Motivating Millennials: How To Motivate Millennials In Today’s Workforce

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Motivating Millennials is a topical subject with business leaders and L&D teams. With Millenials predicted to make up nearly half of our workforce is a few short years, it’s critical for many organisations to understand the Millennial motivation puzzle. 

The Conundrum of Motivation 

If we are talking motivation, it’s key to clarify exactly what we are referring too.  Business Dictionary explains it well. 

“Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal.” 

Ask a group of Excel Communications trainers who reside in every corner of the globe about motivation and they will all have a similar take on the fact that as people move into action, stimulated by inputs and their own experience, motivation builds. 

The question then is how do we create this ‘experience’ for our Millennial workforce? 

We’re Only Human After All 

The above phrase has been made even more famous by RagNBone man whose recent song explains our human traits perfectly. We are human beings who react to events and circumstances in a specific way. 

Consequently then, we have certain drivers.  

Maxwell Maltz in his classic book Psycho Cybernetics eluded to the evidence that human beings are success seeking creatures, wired for growth and achievement. 

This is especially true of Millennials.  

Tap into their need for success and help them ‘get’ what they want, and you will be well and truly turning up their motivation dial.  

Dan Pink backs up the original research by Maltz and breaks down the core elements of motivation into three parts: 

  • Autonomy – the ability and freedom to take the right actions. 
  • Mastery – moving the needle continuously towards peak performance. 
  • Purpose – meaning attached to what we are ‘actually’ doing. 

If there is one generation that embodies Dan Pink’s AMP principle, it’s the Millennials in our team. So, knowing this, how can we motivate our Millennial workforce? 


Explain Your Vision 

Success is linked to vision.  

Look at any meme floating around the internet, and you’ll see that the most successful business leaders have a clear vision of where they are going, which they then communicate to their organisation. 

Your Millennial team members want to know where they are heading, and you might be shocked at how important this is to them; dare I say it makes more of an impact with them than past generations! 

Explaining your vision then links to Dan Pink’s ‘purpose’ part of the motivation equation. 

Respect Our World Has Changed 

The world has changed, stimulated by the many inventions of the past few hundred years! 

Back in the day ‘workers’ started and finished early to take in the maximum amount of daylight hours to be productive; unfortunately, many organisations hang onto this outdated process. 

Does it matter if someone starts at 10 am and finishes at 7 pm? We are privileged to work with, and it’s common for many of their employees to start at different times of the day and work till the job is done.  

As they are now the planet’s biggest online hotel booking company, something is working; isn’t it? 

Millennials=Technology, or so the popular press says. We live in an interconnected world where remote working is the norm for many. With tools like, Zoom, Slack, Go To Meeting, Yammer and HipChat readily available, remote working is an option that you can provide to a workforce that wants flexible work-life balance. 

Regular Feedback 

In a recent post and podcast, I shared about the value of feedback. Fact: Millennial employees want and appreciate feedback. 

They want to be accountable and consequently crave feedback that will help them perform at their best. Regular, honest and constructive feedback will help make these employees feel fulfilled in their job. 

Be An Authentic Leader 

Authenticity? I know this might sound like another leadership buzzword. 

However tough it might be to embrace, being authentic is key.  

This doesn’t mean authentically giving someone feedback that leaves them bruised and lacking in confidence. Or being like a bear with a sore head until you have had your first coffee and explaining your actions with “well that’s just the way I am!” 

This is related to honest conversations.  

This might be letting people know the truthful options on a career path or avoiding putting a spin on a story that confuses everyone about what is going on with a new product launch. 

Fascinating topic, isn’t it?  

If you want to read more you can download one of our recent reports on how to motivate and develop our changing workforce here -> Download here. 

Alternatively, if you want to explore a conversation about how Excel Communications can help you develop your Millennial team, get in contact here. 


Rachel Hewitt-Hall 

About Excel Communications 

Excel Communications has a 30-year history as a global leadership and communication skills organisation dedicated to exceeding the expectations of clients through the training and development of their business and people. 

We have a team of expert trainers delivering programmes across four continents in multiple languages. Isn’t it time you got in touch? Call us now on +44 (0) 1628 488 854.