How Do You Motivate a Millennial


How do you motivate a Millennial?

A. That’s a great question, and it assumes all Millennials are driven by the same motivators, which likely is not the case. It may seem that way if you read the popular literature or work with Millennials. Consider this: what satisfies Millennials in the workplace might seem trivial or, in some cases, over-the-top to members of other generations, but to Millennials; to anyone in any generation, it’s about what we need and how our needs are satisfied. If you are a Boomer and you are used to merit-based rewards, you expect a raise when your sales are up, when your production is high, when you have met your goals. Your need is to be recognized for achievement. A raise satisfies that need. When you are a Millennial and you have been rewarded all your life for participating whether or not you won, you expect that your employer is going to reward you for coming to work and completing tasks. When this doesn’t happen, your need to be rewarded for the work you have done is not satisfied, and you are confused, perhaps angry, and perhaps angry enough to leave your job. Boomers on the other hand were taught to wait their turn, and so they do. This confounds Millennials as much as the seemingly over-zealous expectations of Millennials cause Boomers to think that Millennials are expecting too much, too soon.

What to do? If you are Millennial, take a look around your workplace. What are people being rewarded for? Is it for showing up, or excelling? If it is excelling, find out from your supervisor what it takes to excel. Seek out ways to meet the expectations of excellence – a mentor, training classes, more schooling. If you are a member of one of the older generations, recognize that starting a career is hard work. Your millennial colleagues bring lots of skills to the workplace, but the world of work is new to them. We were all young once. We made it, and so will they. Afterall, by 2025 Millenials will comprise 75% of the workforce!


Written by:

Judith Tavano
LERN-CPP, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Managing Director, TRAINIQUE, LLC