8 ways to motivate millennials in the workplace - HR Future helps people prepare for the Future of Work and is South Africa's leading print, digital and online Human Resources magazine.

8 ways to motivate millennials in the workplace

While they may be young, the generation known as millennials – those born between 1984 and 2004, between the ages of 13 and 32 – are now firmly entrenched in the workforce.

As opposed to Generations X and Y who came before them, millennials are completely different in terms of what motivates them, what inspires them, and what improves their performance at work.

The problem with this scenario is that bosses, managers and even recruiters of millennials don’t understand these differences, and so don’t know how to get the most out of this new generation of employees. Research conducted by Forbes and Entrepreneur set out to see exactly what makes millennial employees tick. From their findings, we’ve summed up eight ways to motivate them.

1. Give them space

Allowing your millennial employee the freedom and space to do their job using their own approach means they’re more likely to feel creatively fulfilled in their role. This in turn increases their job satisfaction – making it more likely they’ll stay with your company longer and be someone who adds real value to your operations.  Of course, this kind of autonomy comes with a certain level of trust the employee needs to earn, but if you make the right hiring decision in the first place, this trust should be fairly easy to establish.

2. Don’t micromanage

Micromanaging doesn’t work well for most employees – but especially not for millennials. If they’re “hyper-supervised” on every task they need to do, they’ll soon feel stifled and disempowered. This can lead to them losing confidence in their abilities, making them a less dynamic and motivated employee in the long run. Rather, give them the support they need and clear goals for where they’re going, but then step back and have faith that they can do the job in their own way.

3. Allow flexibility

This can be done in a number of different ways to suit your particular organisation, but the general goal is to let your millennial employee’s job fit in with their lifestyle. Of course there are limits to this, but allowing for things like flexible work hours, working from home or having flexible and changing roles can help them feel less stifled, while still setting limits and boundaries.

4. Give them feedback

While millennials may want freedom, they also want feedback on how they’re doing. This has led to some criticism of the generation being too needy, there’s definitely a balance you can achieve as their manager or HR supervisor. Regular feedback sessions where you evaluate how well they’re fulfilling their roles and responsibilities are important, but so is immediate informal feedback. Simple things like saying “thank you”, “well done” or giving honest constructive feedback can make all the difference in keeping them motivated.

5. Be real

Millennials can sniff out inauthenticity a mile away, so they respond best to managers who don’t try to pretend to be someone they’re not. The golden rule here is not to try and fit in with them, but rather to be ok with the fact that you’re in a different generation. If you’re older and don’t understand their pop culture references, for example, don’t try and pretend that you do.

6. Give them balance

Millennials are an extremely tech-savvy generation, which means they’re highly capable of working anywhere with an internet connection. For this reason, having to sit at their desk in an office can be even less appealing to this generation. A 2012 study of millennials by Griffith Insurance Education Foundation found that they will sacrifice pay for more time off and the ability to work from home. You can also provide them with support in the workplace that encourages a proper work/life balance. For example, providing a company medical aid scheme like Fedhealth means they can access a wellness programme that encourages regular exercise, eating well and that gives them tools to ensure balance in their lives.

7. Give them opportunities to progress

While millennials may be in the less senior roles within your organisation, it’s important that they feel they’re going somewhere. Providing resources like in-house training or sending them to leadership and management conferences are helpful in allowing them to develop their skills and abilities that will allow them to progress.

8. Encourage collaboration

Never before has a generation been so sociable in the workplace, so work with this rather than against it. Think about implementing things like open plan seating and group collaboration areas, and think of how you can assign tasks to teams rather than individuals.

Millennials may be the youngest members of the workforce, but they’re no less important than any other group. By making it a priority to keep them happy and motivated at work, you’ll encourage a more loyal employee. This will also make it more likely that the millennial you hired is dynamic, adds value and works well with others around them.

Provided by Fedhealth.

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