Many millennials say they change jobs every two to three years. That’s not something that any company wants to hear. What are the best ways to motivate, engage and retain your millennial employees, and what should you not do?
Lisa Copeland is a global workplace expert specializing in culture, engagement, leadership and teamwork. Her team at The Culture Works surveyed more than 5,000 millennials to find out what really motivates them in the workplace.
What motivates millennials?
- Impact: “Most millennials want to know their work is important,” Copeland says. “They often feel a sense of destiny and feel that they are supposed to do something that will lead to positive change in the world. And that means many can become frustrated and look for greener pastures if they don’t believe there is positive outcome from their efforts.”
- Learning. “A majority of millennials thrive on trying new things and growing,” Copeland says. “For some, the pursuit of knowledge is its own goal, while for others the emphasis is on making themselves better at what they do.”
- Family. “We have found that more than half of millennials are motivated by making their loved ones proud of them,” Copeland says. “Those motivated by this idea try to make family a high priority, which means balancing home and work time.”
What doesn’t motivate millennials?
1. Prestige: “Millennials don’t care about fancy job titles or working for a highly esteemed company brand,” Copeland says.
2. Autonomy: Millennials aren’t looking to be their own boss or work alone, but crave direction at this point in their careers,” she says.
3. Money: Believe it or not, most aren’t motivated by the amount they earn. It’s not that compensation isn’t important to younger workers, but it’s a satisfier more than a motivator,” she says.
What else can you do to motivate and retain employees? Copeland says:
- Explain clearly the mission of your organization. Let them know how your organization makes the world a better place, and then detail how each person’s work specifically impacts the success of the enterprise. And then you say it again … and again.
- Challenge them early to learn and make an impact. In the very first week set goals that they can accomplish in their first six months on the job, and ensure the goal is tied to at least one core goal or value of the organization. That way they are learning what is valuable to the organization and seeing the impact their role has. And then you do it again … and again.
- Worry about 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 the computer for at least twenty-four hours on the weekend, 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.