Millennials: How to motivate


Debra Corey is Group Reward Director at Reward Gateway, the world’s leading provider of employee engagement technology. Reward Gateway has helped more than 1,100 companies including IBM, American Express and Samsung to attract, engage and retain the best employees. The company’s products power employee communications, employee recognition, and employee benefits through a single employer-branded hub called SmartHub®.

Millennials are now the largest generation in the workplace, with a recent study by Inkling predicting that there will be 17 million Millennials in the UK by 2019. 
Also known as ‘Generation Y’, Millennials are those born between 1982 and 2000. Typically, they value greater flexibility, appreciation, team collaboration, progression and career opportunities, and, above all, a healthy work/life balance.

A different generation with different values, as Millennials continue to enter the workplace those in HR need to reconsider how they motivate these employees.
Here are three key things to consider:

1. Technology 
Millennials are ‘digital natives’; they’ve been surrounded by digital technology from an early age, and as a result expect to be communicated through it. As an added bonus, today’s technology makes it easier to implement engagement programmes and monitor results. We know that Millennials like specific, regular feedback and acknowledgement, and with the communications technology available today this is simpler to put in place than ever before.

2. Flexibility
Numerous research has shown that a healthy work life balance is a top priority for Millennials (it ranks above pay and progression), and a study by PWC found that millennials prefer to be measured by the output of the work they produce, rather than the hours they put in. This doesn’t just mean offering flexible work schedules, but having a flexible approach to styles of working, development opportunities and recognition programmes. 

3. Choice
One of the biggest mistakes companies make in motivating their employees through their reward programmes is to assume all Millennials have the same attitudes and needs. For example, a one-size fits all approach to benefits will not work for millennials as they have a greater desire to choose what’s right for them.  Today’s technology can help you do this for them as well as the rest of your workforce.

I’ve focused on how organisations can motivate a growing millennial workforce, but keep in mind that these considerations won’t be exclusive to them. I imagine most employees would appreciate greater access to rewards through technology, flexibility in the workplace, and increased choice in benefits.  A win-win for everyone!

Latest viewpoints

A gift for engagement

Gail Cohen, Director General of the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association (UKGCVA), says this is an exciting time for an industry that is poised for growth

Taking the initiative

Jamie MacKenzie, Marketing Director at Sodexo Benefits and Reward Services, tells us about the company’s latest projects