Many leaders are looking for the secret to engaging millennial employees (those born early 1980’s to early 2000’s). By 2020, nearly half of all employees will be from this generation so I guess it’s fair that Baby Boomer and Gen X managers are interested.
Guess what…there is no “secret”. But you knew that already didn’t you. Millennial employees, just like all other generations before them, are individuals. There is no one right way to engage with these team members.
You might remember in the summer I sent out a short survey – thanks to all who participated – asking about what motivates you at work. I asked those who responded to include their generation so I could sort the answers. I’m excited to reveal some of the things I learned.
First the facts. Five hundred and ten people responded to the survey – with a majority (56%) being Baby Boomers. Of the remaining 44%, 24% are Gen X and 18% are Millennials. For those of you adding up those 3 numbers, there were a few outliers to make up the additional 2%.
So here’s the news…drumroll please…the #1 internal motivator for ALL THREE GENERATIONS is “The feeling of accomplishment after completing a task or project.”
It’s not so amazing that we are all alike in this important way. Our beliefs and mindsets about work are formed at an early age sitting around the dinner table listening to adult conversations. The “good” parts of those conversations almost always revolve around positive feelings versus positive actions.
So what if more leaders helped the people on their team connect with that feeling of accomplishment after completing a task or project?
That’s my suggestion for today. If you are a leader, ask the folks who report to you what makes them feel satisfied, energized & productive (my definition of engaged). Then, when you see them, help to connect the dots to the positive feelings they get each day when those things happen. It’s all about personal connections coming from a sense of caring. There’s no secret… it’s called a positive work relationship.
If you would like your boss to better understand your internal motivators, then ask about his or hers. That will start the conversation and who knows where it will lead.