Motivating Millennial Employees – A Guide for Small Business Owners


According to this research by Pew, millennial make up about 35% of the workforce in the United States. This makes them the largest generation in the American workforce today. 1 out of every 3 participants in the workforce belongs to the millennial generation, also known as Generation Y. That’s a huge chunk that will probably end up working for you as well. Here’s how to motivate them.
Motivating Millennial Employees in Small Businesses
Millennial’s are notoriously different from previous generations. They have very different buying habits. Their career goals and life aspirations are also much different. They have opposing views on society and ethos as compared to Baby Boomers and Generation X. Most importantly,they have very different motivators from other generations.I am a millennial running a business staffed mostly by millennials. Having a young workforce is great, but you need to be in touch with their needs to understand them. For example, in the rec room, I had a 42-inch LED smart TV powered by Optimum TV packages. Of course, nobody watched it during their breaks and I usually had a very languid workforce, especially after the break was over. But when I added a PS4 to the TV, suddenly my employees were perked up
and active. They would have friendly games and tournaments, encouraging team cohesion. The result? My workforce is perhaps the happiest in the building.The point is this, millennials can be a very finicky generation to deal with as a whole. But if you know what motivates them, you can encourage them to perform better in your small business.
The following tips can help you do this:

  1. Flexible Hours
  2. Freedom to Operate
  3. Public Recognition
  4. Leadership
  5. The 70/30 Rule

Let’s examine these motivators in more detail below.
Flexible Hours
Millennial are notorious for not being able to adhere to strict office timings. Given their lifestyles, most millennial find it extremely unappealing to get up early in the morning and rush to work. They also prefer the freedom to be able to work from home. So what you should do is get rid of a rigid workday and allow your millennial employees flexibility. Flexible work hours seem to work best for millennial’s, especially if they have the option to work from home. This will help increase business productivity and employee happiness.
Freedom to Operate
Most millennial’s have problems with authority and don’t like being told what to do. Micro-management is anathema with this generation. Instead, they want the freedom to do their jobs their own way. My advice is to ditch the micro-managing and allow your workforce to bring their own creativity to the workplace. This will help your employees come up with creative solutions to
business problems, and motivate them to perform well.
Public Recognition
Rewards and recognition are always good for employees, but they are especially good if your workforce is primarily made up of millennial employees. Millennial’s grew up winning trophies in sports for participating and had parents showing up to their games. Therefore it is only natural that they expect some form of public recognition and even monetary rewards for their hard work.
One way you can attract and retain millennial employees is to introduce a public recognition and
rewards system in your business.
One of the most challenging things I had to learn about being a boss to millennial’s is that they aren’t looking to become friends with me. Millennial don’t look at their bosses as friends or simple colleagues. They look at them as their leaders. As such they expect you to lead them and inspire them to excel. Much of the motivation that comes to your workforce will have to come through your vision and determination. Millennial’s make excellent followers if they find a leader they think is worthy.
The 70/30 Rule
Millennial’s have a much bigger problem with job switching than any other previous generation.Part of the reason behind this fickleness is social media. Millennial’s see their friends having what seems like a great career and life, and they want the same for themselves. Often, this leads to employees quitting their jobs in search of greener pastures that may never come. You need to encourage your employees to stay with your business.One of the ways to do this is to impress on them the 70/30 rule. The rule states that 30% of your job is bound to be annoying, tiring, and even exhausting. But the remaining 70% should motivate you and inspire you to excel. I tell my employees I understand their problems. If one of my employees need an advance on their salary to pay for their WOW cable and internet deals I
help them out. Why? Because I want at least 70% of their job to be fun and appealing. An employer that understands this will go a long way with their millennial workforce.

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