While there are many popular critiques about millennials, the one inarguable fact is that they are committed and motivated, especially when it comes to their careers.
This can be a good thing for a business since it can lead to a workforce full of go-getters and self-starters. But it can also mean reining in employees from time to time. Employers must simply find the balance between the two.
Here are six ways employers can leverage the enthusiasm of millennials in the most productive way.
A common cliche about millennials is that they want everything handed to them. Not so. Millennials enjoy being challenged—the more difficult the goal, the greater sense of accomplishment they’ll have from attaining it. And when a millennial has a complex, long-term project that requires their attention, they won’t quit until they’re satisfied with the end product.
2. Give Them Structure
While millennials want an overall flexible environment—for example, no stringent schedule and the ability to work remotely—they still need a strong organizational framework. It’s important for a millennial to know where he or she falls in the company hierarchy and what is expected of him or her. Having clear goals allows millennials to know exactly where their efforts should be focused.
3. Keep Things Interesting for Them
Stagnation is a millennial’s worst enemy. If they aren’t regularly learning new skills or expanding their knowledge, they’ll become restless and, in turn, less productive. Give them opportunities for professional development and, if possible, try not to consistently ask them to work on tedious assignments. Millennials enjoy a dynamic workplace.
4. Talk to Them
Millennials love feedback, both from peers and supervisors. Feedback gives a millennial insight into their strengths and weaknesses and shows them where they can improve, which is a big part of professional development. Hearing an outside perspective allows millennials to determine if they are prioritizing their time and effort effectively or if they’re just spinning their wheels.
5. Listen to Them
Feedback cannot be a one-way street, however—it must be a feedback loop. Millennials are comfortable about voicing their opinions and concerns, but, most importantly, they need to feel as if these opinions and concerns are taken into consideration. A millennial is much more willing to dedicate themselves to an employer who demonstrates it values what they have to say.
6. Offer Them Meaningful Work
A recurring theme in this post has been how much millennials value deriving meaning from their jobs; it's crucial employers recognize millennials want to feel as if their work has made an impact on the world. Millennials will work past the point of exhaustion if they’re confident their effort has benefited those around them.
As you consider how best to motivate the millennials in your workforce, consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. At the apex is self-actualization. Self-actualization is the need to reach one’s full potential, the desire to accomplish everything one can. Understanding how important self-actualization is to millennials is critical for employers. If you invest in millennials, they’ll invest in you. And it’s less expensive to keep millennials than to replace them.
Your workforce likely is comprised of more than just Millennials, so how can you keep everyone happy? Download our SlideShare, 8 Tips to Communicate with 4 Generations, to learn how to have a productive multigenerational team.