Today’s IT and F&A managers are faced with the challenge of engaging and motivating the fastest growing segment of the workforce – millennials. Born between 1982 and 2000, this generation has been raised in a smartphone culture. As a result, they are great multi-taskers and can assimilate information at a blistering pace. But they also have particular workplace needs and expectations that many employers and department managers are just starting to get used to.
And according to statistics, they already outnumber baby boomers in the workforce, and by 2020 they will be the single largest segment of the workforce. So the real question is, what can you do to help leverage this unique resource? Here’s a start.
- Unleash the power of purpose. Millennials want to know that what they’re doing matters. Use this motivator to your advantage. As they are on-boarded, clearly delineate their role within the organization and how they personally can contribute to your company’s success.
- Create ways to satisfy their thirst for advancement. Millennials crave promotions and professional development. If possible, add layers that enable promotions to be awarded sooner rather than later. Also, build in opportunities for on-the-job learning experience through projects that will stretch their personal and professional skill sets.
- Fuel their desire for feedback. Don’t wait for formal, annual reviews. Establish opportunities at the beginning and end of projects to outline expectations and provide feedback regarding what they’ve done well and how they could improve. This approach can net real results for your department over time and help keep valuable talent engaged, motivated and satisfied. When formal reviews do roll around, be sure to circle back to that sense of purpose. Tell them how they have helped the company fulfill its corporate vision. And, be sure to point out what steps they can take to help take the company to the next level.
- Look for creative ways to meet their expectation of ongoing education. Most millennials expect their employer to provide ongoing education, yet they aren’t wired for traditional course- or seminar-style training. If you have online resources that they can use to steadily access bite-size bits of knowledge, encourage them to access those resources. If you don’t, put their problem solving talents to use. Challenge your millennials to find resources that fit their needs. Give them opportunities to share what they find with their peers. Then, use what they uncover to build your own resource directory for future use.
- Reward performance with flexibility. Since millennials are eager to achieve and tend to be turned off by rigid corporate structure, increased workplace flexibility can be a powerful motivator – especially in the IT industry. Reward exceptional performance on a project with freedoms, such as flex hours or working from home.
Motivating millennials can be challenging. But putting these powerful carrots to use can help your department, and the millennials in it, achieve a newfound degree of success.