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How to Manage and Motivate Millennials

October 2017- Recap of Gabrielle & Brian Bosche of The Millennial Solution, by Tiffany Ellington, Training & Development Specialist, and Shannon Wenger, Manager, Talent Development

Last week members of The Millennial Solution discussed with Apex Systems’ managers how to reach, retain, and engage millennials. Millennials are discussed frequently in today’s businesses because they are the largest part of the workforce, making up 40%. President and Millennial Strategist, Gabrielle Bosche discussed the importance of engaging with millennials so quickly because by 2025, they will become 65% of the workforce.

On average, millennials will have 12 jobs in their lifetime. Right now, there are two main reasons why millennials will leave an organization: 1) they have a poor direct relationship with their manager, and 2) training and development opportunities are not available to enhance their career growth. This generation is deciding within their first six weeks if they are going to stay with the organization, and overall, 65% of millennials are actively looking for employment. So as managers, it is so important to learn and show interest in your employees from day one to positively influence their decision of staying on with your team/organization.

In order to retain and engage your employees, Gabrielle emphasized learning what motivates them. While this is of course not true of all millennial employees, there are six common factors that can be identified as contributing to a millennial’s motivation:

  • Mission
    Millennials are mission driven. Have you set and shared clear expectations for each person on your team? They want to understand how their work impacts the company and makes a difference. Bonus points if your organization provides opportunities for philanthropic involvement!

  • Change
    Millennials like change and will be one of your first group of employees to buy-in to new ideas, but they want to understand the context and reason why. They value speed and efficiency, so don’t be surprised if they are the first to come to the table with new ideas for how to improve a process. It’s important to be open-minded to their ideas, because one of the fastest ways to make a millennial quit is telling them “that’s how we’ve always done things.”

  • Leadership
    Millennials crave leadership. They grew up in a collaborative world where they could communicate their opinion with the click of a button on social media. Leaders should ask informed questions to gather their input when making decisions and give them an opportunity to collaborate on and contribute to solutions.

  • Feedback
    Millennials want immediate and frequent feedback. Managers should consider providing micro-feedback, which are small bits of feedback, at least four times per week. This can be as simple as an email saying “Great job on that proposal,” or stopping by their office to thank them for staying late the day before to meet a deadline. Feedback will help demonstrate you care about their professional growth.

  • Transparency
    Millennials are used to a world where they have information at their fingertips. They aren’t seeking information because they feel entitled to it, but because they want to understand how and why things are done.

  • Mentorship
    Millennials crave mentorship, direction, and a well-defined coaching style. Celebrate and reward members of your staff who are always open to giving advice and acting as an informal mentor to others.

We are all motivated by different things, regardless of generation! Understanding what motivates your team is important to building great relationships and creating a work environment where employees are productive, successful, and fulfilled.

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