The future workforce may be "dominated" by Millennials." The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that their labor force size will increase by nearly 4.5 million over the decade, giving Millennials the largest workforce gain of any age group, according to the bureau's website.
With Millennials' increased presence in the workforce, it's more important than ever for managers and companies to motivate them and keep them engaged within the organization.
To uncover what it takes to motivate Millennials, Glassdoor gathered the opinions of 11 CEOs, managing directors, and business leaders across various industries. Here are their top tips.
1. Prioritize Transparency: Be Honest and Open with Millennial Employees
Millennials want and appreciate transparency at their workplace. They would rather be involved with the inner workings of their company than be kept in the dark. After all, if a company keeps them at arm's length, how can Millenials invest in and care about their employer?
Simple transparency and open dialogue is a great way of motivating and engaging Millennials at work, says Michael Fontana, director of Optionbox Limited. "Offer insight to your employees on what's going on at the business," he says. "This encourages employees to become more invested in the future of the business. If you're never open with your employees, they won't feel like an important part of the place they work, which can be particularly demotivating."Paul Sharpe, a partner at Avalon Accounting, agrees, and adds that employers should go further than just informing employees of successes, failures, and issues in the company. Employees should be involved in the company's success and future., he explains. "We want everyone to be included in the growth and success of the business," Sharpe says. "We don't just dictate from on high; we share the decision-making process and take the team's input into consideration."
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2. Flexibility Is a Perk Sure to Motivate Millennials
There are many forms of workplace flexibility, including remote working and unlimited vacation time. A majority of Millennials want workplace flexibility and - given today's technology - many companies are implementing or considering it. But you don't have to move your workforce to a remote schedule to make an impact with Millennials: Even small steps toward a more flexible workplace can increase the motivation levels of Millennials, these business leaders explain.
Matt Weston, managing director at Robert Half U.K., points out the importance of flexible work in terms of recruitment: Almost half of "office workers would be open to declining a job offer if flexible working hours and the ability to work from home at least once a week weren't offered."
Mark Pacitti, founder and managing director of Woozle Research, manages a team of mostly Millennials and is a Millennial himself. "At Woozle, we typically work nine-to-five, but staff have the flexibility to work from home whenever they wish," he says. As long as work is completed "we are agnostic as to where that happens; wherever they are most productive is the aim."
Simon Haighton-Williams, CEO of Adaptavist, also operates a flexible workplace: "We have a flexible, modern working environment to support flexible working patterns," he explains. "We strive to empower our employees ... to be creative in the way that they approach their roles and their work. It's about treating people ... as grown-ups whose contribution is valued. "
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3. Set out Clear Paths for Millennials' Career Progression
Millennials aren't lazy; in fact, most of them are incredibly driven. They want to learn, advance, and progress. And it's important to provide them a path to do so at your company.
As Fontana explains, "Giving employees room to grow and progress at your business is a huge motivator. If individuals can see paths for progression, they have an inherent determination to work hard and move up in a business." By giving employees plenty of opportunities to progress within your company, you can increase employee retention because your teams will "realize they could have a career at your business rather than just another job," Fontana explains.
4. Hold Regular Performance Discussions
Annual performance reviews have fallen out of favor over the past decade. Instead, some companies are moving over to a more agile form of performance management - and regular feedback motivates Millennials in many ways: It allows them to routinely receive and deliver feedback, gives them a voice, and enables them to connect with their managers and team.
Kaine Shutler, managing director at Plume, says that Plume uses what she calls "weekly individual meetings" or WIMs to identify the tasks for the week. "WIMs give my employees an opportunity to let me know what they'll need from me," she explains. "It's great because I can anticipate any additional support they need and what that might look like. It breaks down any barriers that there might be around asking for help."
Sharpe also makes use of regular performance discussions. He says that frequent performance discussions have "allowed us to provide regular feedback to team members and to help remove roadblocks quickly. It also creates an environment where workers regularly consider their career goals and have discussions about how to achieve them."
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5. Motivate with Time Off
No matter how much a Millennial loves his or place of work, they still need work-life balance - the chance to spend time with family and friends, and recharge. Luckily, paid time off can help.
