Tips for Motivating Millennials in the Workplace


No matter whether you’re running a small business with just one or two, or a handful of employees, or a big corporation with hundreds, it’s important to continually find ways to motivate your staff members. Engaged, positive, keen-to-work teams will not only get more done each day, but will interact better with your customers and/or suppliers, come up with more innovative solutions to problems, see opportunities before your competitors, and help you save money.

When it comes to motivating millennial employees though, many entrepreneurs aren’t sure where to start. If you’re in this position, read on for some tips you can follow today to help engage your younger workers more.

Determine What it is They Really Want (It Could Be Different to What You Think)

For starters, it’s important to note that if you really want to motivate your millennial workers, it pays to actually ask them what they want, rather than guessing. For many employers, the things which are important to their younger team members are different to what they think; it’s definitely not all about money or promotions for this generation.

Plus, because millennials have grown up at a time when almost unlimited product choices and customized experiences are the norm, they like to be seen as individuals, and not just treated like everybody else. As such, asking each of your younger employees what it is they wish for in the workplace works well.

Chat to your staff members about their desired perks, rewards, and other types of human resources strategies. For many, they want to have the chance to have their ideas heard and actioned; they want to feel like their work has meaning and that they’re making a difference; and they want to be able to have some work/life balance.

To help with this then, look at ways you can go about thanking your employees regularly for their efforts, and handing out awards for not just results but also effort; make charitable contributions (through fundraising, time spent with not-for-profit organizations, and the like) a part of the company’s annual goals; and get employees as involved in decision making and problem solving as possible.

Consider also purchasing tailored thank-you gifts for top workers; giving out perks such as additional time off, parking spaces, free meals, massages, gym access and the like; and making it easier for them to choose their own hours or work locations, at least for some days each month.

Asking your employees what benefits they’d like to receive will not only keep them more engaged, motivated and inspired, plus productive to boot, but will also enable you to optimize your resources. By spending money on thethings workers really want, and not on the things they don’t care about, you will ensure money is utilized on strategies which actually get results.

Invest in Their Development

Next, it’s also a good idea to invest in the development of your millennial staff members, because they are typically very focused on not just furthering their careers, but also learning new things, developing new skills, and gaining more experience in fields they’re interested in. The more development opportunities you can provide, the better to motivate your team.

Again, talk to your employees about what might work best, but consider things like giving them the chance to attend key industry and networking events; create employee exchange programs; pair them up with more senior workers who can mentor them; bring in speakers to talk about specific topics; run training programs; or provide them with access to a library of resources such as free books, magazines, white papers, and reports.

If you want to go one step further to invest in the careers of your millennial workers, and help develop them into your firm’s future leaders, think about paying, either fully or partially, for them to complete educational programs, such as an online MBA degree.

Mobility is Important

Lastly, keep in mind that mobility is really important to younger workers too. While they of course are interested in moving up the corporate ladder and earning more as time goes on, they also like to have the chance to make lateral career moves if they believe that working in other roles will give them more satisfaction and overall levels of happiness.

It is worthwhile making it easier for your millennial team members to change positions internally then. This will motivate them to work harder, make them more engaged, and ensure you don’t keep losing employees because they have to quit their jobs in order to find a new challenge.

Instead of worrying that enabling staff to explore multiple paths will leave you in the lurch, consider the fact that giving them support and varied opportunities can actually end up providing you with workers who understand the business from all angles, and who can therefore solve problems more quickly and creatively.