Improving your brand by empowering your Millennials
Millennials were once thought to be the generation of entitlement, but it turns out that as the group matures, they’re the most philanthropic in history, are tremendously responsible (preferring energy efficient homes, for example), and have more education than their predecessors.
It’s interesting that a picture has now emerged of this generation, and knowing the weaknesses of this group can strengthen your organization. For example, being digitally wired has literally re-wired the brains of Millennials, and studies show that attention spans have diminished, yet the ability to effectively multi-task is higher than other generations.
To find out how to keep this group of employees motivated, we reached out to Kris Duggan, CEO and Co-Founder of BetterWorks, a company that provides gamification and social engagement solutions to help companies influence and measure user behavior. He’s not only an adjunct professor at Singularity University, he is deeply entrenched in the startup world, living and working amongst Millennials every day.
In his own words below, Duggan offers six fresh ways to keep Millennials motivated:
1. Show them how they fit into the bigger picture
Instead of starting at a specific goal and figuring out who will contribute to it, empower millennials and individuals who are doing the work by painting a picture of how their progress relates to the bigger goal at hand. For example, with BetterWorks new Org Chart, you can instantly see what an entire team or department is working on, their current progress, and how people are working together to achieve one goal. This adds a layer of transparency to workflow.
2. Think like them
So, in a nut shell: focus on tomorrow. No matter how many perks you offer to millennials, they simply did not join your company with the intention of staying. In fact, while they might be temporarily invested, they care much more about how their current role will impact their long-term career objectives. To motivate millennials to do their job now, you have to think in the short term too. Don’t entice exclusively with long-term goals, but instead come up with daily, weekly and monthly goals that are attainable for employees even if they have a short-term mindset.
3. Explain why
Say goodbye to the day where your employees do something just because you asked them to. Millennials must understand why. Your job as a manager is to connect the dots, and by explaining why, you begin to show workers how doing something your suggested way is vital to its completion and success. Providing context behind every day tasks also explains, over time, exactly why their role within the organization matters. This in turn validates the hard work they do each day, which is motivational in itself.
4. Create a team structure that supports constant feedback
Millennials thrive on a continuous stream of feedback and iteration, both from peers and managers. Typical annual performance reviews are simple not enough for this generation. When you think about growing your team and placing particular people in leadership positions, consider how this structure supports an ongoing feedback loop. It’s impossible for millennials to rely solely on one manager for feedback, so build your team around this type of communication, and find the technology that lets you communicate feedback in real time.
5. You can set the goals, but let them figure out how to get there
Millennials require explicit guidance and direction, and crave a structure where objectives and goals are clearly defined. But at the same time, clear structure can backfire when millennials are being micromanaged into doing something a certain way. Shift from a manager to a coach after the goals are set. Employees can achieve the same results by taking an entirely different path. Giving them the freedom to think through the process independently, and determine how they plan to achieve goals, is more motivating than micromanagement. Get out of their way.
6. Don’t Lose to Google, or Siri, or Their Friends
Transparency into your company’s long term-plan and how you plan to get there has always been important, but this generation demands the details. What can you tell them that a Google search or gossip with their peers won’t? Millennials are more prone to a “grass is greener” attitude, especially when a simple “how much should an entry-level employee make in XYZ industry” takes 1 second to type in on the Google search bar. The more transparency you can provide in sensitive areas like salary and how to achieve a promotion, the more motivated they’ll be to trust you and not turn elsewhere for reassurance and motivation.