Millennials are surpassing Boomers as the largest population in the workforce. And they have many Boomers scratching their heads about how to motivate them. The Incentive Marketing Association’s Performance Improvement Council offers these 8 tips in its just-released white paper on the topic. And look for a joint survey by Prevue and the Incentive Research Foundation on this topic and more in our September/October issue.
1. Provide context for projects and the part they play in the overall effort. If Millennials feel the task is important, they feel important.
2. Tie project rationale to their future success. When reviewing a task or requirement, explain what’s in it for them, and how it will help their advancement. Connecting the dots will help Millennials get through the drudgery of the menial tasks that are part of every job.
3. Play to their strengths. Use Millennials’ tech skills to achieve project results more efficiently.
4. Provide immediate feedback, praise and criticism. A traditional 6-month or annual review will not get the job done. If it’s not your style to provide feedback in the moment, set up weekly check-in meetings to review their performance and provide ongoing direction.
5. Give honest recognition. Acknowledge positive behaviors and results achieved. Also, consider using peer 360 feedback to give Millennials a more complete picture of their performance. Millennials are accustomed to frequent recognition and respond positively to it—just make sure it’s earned.
6. Give them as much ownership as possible. It isn’t always possible to hand off an entire project, but they will be more invested in their work if you can at least give them a part that they can call their own.
7. Allow for life/work balance. After watching their workaholic parents sacrifice too much for work, Millennials are determined to balance their responsibilities.
8. Treat them as individuals. Remember that Millennials are still individuals, and that their generational grouping is only one filter by which they view the world. They have also been shaped by their families, religion or belief systems, education, economic situation, technology, culture and world history.