Born between 1981 and 2000, millennials expect interesting and challenging work. Gen Z are generally defined as those born after 2000 and will soon be stepping into offices around the globe as well. Both groups anticipate fast and upward mobility, along with ongoing mentoring and feedback from their supervisors. How can you ensure you are recruiting, hiring, and retaining the top talent of this workforce?
Millennials are not only tech savvy but also great multi-taskers. Therefore, they make an excellent fit for many contact centers and sales teams. However, they are the first generation in a long time not primarily motivated by financial reward. So, if you’re going to leverage the full talent and capabilities of this generation of workers, you’ll need to know what motivates them.
According to recent research on workplace motivation, some of the stats for Contact Centers can be troubling:
- Only 5 percent of millennials regard working for a call center as exciting.
- Over half (55 percent) have negative perceptions about working in a call center.
Millennials will make up nearly half of the global workforce by 2020. They are driven by meaning and purpose. However, when asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, pretty much none of them will answer by saying “A contact center employee!” Yet, this proves problematic because we know that contact centers are critical to the growth and success of many businesses. So, how can you engage and motivate your contact center Millennials so that they feel empowered, appreciated and purposeful?
Momentum Starts at the Top
Most Gen Y’ers thrive on feedback and instruction. Backed by a desire to learn new skills, conquer challenges and grow into positions of leadership, Millennials thrive on good leadership and direction. As with any other generation, it is the management who set the tone of the workplace and ultimately determine the motivation and engagement levels of their employees. With the tech-saavy generations coming in, leadership should ensure that they are providing the proper technology, tools and training that will generate optimal productivity.
Align Purpose with Company Vision
The best way to boost productivity amongst millennial workers is by aligning purpose with vision. By showing millennials how their contributions help drive the company bottom line, it will be easier for them to understand how they fit into the bigger picture and how their contributions matter. Sense of purpose and meaningfulness rank among the most important factors to millennials in the workplace, outweighing compensation alone. Recently, many companies have begun to allow employees to use a small portion of their work time to generate new ideas or volunteer in the community. This is just one example of how to create a purpose-driven workplace.
Provide Pathways to Leadership
Unsurprisingly, these generations both have their eyes set on working their way into management positions as quickly as possible. If they can’t do it in your company, 60% report that they will set their sights on somewhere they can. So, if you’d like to retain your top talent, you’ll need to provide training and professional development that will help them successfully climb the ladder. Mentorship and coaching are rated among the most important workplace motivators for Gen Y & Z; so, consider starting there.
Recognition is Critical
These generations were showered in praise and encouragement as children and throughout their time in university so it’s not surprising that they will also expect it in the workplace. However, this doesn’t mean it has to be pricey. In fact, the #1 form of recognition is a simple “thank you” and the #2 form is extra time off. Remember, this generation neither expects nor wants to be showered in public praise and gifts. Instead, they simply want to have someone say “yes, your impact makes a difference here and we appreciate it.”
Perhaps the most important factor of recognition, however, is to make it instant. These are the generations of instant gratification and if it takes you too long to say “thanks” then it’s almost just as bad as not saying thanks at all. One way to ensure instant recognition is through the use of gamification, which combines data-driven systems such as CRMs with real-time updated and announcements on TV screens, web and mobile app, thus creating a culture of teamwork, cohesion and recognition that this generation thrives on.
Motivating Millennials, at a Glance:
Meaningfulness = Purpose
o Employees who are proud of their organizations are more likely to be engaged.
o They are HIGHLY value driven. Meaning-based generation.
o Show them continuously how their role and contributions matter.
Competency = Commitment
o Professional development and new skills are highly valued.
o Want cross-functional teams to learn more roles and be more social.
o Encourage them to seek leadership positions outside of work with nonprofits, associations, and charities. Maybe even give them company time like Google and a few others do.
Progress = Professionalism
o They like accomplishing things and being recognized.
o They need to be able to see a long-term path, or else they will leave.
o Quarterly reviews and feedback sessions are great. Show them how their progress has helped make a difference and they will be invested to continue growing.
Autonomy = Respect
o Involve them in decision making to help them gain leadership and experience.
o Flexibility with how to do their work. Not rigidly structured tasks.
Recognition = Performance
o Instant feedback and recognition are critical.
o Make it social. They want to be recognized in front of their peers.
o It doesn’t have to be expensive. A simple “thank you” or a little extra time off rank amongst the top perks for Gen Y & Z.
Remember, motivating millennials is all about leveraging leadership in order to create a fun, rewarding and flexible work environment that recognizes accomplishments and provides pathways to further achievements.