Well now. The myths are busted, the stereotypes put to bed. So then, what traits actually do define this age group? Given that Generation Y makes up almost 26% of the UK working population, comprising people of all backgrounds, races, genders, classes, interests and sexuality, it's probably quite safe to say that there are very few characteristics that are specific to millennial's alone.
Concerns that are common to millennial's are: money, insecurity at work, a desire to improve, the need for support and keeping an eye out for opportunities (in the form of looking for jobs that may move them up the ladder) are common to most workers in the UK.
So, how do you motivate millennial's?
One of the key things is to set aside the prejudices and treat them as fairly, considerately and respectfully as you would any other employee. The 2016 Edenred-Ipsos Barometer poll found that 26% of millennial's said their motivation at work is increasing, vs. 15% of older employees. However, they point out that, contrary to popular belief, the figures were almost identical (27% vs. 19% ten years ago. Maybe they're not that different after all then!
When asked what they expect from their employer, they said that the ideal would be for it to acknowledge their commitment and allow them to develop. In fact, rewarding effort ranks first (57% of Millennial's and 62% of employees over 30), followed by development opportunities (38% and 34% respectively). But is this so different from any other employee? This issue is particularly pertinent for millennial's as the retirement age rises and more people extend their working life thus leaving them fewer opportunities to move up the career ladder.
With this as a background, it's important to motivate and encourage this Generation who have now become the best-educated in history – with nowhere to go! Offering mentoring, training, longer-term career development and role broadening opportunities are some of the ways of helping them to develop. In fact, Deloitte's 2016 Millennial Survey found that mentorships are particularly important – young employees with mentors are twice as likely to stay with their employer. It appears that the key to winning over the next generation of leaders is to actually treat them like the next generation of leaders.
Working conditions are considered half as important as recognition of effort; the desire for a less hierarchical organisation comes in last place.
In Deloitte's 2016 Millennial Survey almost 17% said that (apart from salary) the most important driver of employer choice would be work-life balance, and a further 11% cited flexibility in hours and work location.
The other thing to remember about millennial's is their willingness to contribute online – either through posting on social networks, or uploading photos, music or videos. Across Europe, there is a stark divide between older and younger age groups in terms of active creation of online content: half (50%) of 20-24 and 40% of 25-34 (the two Millennial age groupings) have uploaded self-created content to a website. This compares with just a quarter (24%) of 45-54 (the older end of Generation X).
These represent important facets of a different approach to the potential of the internet – as something to shape and connect with in a much more active way. The bottom line is that millennial's are used to a more collaborative approach – they like to participate.
So, the best way to motivate millennial's would seem to be by treating them as employees that you want to nurture and develop so that they can become the leaders of the future. Consider the fact that many of their waking hours are spent swiping their phones and participating online, but really, are their needs for recognition, reward, development and a fair deal so very different from the rest of ours?