6 Ways to Motivate and Retain Millennials

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6 Ways to Motivate and Retain Millennials

By 2030, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that Millennials will comprise approximately 75% of the American workforce. The Millennial generation, born between 1980 and 1995, equal about 80 million Americans and are those in our workplaces between the ages of 20 and 35.

Millennials are praised for being the most educated and culturally-diverse generation of our time, but with the praise also comes stereotyping. Millennials have earned the stigma of being "job hoppers" because of the lack of appreciation they have for traditional methods of promotion and advancement within an organization; if they don’t see enough opportunity for growth and advancement, they will leave.  They are also labeled as having “no work ethic,” because they work in different ways, leveraging technology and the flexibility it allows.

As a result, organizations are struggling with how to blend Millennial workplace expectations with established ways of doing business, and how to not only attract but retain and engage top talent from the Millennial generation.

Millennials want more, and they want it sooner. In addition, they want mentors and coaches to help them understand their options and to help facilitate their career growth and presence in an organization. Organizations who respond to these changing workplace expectations will find themselves positioned for greater growth, greater success, and greater longevity in their marketplaces among their competition.

So what are some meaningful ways to motivate and retain Millennials in your organization?  

1. Explain the meaning

Millennials are all about having a purpose for everything they do, including their job. This generation is constantly looking for the meaning and impact in their work; they don’t find satisfaction in just punching a time card. Explain to them the big picture and how they can contribute to the overall plan, giving them a clearer sense of purpose.

2. It's all about helping the community

A comprehensive study by the Pew Research Center in 2010 found that Millennials place a higher priority on helping people in need (21%) than having a high-paying career (15%).

The best way to tackle this is by allowing your employees to form a community outreach committee. They could decide to meet on the weekends to help plant a community garden, or leave work for a morning to clean up a local park.

3. Career progression

Millennials are eager to progress in their careers and do not like the idea of waiting 5+ years to do so. By giving them more responsibility when earned, it will go a long way in more effectively engaging and retaining them.

4. It goes beyond compensation

Employee recognition is constantly evolving in the workplace. Today, it goes way beyond the traditional financial reward for doing a great job. Though employees appreciate a financial reward, it’s a short term solution. Employees need more then constructive criticism and positive affirmation. They not only want to see they are doing a great job, but they also want to feel that they are doing a great job.

Recognize the small and large accomplishments, be genuine, and remember: it’s ok to celebrate what your employees accomplish at work.

5. They love flexibility!

One of the most significant drivers for Millennials is flexibility and a work/life balance. Check out our guide to having a more flexible workplace!

Some ways to keep a workplace flexible include:

  • Late arrival and early leave time options
  • Work from home options
  • Job-sharing options
  • Offering unlimited vacation

6. Opportunity for professional development

Because Millennials want to progress in the workplace and need to feel like they are making an impact, it's best to nurture this desire by providing educational and developmental opportunities.

Sending Millennials to leadership conferences and speaking engagements not only motivates them, but grows their knowledge base and passion for work.

With over half of our current American workforce eligible to retire over the next decade, it’s important that organizations recognize and address the workplace expectations of the Millennial generation, sooner rather than later. 

It's important to know how to communicate with them, how to cultivate relationships with them, and most importantly, how to connect with them–both on a personal, as well as an organizational level.

ERC delivers customized leadership training for all levels of your organization.

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