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Millennials will soon be most of your workforce,
Millennials will soon
be most of your workforce,

and a lot has been written about how to understand and respond to them. Much of that focuses on helping older managers force millennials to understand and adopt old norms instead of helping the managers to understand and adopt the norms that millennials demand.

Motivating millennials isn’t hard. Most managers understand that everyone responds to reinforcement, recognition, respect and reward. But you can also use productivity solutions and your IT environment to drive the four T’s of Teamwork, Transparency, Tangible Impact and Technology.

01: Teamwork

Motivating millenials with teamwork is as easy as providing hands-on learning. They believe in lifelong education and that experience is the best teacher, so a collaborative environment where they can work with colleagues of many skill levels instead of in silos can help make them excited about coming to work.
Creating a collaborative workspace also allows reverse mentoring, in which they help older employees learn and understand new tools, technologies and ways of working.
In a more collaborative workplace, your management approach may need to shift. Ideally, you’d work through projects with your employees as a coach, not a boss. You’d also provide steady feedback instead of once-a-year reviews (or in addition to them if that’s what your company requires).

02: Transparency

Millenials grew up surrounded by untrustworthy information. That free-flowing information benefits everyone, so they demand transparency from the brands they support and from their employers. Sharing the information that you hold as a manager (to the extent possible) helps them feel that you’re being transparent, which drives efficiency and benefits everyone.
In terms of management style, this can be as easy as treating millennials like equal players: provide context, be able and ready to answer their questions and welcome their expertise. Source: WARC, 2016
In practice, being transparent is simple: just share relevant, timely information via email, corporate social channels and collaboration tools. Along with conveying what you state explicitly, using these channels shows that you use the same channels and tools as the people you lead.
Video can be expensive, but it’s uniquely effective because audiences can interpret your inflection and tone of voice, which lets them see into your emotional state and extract additional levels of subtext that other media cannot. Podcasts, webinars and calls where audience members can ask questions provide even greater transparency.

03: Tangible Impact

Millennials want to influence your team’s work and they want to know that their work makes the world a better place. To motivate them, show them how their work supports achieving overarching corporate goals, especially when it contributes to and supports your corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts.
Any of the tools and technologies described above can work for demonstrating tangible impact. The best one for a specific message depends on the message itself, your audience and your org’s culture.
No matter what channel you choose, the information must be relevant. It must matter at least as much to your audience as it does to you. If you provide timely, relevant information, then people will seek you out as a source of truth and transparency. If your communications matter more to you than to them, then they’ll quickly learn to ignore you.
As a manager, it helps to let them take on new challenges. Millennials move quickly. If they don’t feel like your org gives them the opportunity to grow, then they’ll move on to one that does. Source: Forbes 2015

04: Technology

Overall, millennials want equality, accessibility and shared consciousness in the workplace. These things make life better for all employees, so consider tools that make them possible, and that make the employee journey as smooth and enjoyable as the customer journey.
Millennials know the difference between a good technology experience and a bad one. Your internal tools (expense reporting, travel booking, timekeeping etc.) should be as smooth and seamless as similar consumer-facing technologies.

Key criteria for technology are:

1) mobile first,
2) automated processes,
3) allows work from almost anywhere and,
4) allows work on almost any device.

Teams and OneNote create fast-moving team environments and ease collaboration. Social tools like Yammer and Skype for Business are ideal for collaboration and recognition. And Office 365 provides mobility, so people can work from almost any place at any time.

Understand the Expectations

Companies like Uber, Amazon and Netflix have set new expectations in every industry. Millennials grew up seeing those expectations being met. They expect every brand experience, including experiences withtheir employers, to be as smooth and seamless as those provided by the world’s leading digital companies. Fortunately, the things that motivate millennials aren’t unreasonable, but millennials are probably more open to talking about them than older workers. So whilst millennials may have a different approach, don’t be surprised if GenX, Baby Boomer, Traditionalist and GenZ workers also respond favourably to how you change your approach to teamwork, transparency, tangible benefit and technology.
Source: Microsoft
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