How To Keep Millennials At Workplace Motivated?
“If ever there was a mobilising energy, it is the millennial generation.”
— Jill Stein
Millennials – those who were born anytime between 1981 and 1996 – have emerged as the dominant demographic in the global working population. At present, around 2 out of every 3 millenials are employed on a full time-basis – and by the end of 2025, more than 75% of the workforce across the world will be made up of millenials. As the older generation gradually retires, the baton is seamlessly being passed to the millenials, particularly in terms of providing leadership and handling responsibilities. On average, close to 74% millenials work for 40+ hours in a week, with many of them working for even 50 hours or more.
There is a point of disconnect here, however. While there is no scope for doubting the importance of millennials in the workforce – question marks remain over their motivation & engagement levels. Less than 30% millenials are actively engaged with their work, with boredom, lack of motivation and stress being some of the prime causes for the disengagement. Often dubbed as the ‘job-hopping generation’, millenials are nearly 3X more likely to change jobs within a period of 12 months, than people from any other age group. Given the skillset, savviness and knowledge that millennials bring to the table, it is vital for organisations to chalk out plans to keep them happily engaged and motivated – so that job-satisfaction remains high, and individual goals are kept in sync with company objectives. Over here, we will briefly look at some factors that keep working millennials motivated:
Flexibility Is A Valuable Currency For Millennials
Millenials have a very clear idea about things like how, when and from where they can perform at their best. According to a recent Deloitte report, close to 68% of millennials look to maintain proper work-life balance through flexible work scheduling and even remote working. Organisations need to create and maintain work environments that are flexible, and offer workers the opportunity to work from home (as and when required). Of course, having clearly specified working hours is important – but the millennials should not feel overburdened by rules.
Millennials Love To Take Up Responsibility
A sense of purpose, and the vision of contributing towards overall organisational objectives, typically get millennials going. For them, doing mundane tasks over and over again (even when the paychecks are good enough) is generally not appealing. Rather they are more interested in adding value to what they are assigned with, and being valued for their work. Companies need to have a clear idea of the direction in which they are going – and communicate about the same to employees (particularly, the millennials). Events like Quarterly Review Meetings, or QRMs, are invaluable in this regard. When millennials feel they are fitting in the bigger picture or the long-term growth plans, motivation levels automatically go up.
Technology Builds Motivation For Millennials
While at work, close to 43% of millennials regularly use real-time messaging applications for professional purposes. 1 out of 3 millennials use data-sharing and/or storage tools. In general too, technology helps in making workplace collaborations almost 55% more effective – while the productivity of employees can go up by upto 60%. Unlike their predecessors, millennials are familiar with digital tools, solutions and technologies – and the onus is on their employers to avoid being stuck with overly manual, repetitive processes. After all, millennials are the ‘digital natives’, – and when they are allowed to display their tech-savviness, there is a definite feel-good factor.
Regular Meetings & Feedback Sessions Make A Difference
Something as simple as weekly performance review meetings can pull up the overall engagement and motivation levels of 45% of millennials. However, in reality, only around 20% people actually get the chance to attend such meetings. These feedback sessions allow millennials to get and share valuable inputs about work, connect with their teams as well as their managers/reporting authorities. When there is a chance to discuss & resolve problems promptly, there is no gap in communication, and a clear roadmap for career progression is available, the millennial mindset is impacted positively.
Note: For nearly 78% millennials, being appreciated and recognised for good work boosts job-loyalty levels.
Seamless Career Progression Matters For Millennials In A Big Way
When a millennial feels that his/her organisation does not really care about personal likes, dislikes and development opportunities, motivation levels are bound to nosedive. A recent report revealed that over 73% of millennials are of the opinion that their workplaces are worried only about organisational growth. Companies have to understand that millennials do not like to remain stagnant in their careers – and providing them with ample opportunities to grow & move ahead simply has to be a priority. Lack of scope for personal development is often perceived as a roadblock for millennials – and not surprisingly, it is one of the biggest causes of employee turnover. At the end of the day, millennials are interested in ‘growing their careers’, and not just ‘holding a job’.
The Importance Of Incremental Job Titles & Designations
This is a direct follow-up from the previous point. Unlike the older Baby Boomers, the Gen Y population is not prepared to wait several years for getting a promotion at work. With career advancement being a prime consideration for them, organisations should ideally consider creating ‘in-between designations’ for these millennials. Such titles would provide validation for the hard work, skills and expertise that the millennials are bringing to the table (promotions are also important for social validations (i,e., as personal achievements). Such ‘gradual’ career growth would offer the employees incremental challenges, greater experience, and more professional growth opportunities in future.
Note: The hard-working millennials are, generally, more than ready to prove that they deserve the additional incentives and promotions.
It’s Not Only About The Work; For Millennials, Social Awareness Is Vital
Millennials love working for organisations that, they feel, are making a conscious effort to make the world a better place to live in. Unfortunately, this is not often the case – with only ~46% of millennials thinking that their leaders are committed towards societal improvement. In fact, environmental degradation is a prime point of concern for both millennials and Gen Z-ers. In such a scenario, companies can make a difference by having dedicated CSR/community service plans in place – and highlight their sustainability policies. For many millennials, being able to help the needy is more important than just a pay hike. To keep these people motivated, workplaces have to understand & respect what they care for.
Honest, Transparent Communications At Work Hold The Key
For keeping millennials motivated and invested in their work, the importance of transparent communications is immense. When they are made a part of the business journey as a whole – millennials feel more accepted as ‘part of the family’. As a result, interest in long-term organisational well-being goes up too. The traditional ‘top-down structure’ at work generally does not sit well with millennials. Rather, they prefer to be involved in important decision-making processes and discussions. Companies should ideally keep millennials in the loop about what the organisational plans are, the major successes, failures & challenges, and all other factors that can have a direct/indirect effect on their careers. Workplace-loyalty goes up significantly for 85% of millennials, when corporate communications are honest & transparent.
There Are Other Factors At Work Too
Millennials appreciate the value of social connections at work. By fostering effective teamwork, companies can build engagement among these employees. The Gen Y population also prefers collaboration through different channels – given their proficiency with the latest technology. Diversity & inclusion is yet another important motivation and confidence-building factor. Finally, the need for offering competitive pay packages cannot be glossed over either. 93% of millennials consider finances as the most important factor while selecting a job (with job-security, vacations and flexibility also being key considerations).
In the United States, the annual costs associated with millennial turnover figures is well in excess of $29 billion. For companies, millenials are valuable resources – and the fact that ~61% of people from this age bracket are open to new opportunities is certainly a point of concern for their present employers. The key lies in rethinking the retention policies and identifying the factors that affect the motivation, performance & emotional connection of millennials, and framing company policies accordingly. It’s all about providing the ‘right’ personal and professional development opportunities, giving the right direction and guidance, so that a ‘win-win’ scenario is maintained at all times.
When millenials feel valued in their respective organisations, they can boost innovation by almost 9% and workplace agility by nearly 10% – taking overall performance & productivity to an altogether higher level. You can’t miss out on that, right?