Young people need to be asked what matters, not to be told what matters.
An estimated 80 million young Americans, ranging roughly between the ages of 18 and 35, make up our millennial generation. They are expected to make up 36 percent of the U.S. workforce by next year and nearly half by 2020. It’s not surprising, then, that companies and organization and businesses want to understand this generation–who grew up in a world vastly different from that of their elders–and what motivates them.
Millennials’ reputation isn’t the best, unfortunately–they’re known for their job hopping and impatience with bureaucracy. But there’s plenty to feel good about, too. They’re extremely well educated and culturally diverse, for example, and they know what they want. Some think that the best way to win over millennials is with flexible work packages, higher salaries and great benefits. But what truly motivates them runs deeper than you might expect.
Innovation. According to a study done by the consulting firm Deloitte, 78 percent of millennials are strongly influenced by how innovative a company is. This generation is interested in innovation and growth and looking for ways to progress quickly. They seek out companies that offer opportunities for growth and creative expression, that build or stretch their expertise.
Autonomy. Millennials don’t want to be micromanaged but to work in autonomy and independence. They need to feel respected for their capabilities and competencies and to know we trust them enough to make decisions. They tend to leave organizations where they don’t feel they have independence or autonomy.
Opportunity to sharpen their skills. This generation is motivated by opportunities to grow their competenceand sharpen their skills.A top reason millennials give for leaving an organization is a lack of professional development opportunities. Their appetite for continual learning is something that truly motivates them.
Leveraging technology. Millennials are very tech savvy; they know how to utilize and understand technology more than any other generation.If you can tap into their intuitive knowledge and leverage it, you can motivate them into being more productive and effective.
Collaboration. According to a study, 74 percent of millennials ranked a collaborative work culture as the first or second characteristic they look for in a job. Millennials will leverage their genius in social networking to collaborate and communicate so they can excel at their jobs.
Flexibility. Gone are the days of the nine-to-five work day. Millennials are motivated by flexibility in where they work and how they get their work done, and they want time to spend out of the office. They grew up on the Internet and know how to multitask and get work done from wherever they are, and they expect their location at any moment to matter less than what they’re accomplishing.
Instant gratification. The baby boomers were accustomed to waiting for titles and financial rewards, but this generation expects to be incentivized now. Even if it’s an incremental scale, frequent promotions and raises are important.
Meaning. Millennials want to know that there is a larger mission and purpose they’re aligning themselves with. Meaningful work is the primary definition millennials have for career success. They’re interested in answering the question for themselves of why the organization does what it does, not just how and what. They want to know they are genuine contributors to a cause or organization.
To motivate our millennials is not difficult–and once you understand their motivation you can get them more engaged and involved. And once you gain their buy-in, they give you their best.