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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How to Motivate and Retain Millennials in The Workplace

By Lisa Copeland

Companies are always on the lookout for the best and brightest prospects, and there seems to be no shortage of potential from the millennial generation. Unfortunately, a growing trend is causing some concern.

While there is an abundance of worthy applicants, millennials are job-hoppers, with many changing jobs every two to three years. It used to be that people found a company in their line of work and stuck with them for their entire career. So what is it about millennials that they can’t stay still?

To find out why this generation has been flaunting the tradition of long term employment with a company, our team at The Culture Works surveyed more than 5,000 millennials to find out what really motivates them in the workplace, and how companies can be more successful at long-term employee retention.

What motivates Millennials?

Millennials are motivated by loftier ideals than the “me” generation that was in its twenties in 1980s,. We found that a major goal was to make an impact and affect positive change in the world. They often feel a sense that destiny awaits, and become frustrated that they don’t find themselves in a position that makes them feel like their work is important.

For others, the pursuit of knowledge is the goal, and these workers thrive on the ability to continue learning, no matter where it takes them. As long as they continue to get better at what they do, they will change jobs as often as they need to.

The third largest motivating factor we found was family. Having their family be proud of them and being able to balance work and home life greatly influences what job they take, and how long they stay.

What doesn’t motivate Millennials?

Unlike the generations before them, most millennials are not highly motivated by money, prestige or autonomy. They are not attracted to a company because it has a famous name or is willing to give them a fancy title. Many millennials crave direction and teamwork early in their careers and aren't eager to step on their colleagues to get ahead. Money is definitely satisfying, and almost anybody would rather have it than not, but it’s surprisingly not a huge incentive to stay.

What can your company do to motivate and retain Millennials?

Your company needs to reach out to the idealistic side of millennial employees to show them that they are integral to the company and make an impact through their work. Explain clearly the mission of your company and how it makes the world a better place. Challenge your millennial employees to learn and set goals on a regular basis, starting in the very first week on the job. A good timeframe for accomplishing a set goal is six months. This gives the millennial enough time to work towards a goal without being overwhelmed by it. Be sure that this goal is tied to at least one core value or mission of the company.

You can also help your millennial employees better manage a work-life balance and look out for their well-being. Many millennials haven’t learned how to shut off. While they may have lots of energy, young people need to be encouraged to take their vacation days, turn off their work computer at nights and on weekends, and go out regularly with friends or family to recharge their batteries. Millennials should learn to balance, and it’s a manager’s job to help them adopt that skill.

Now is the time for millennials. The world is getting smaller and it’s all within reach for them. Don’t let the brightest slip out of reach for you. A little adaptation to their thinking can keep valuable employees with you for years to come.

Lisa Copeland is a global workplace expert specializing in culture, engagement, leadership and teamwork. She is part of the leadership team at The Culture Works.  To learn more, visit  www.lisacopeland.com and http://www.thecultureworks.com/ 

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