The Two Secrets to Keeping and Motivating Millennial Workers
By Haydn Shaw Senior Consultant, Franklin Covey | February 26, 2017
How do we recruit Millennials? How do we motivate them? And how do we keep them from leaving?
These three questions about the newest generation in the workplace, the Millennials, are the most commonly asked when I speak to organizations about generational sticking points and how they affect that organization's success.
When some managers ask these questions, they want me to give them "six magical techniques" that will help their Millennial employees to "get with the program," fit into their system, and act like the previous generations. While most leaders realize that it is impossible to remake 85 million people into the image of another generation, they don't know what else to do and so, out of frustration, they seek that magic fix. Other managers believe that because the Millennials are the future, organizational structures and the other generations need to adjust to them. So they force everyone outside that generation to change.
Neither option is the best. Rather than attempting the gargantuan task of trying to change Millennials or change the other generations, the managers in your property need to understand two things that will help answer each of those three key questions:
(1) You will make things worse if you don't understand emerging adulthood.
(2) Boredom is your enemy when managing Millennials.
There's a New Life Stage in Town
Emerging adulthood is a recently identified life stage between 18 and 28 years of age. It occurs right after adolescence and before early adulthood. Early adulthood is the life stage when people "settle down" to a life partner, a career, and often their more permanent location. Emerging adulthood is new to most people because sociologists only identified it in the last 15 years. When I ask groups to raise their hand if they have ever heard of it, only 2 to 3 percent do. Not understanding emerging adulthood means managers complain about Millennials, especially younger Millennials, as if something's wrong with them when they pass up jobs or do not seem engaged. But emerging adulthood is a much better explanation for why Millennials respond differently from previous generations. Understanding emerging adulthood also makes managers more productive. They know if generational characteristics are the problem, the managers have to try to fix that generation. But when a manager understands that they can't fix a life stage, then they are able to adapt the way they manage those employees.