect with something that they believe has purpose they master it. Sure, they’ll challenge the status quo and they’ll want to throw out the ‘old’ rule book, but they work hard, and the passion that drives them can be an amazing force of productivity.

Millennials want to grow –  personally and professionally – and above all, they want to feel valued. They don’t want to take a back seat, they want to lead, and this can be seen as ‘entitled’ and ‘precocious’. But what it all boils down to is they want to feel like they are making a difference and making an impact, even if it’s a small one.

Albert Einstein said – dare to be different. And this is how you need to think when leading Millennials. They don’t want anyone to try to make them something they are not – and right there is a golden nugget because, after all, conformity is the enemy of innovation! And Millennials are good at solving problems because they come at things differently – they look at all sides, and angles, topside down and downside up … and they’ll see things that sometimes other generations don’t because we’re hooked on a specific ‘way’ of getting things done.

Freedom is being you without anyone’s permission…

Millennials want to make this world a better place and so they perform lots of random acts of kindness. It gives them a sense of purpose, one that they feel proud to share with their family and friends.

Millennials also want to grow, learn and experience the world as fast as they can, this too can come across as ‘brash’ … cocky and aggressive, but it’s also why they are a force to be reckoned with when they are in the right environment.

This younger generation dislikes bureaucracy and distrusts traditional hierarchies and if you have a secretive management team, this is an even bigger distraction for them. Show them how they bring value to the company and be very open about how they can progress their careers within the company. Show them you ‘trust’ them and empower them by giving them responsibilities that will challenge them.

Instead of telling them, show them…

The most important thing to remember about the Millennials on your team is that they can be an incredible asset to your organisation… If you take the time to understand them and show them, rather than tell them what to do. No one likes to be told what to do but with Millennials this is even more so, because they want to be appreciated, and not just feel like they are a ‘number’.

They are natural innovators, with an expansive knowledge and proficiency with technology they can be extremely useful in any team. Allow them to dream, focus on the big picture – this brings out the best in them because it allows them not to just focus on the task at hand, but on their contribution to the organisation as a whole.  This is particularly why sharing the vision; a mission and company strategy motivates them – it also allows them to formulate their own goals.

Invest in your Millennials and you will be surprised by the outcomes, be a mentor for them, give them guidance and also ask them for their feedback and input to bring to life whatever it is that you are working on. Be open and flexible to change, allow them to share their insights. Millennials like attention, flexibility, and growth. Feed these needs, and your business will thrive with serious productivity!

Provide regular encouragement and feedback…

They respond well to reinforcement because they find great value in being noticed and having their efforts recognised. Taking these steps in the beginning and reinforcing them periodically will not only boost your outcomes, but also hopefully produce some new, innovative ideas for your business.

You do not have to make huge changes to engage and motivate a Millennial. Just a few minor adjustments can make all the difference.