Millennial workers have different motivators than past generations.

Millennial motivators: Engaging the younger demographic

Management styles are heavily influenced by the people being managed – and rightly so. To be an effective leader you need to mould your leadership styles to fit your team. If you don’t, you risk creating an unresponsive workforce.

This is exactly why millennial workers and their motivators have received so much attention over the past few years. Businesses everywhere are looking at what management styles do and don’t work for this generation of workers.

Millennial workers require a shakeup to old leadership styles.Millennial workers require a shakeup of old leadership styles.

The need-to-knows about millennials

The focus on millennials is by no means unwarranted. Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that by 2020 this demographic will make up 50 per cent of the international workforce.

Born between 1980 and 2000, these professionals already have a strong influence across the business world. And as they begin to claim more of a prominent space, there is more data available to help analyse and understand their defining traits and workplace functions.

PwC set out to do just that in their report Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace. In order to understand what motivates millennials the study first identified some defining traits for these professionals.

The focus on millennials is by no means unwarranted.

Millennial workers tend to have an acute distaste for rigid organisational structures. As such, they crave freedom and flexibility in the workplace – this means autonomy and new approaches to work location policies. However, despite their need for freedom, they do crave consistent communication from superiors.

They also put an extreme focus on career advancement. Unlike older generations, they want the path to promotion to be much more expedited and they want to be a part of businesses that focus on their professional development as a whole.

Motivating your millennials

Of course, understanding these defining traits means little until they are used to inform action. Motivating a team of millennials isn’t all that difficult, in fact there are a few easy steps you can take to focus on improving engagement levels with your younger employees such as:

Committing to consistent feedback: Communication is important to the success of any workplace. However, when managing millennials this importance becomes even more heightened – especially in terms of feedback.

This demographic wants to have a consistent and clear line of communication with their managers. In fact, only 1 per cent of of millennial respondents in the PwC report thought that feedback was unimportant. Make sure, as a leader that you are consistently communicating with these team members.

Communication is a driving force for millennials and their engagement.Communication is a driving force for millennials and their engagement.

Allowing more flexibility: Many companies are already making a move toward more flexible working conditions. Whether it is a work from home policy or some new open work spaces in the office, millennials want more options when it comes to where and how they work.

This also translates to less micro-management by leaders. Millennials workers want to have the freedom to get work done in their own way. As long as they are ultimately achieving their ends goals, leaders should allow this kind of flexibility.

Making professional development a priority: Millennials put extremely high value on career progression. They actively seek out new skills and look for employers that offer development opportunities. In fact, PwC found that when millennials were asked to pick their preferred method of reward personal learning and development outranked financial incentives.

In order to be the most effective leader possible you need to have a deep understanding of what motivates your team on a day-to-day basis. With millennials becoming the predominant players in the workplace, understanding the qualities mentioned above is more important than ever.

Interested in putting together a learning and development programme that motivates your millennial team members? Contact ICML today to get started!

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