The “trophy generation” is often labeled as rebellious, showing an innate distrust of hierarchy, and being prone to job-hopping.
Moreover, millennials are ascribed the characteristic of inconsistency and contradiction: both jaded and optimistic; money-hungry, but don’t want to work just for the sake of making money; appreciate job-security, but are not looking into making their life’s work out of a single job…
Unique and different compared to generations that preceded them, and now comprising over 40% of today’s workforce, millenials necessitate fresh leadership capabilities.
This article will help you attract, motivate, and retain millennials by identifying traits that define them, applying fresh leaderships strategies, utilizing recognition as pivotal motivational tool and leveraging modern technology.
A study conducted by Bently University, shows that 25% of leaders find millenials lacking work ethic, while 86% of millenials rate themselves as having high work ethic.
However, millennials have the capacity to become the most productive generation we have ever witnessed, if you only know how to pivot their unique qualities: inexhaustible cognitive talents, finding greater meaning in their job, tech savviness, mindfulness about our society, and a desire to make an impact .
Contrary to common belief that they do not appreciate hierarchy and authority, their upbringing includes high-involvement and parental micromanagement in literary every aspect of life.
Hence, they are accustomed to regular check-ins and continuously receiving work-related feedback.
TIP: Ensure you clearly set expectations and provide instructions how to achieve the expected level of performance.
Always provide a clear pathway to success and guide them to a win by specifying action steps as well as sharing the metrics that will be used to benchmark their performance. For instance, if it takes a year for a Salesperson to get to the next level, ensure you state that clearly early on. It does not help if you allow them to think one can get there in few months.
Millennials have much higher expectations for communication, recognition, and success, due to the technology world they inhabit as well as their upbringing.
Few indicators that support this:
TIP: Embrace technology by becoming more acquainted with apps and devices they find useful.
Having technology shrewdness is a must as consumer technologies and mobile apps are being overtly utilized in modern-day life.
To most millennials, sharing information is conducted rapidly, real-time, and less formal, as is on any social media. They receive the news from Twitter, get opinions on Blogs, use Facebook and Instagram to share their lives, and expand their professional networks on LinkedIn.
This generation is VISUAL and communicates with pictures. Being creative with visuals can help you get your message across faster and more effectively.
Match their communication style, by sharing stories through videos, instead of a text or email. Create an infographic for communication purposes, or a dynamic leadership board, instead of a dull dashboard.
Millenials will always opt for meaningful jobs. But what does that mean?
They must understand how you are helping social challenges, and how they contribute toward that vision.
Be innovative in reinforcing your mission and how they make positive impact into the society.
For instance, have you created jobs in a new market?; How are you contributing to social causes and nonprofits?; Do you have donation or volunteer program in place?
As a result of their everyone-gets-a-trophy upbringing, millennials are said to expect praise, solely for ‘showing up’ i.e. doing the jobs they are hired to do.
Praise them for meeting and exceeding objectives even a bit.
However, be careful not to trivialize the recognition. They should not be rewarded for simply meeting minimum job requirements. Figure out which key activities and milestones are leading indicators of over-achievement and celebrate the progress made along the way.
You do not need formal events to provide recognition or wait until an accomplishment is analyzed and confirmed – it must be given timely.
An objective data-based system helps set thresholds and automate the process of alerting people to key events. Millenials LOVE audience. Get full power out of the recognition you provide by ensuring it is public and visible to everyone. The more channels through which you celebrate, the better.
Mind this: Recognition loses value when perceived as non-fair and subjective.
Be very clear in explaining what it takes to get ahead, and what specific activities need be complete to receive recognition. Define metrics, minimum standards, and define ‘over-achievement’. Once they are clarified, ensure you provide consistent, fair and predictable recognition. This often requires an objective data-based system that tracks metrics predictably.
When thinking about leading millennials, consider the following:
Discovering what makes millennials tick and learning to appreciate their unique potential, is the first step in motivating peak performers.
With minor adjustments to your leadership style, proactive communication and recognition, and investments in sophisticated technology YOU will unlock the potential this generation has to contribute to your company success.