Innovate To Motivate Millennial Teams

Leading our millennial generation is a skill set all to new from the old management style.

Do you experience team members who hand you a list of vacation day requests?

Call out sick at the first sign of a sniffle, i.e. day you didn’t give them off?

Has your turn over increased since hiring millennials?

Do their feelings get hurt when you make a correction to their work?

Forget everything we thought would incentivize and motivate our team.

We need to completely shift our paradigm around leading millennials in our business.

The framework is completely different.

Most of us have experienced the frustrating aspects of what comes with hiring millennials.

We have not experienced all the gratifying results of their unique working habits.

First things first…

Millennials value experience over ownership all day every day.

They would rather rent their dream house then settle for purchasing a home they qualify for.

Instead of saving for long term financial goals they are thrilled by the opportunity to go on a vacation! This vacation, of course, is filled with all their favorite adventures!

Not to say they won’t save, but their focus is on the here and now.

Millennials value experience over commodity.

Social media has played a huge part in shaping our culture.

Everything in social media content is about the experience of what we are doing right now.

Hence, now taking pictures of every meal and posting them on Instagram for all our friends to see is a way of life.

Our team’s are Instagraming, Facebooking, and Snapchatting all of their moments from interests, meals, get togethers, music etc.

This happens on the regular.

Their experience translates farther than themselves into their friends and family who watch, read, and like their posts.

Due to the influx of social media avenues, all our team member’s perspectives on work are shaped by their comparison of what their peers are experiencing.

No one posts about the vacation they couldn’t take, the Saturday they had to work, or the goal they didn’t hit.

Our team is inundated with utopias of what their peers, friends, and family are experiencing in the work place.

Our employee’s see their friend Susie taking her vacation in Hawaii, and Joe working with a laptop from a coffee shop.

So when their handing us their vacation requests it is simply from this perspective.

We can interpret those vacation requests off as entitled behavior or an opportunity to explore what incentivizes them.

There is an enormous value placed on experience.

This is how we motivate our team members into action!

Create a dynamic working experience that stands out against any other company.

With this equation millennials are sure to output successful results for our company.

Let’s look at what experience motivates them…

Experience is a verb and is defined as: the process of personally observing, encountering, or undergoing something.

An amazing experience involves all five senses. It is intoxicating and overwhelming at once.

The more sensory experiences we intentionally incorporate into our business the more memorable it will be.

Google and many other companies are incorporating this approach with their employees and it’s working.

The millennial is hooked when their sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch are stimulated.

As a result, businesses are getting more creative with their team culture. Some have beverage bars with coffee, tea, and after hour happy hours.

Others have Thai Tuesdays where the entire team is invited to eat a meal.

Many team members love the opportunity to work with music in the background.

Our team members are motivated by face to face interaction and regular feedback.

Millennials are done with the experience and expectation of old school management.

Lead our team by being a mentor to them.

Team members love sharing their personal lives and hearing about ours.  Whether it is the vacation we took or our kids soccer game.

Their personal life and work life are not separate but one.

Millennials are looking to connect with us beyond our professional experience.

More than ever, if we can find tangible ways to give feedback to our team throughout the week the more connection we will build.

They are looking for trusted relationships where they feel their time and efforts are appreciated and matter.

When we carve out one on one time to connect and engage with them their biggest motivator is met.

This is where key conversations need to happen to give feedback.  We can give them clear goals and explain the road map needed to get them where they need to go.

Many times this one on one time is crucial to engage them in the business’s growth.

Millennials need experience contributing to a greater cause.

“Millennial workers are more likely to look for meaning and impact in their work and aren’t satisfied simply punching a clock. Helping them understand their role in a larger plan gives them a clearer sense of purpose,” says Jenna Goudreau  from Forbes article.

When we engage our millennial team members in the process we graph them into our business’s objectives.

We will see them motivated into action when we invest time.

Our teams trust our direction when we have invested our time consistently week after week.

Create a community for our team to be apart of.

If we can build a culture of community, we will have success in retaining and motivating our team into action.

Millennials are seeking avenues for community.

So much of their lives are in touch with technology.

When we provide an avenue for our team to connect we create a space for others to connect and build comradery.

There is not limit to what our teams will achieve when they feel tied to a larger vision making an impact.

Team meals, retreats, activities, and meetings are a great way to get the ball rolling.

Once a quarter  we should organize a team centered event that gets everyone together.  Be amazed at the results.

Millennials want to be apart of a business that gives back.

They are not satisfied with coming to work to fulfill a simple job description.

Philanthropy initiatives have to be at the core of our business to retain millennials and motivate them.

We need to provide community service opportunities, match giving, and/or a way for our customers and business to give back while our team achieves its’ goals.

“According to Unlocking Millennial Talent 2015, a white paper by the Center for Generational Kinetics and Barnum Financial Group, 60% of Millennials said a sense of purpose is part of the reason they chose to work at their current employer.” reported by Harvard Business Review in their article Motivating Millennials Takes More than Flexible Work Policies.  

If we want to recruit, hire, and retain millennials we have to provide an avenue for them to contribute.

Flexibility is the last key ingredient.

Gone are the days of micromanagement.

Businesses who exercise their right to manage this way have the highest turnover rates among the millennial generation.

When our team is motivated to act micromanaging is no longer necessary.

Let’s provide a framework for our team to operate and work with them on the things that matter most.

Flexibility is a key to motivate our team with their schedules.

Millennials are not motivated by monetary gain as much as they are motivated by flexibility in their schedules.

They would rather make less but get to do the things they love the most.

For instance, some businesses are using flexibility within their team member’s schedules as a way of incentivizing them.

If team members hit certain benchmarks on a consistent basis they earn a flex day off.

The results have been staggering.

Millennials who are incentivized with what matters most to them output the greatest results.

Get creative and incentivize our team with flexibility.


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April 7, 2017