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Are You Motivating Your Millennials?

by Kevin Robert Crone

December 17, 2014

Traditional motivators established by the baby boom and the “ME Generation” are crumbling as millennials show their influence more every year and become the engine of the economy in terms of: where they work, what they do to earn income, what they spend it on, and what motivates them.

They’ve taken it on the chin as a result of the worst economic downturn in history and continue to fare worse in its wake with fewer jobs, higher unemployment, curbed expectations and changed milestones: putting off marriage, home and auto ownership and parenting; while they double up on education and replace the desire for things with a desire for experiences, sharing, and their own community of peers.

The result is a generation living very differently than their parents were at similar ages. Companies and brands that insist on tying their strategies to: traditional values, outdated rites of passage, and historic communication methods are missing the mark, and potentially alienating the most powerful brain trust, creative force, and economic engine on the planet today. They may individually be worse off but collectively they are our future.

Employers that don’t learn to adapt to this new reality, in what people value, and how they think, may not survive, and almost definitely will not thrive or protect themselves from disruptive technology and global competition.

Millennials infographicMillennials respond differently because their experiences and circumstances are different. More are living at home; they have greater educational debt, learn quicker, collaborate better, know more, and are more technology adept.

So how do we get the most out of their skills and knowledge, their energy and their keen desire to grow, learn, experience and contribute?

Here are three ideas to consider:

1. Vision
Are you comfortable discussing your corporate, product and cultural vision based on your corporate values and mission? Have you asked the millennial cohort within your company and within your customer base their opinion on what they think the vision is as executed and what it should be?

Do your millennials know how you really think you add value to your customers and where you or your competition might add more?

Have you asked them to comment on how far their view of the reality is from the vision? Have you asked how they think they might contribute to making it specific and actionable?

Have you ever talked about the roadblocks you are facing and sought their input on ways to get around these challenges?

They will feel more a part of your vision when you discuss it with them and allow them to question it and contribute to its formation and execution.

2. Culture
Is your culture millennial friendly, diversity friendly, collaborative friendly? Have you ever openly and frankly sought your team’s input as to whether they believe the company culture is aligned to the company’s vision and values?

Would you be comfortable asking them what culture they think will best deliver this vision? And what signs will indicate whether it is working or not? Can your employees comment anonymously on your company’s and their department’s culture? Do they believe their input will be heard?

Millennials do not necessarily know the impact their actions or inactions have on others including: when they make or break a promise, give support to another, show up late, or fail to prepare for a meeting. They don’t necessarily know how they affect the culture they are in.

Help them understand how a culture is formed and the role they can play.

JP Casino, Marketing Strategist, our insight interview this week, believes the key to establishing the right culture for millennial development is, “Creating positive experiences every day, and treating people the way I want to be treated!”

3. Rewards
Intrinsic rewards, feedback and success celebration are usually far more effective in motivating than extrinsic rewards. Do your Millennials feel their work is valued and they’re part of an important team? Millennials especially need to understand how they connect to others and how their work contributes to the end result. They’ll be more motivated when they understand the importance of their individual and their team’s collective contribution. The focus should be on the work, the process and its contribution, rather than titles and hierarchy. It should include a discussion on what part of it gives them the most joy or satisfaction, what resources they need, and the benefits it will deliver to them, the organization, and the community you serve. This helps them connect the dots between each step and see the importance of their contributions.

Young people are our greatest asset, and they’re the future; you, your competitors, and your customers are going to rely on.

Treated right, they are inspired, motivated, energetic and great team contributors that can be courageous and bold, bringing new insights and skills to your toughest challenges.

JP Casino leads a digital marketing team that needs the skills of millennials. With over 14 years of experience across consumer and B2B brands, JP has learned what works in the millennial market place both as a team leader and as a marketer.

He understands millennials and what motivates them. He markets to them, works with them, and relies on them for ideas, insights, energy and execution. He believes in managing them the way he would have wanted to be managed and he’s young enough that he remembers what it is like.

To hear his thoughts in his own words click here.

JP Casino

He believes his route to success is through hiring young people who are well versed in mobile, visual and social media, and are enthusiastic, and passionate about how they’re making an impact internally, and externally.

Then he builds a culture that helps these young millennials understand that their work and development is both critical and valued, and what they need to learn to maximize their contribution and what they get from their work.

Every day at Dale Carnegie, we’re blessed to work with some of the best Millennials in Canada. We see what motivates them and where they’re challenged. They’re unique and if we’re going to get the best they have within them, we need to appeal to what motivates them and build a culture that enables them to thrive.

Together we’re on a journey to find the shortest and surest route to accelerated growth, profit, and prosperity.

If you would like to hear the Insights of Canada’s Top Leaders in Talent Development click here and every two weeks we’ll send you their insights in their own words.

Best Success!

Kevin R. Crone, President, Dale Carnegie Training®
Founder of Accelerated Talent Development, Performance and Profits.
Contact me at 905-826-7300 x 328 or krcrone@dalecarnegie.ca


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