Dmytro Okunyev, founder of Chanty, says that "no matter how young or old, all employees are motivated by time off work." In his experience, giving employees time off can be even more motivating than raises or other financial incentives. "Every time we offered someone a salary increase as a reward, their willingness to work harder was insignificantly higher," he says. But "when I tell the same worker that they will get two extra days off if they meet their goal [early]," they work even harder to hit their goal, he says.
6. Encourage a Sense of Teamwork
Social connections are important in life and at work: By fostering a sense of connection between Millennials and their coworkers, you can enhance teamwork, promote goodwill, and keep your employees more engaged while they're at work.
Gareth Allen, director of META, champions the power of teamwork. His team has regular team lunches and team-building exercises. Teamwork even extends to what kind of music is played in the office: Every day, a new employee gets a chance to be "DJ for the day," he explains.
Pacitti also recommends solidifying team bonds through non-work activities: At Woozle, "we have lots of leisure activities in the office, including table tennis, darts and pool, and we run lots of social events for new employees every month," he says. "We have great feedback on this from new employees."
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7. Remember the Importance and Value of Psychological Safety
Like any employee, Millennials need to feel psychological safety: They appreciate feeling heard, and that their opinions matter. They also need to know that if they make a mistake, it's safe to admit it without fear. Showing your employees that their input is not only welcomed but needed can motivate them to engage with your company and feel a strong sense of belonging.
"Employees have plenty of brilliant ideas but can be dissuaded from sharing them, perhaps due to fear of rejection," explains Fontana. "Encourage your employees to share ideas and let them know you're listening and will seriously consider their suggestions. That way, they'll feel valued and important, both of which will act as motivation!"
Haighton-Williams agrees and adds that "more than anything, it's about culture - a culture of trust and openness. It's about creating a cognitive, social, and physical space where people feel valued and comfortable to be themselves and part of building a business they believe in."
8. Give Your Millennial Employees Purpose and Responsibility
For Millennials, careers are about more than just paying the bills: they also want a purpose.
To help Millennial employees find purpose in their work, companies should have a clearly defined purpose of their own: They need to know where they are going and show employees how they fit into the bigger picture. With a mission and plan in place, managers can step back and trust employees to do their jobs well.
Millennials "want to feel both valued in what they do,and also that they are creating value," says Alec Sammon, chief technology officer at Mangahigh. "The ethics of their work they are doing - and how it contributes to the world - are hugely important" to them, he adds.
Ger Whitehead, technical director at Spector Information Security, agrees: "Millennials want to feel like they are part of something and understand how their role fits into the bigger picture of the organization," he says. To accomplish that, "we provide a clear vision of where the company is heading [and] we do quarterly company updates on progress of achieving the vision," he says.
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9. Encourage Innovation and Experimentation
Millennials like to bring something extra to the table. Allowing them to showcase their creativity and innovation will help them be more engaged employees and increase their performance.
"I love to encourage others to bring out their entrepreneurial side," says Danny Scott, CEO and co-founder of CoinCorner. "For me, having this energy and spirit in [our] culture is one of the best ways to motivate young Millenials. It allows us to continually innovate in a cutting-edge tech industry and makes everything we do interesting, fun and often unusual, especially when compared to the often repetitive working environments in traditional industries."
10. Motivate with Recognition and Appreciation
Employees want to know when they're doing well: It helps them replicate the same behavior, and shows them how much they are appreciated and valued.
At Avalon Accounting, where Sharpe works, "we've implemented a 'kudos' slack channel where anyone can share praise for other team members," he says. "The positivity that has come out of it has been amazing; we see 30 to 40 posts on it each week from our team of 10 [people]. "
11. Pay Competitively
While purpose, culture, and recognition drive Millennials, compensation and bonuses matter too. To keep Millennials' motivated, it's important to pay them what they are worth.
Weston says that "employers must review salaries and make sure they're inline with - or slightly above - what competitors provide." To discover what your employees are worth, you can use Glassdoor's exclusive Know Your Worth tool, which will help you identify salaries in your area.