MBA 880 Leadership and Organizational Behavior
It is now conventional wisdom that members of the youngest generation in the workforce---the Millennials, or Generation Y---are not motivated by the same things that propel older employees (Shishkoff, 2009). This paper will focus on how employers can motivate and retain Millennial employees in the workplace, differences and similarities between the generations, and how members of each generation can work most effectively with members of other generations. This is a topic of interest for me because I fall into this generation of employees. I am currently learning about ways that I can be motivated and excel in my current and future roles.
The Millennials, the generation of workers born roughly between 1980 and 2000, are entering the workforce in droves (Suleman, & Nelson, 2011). This generation is currently dominating the workforce. Given that 75% of this generation reports planning to find a new job as the economy improves, it is worth the investment of time and energy to see how best the employer can attract, motivate, and retain them in the organization today (Suleman, & Nelson, 2011). The keys to motivating Millennials are mentoring, career development, feedback and support, and acknowledgement. Learning how to motivate Millennials will help employers tap in to their potential and retain their talent.
There have been countless studies on Millennials. “In fact, as Jamie Gutfreund, chief strategy officer for the Intelligence Group notes, a full 86 million Millennials will be in the workplace by 2020—representing a full 40% of the total working population.” Gutfreund says that Intelligence Group studies of Millennials have found that:
64% of them say it is a priority for them to make the world a better place.
72% would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor.
88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one.
74% want flexible work schedules.
And 88% want “work-life integration,” which isn’t the same as work-life balance, since work and life now blend together inextricably. (Forbes, 2014)
The challenge for managers today is to integrate, satisfy and retain the brightest performers across the age spectrum (Robinette, 2009). Each generation has grown up in a time period that influences their behavior. Integrating three generations of employees has created significant challenges for managers. Generation Y holds a different mindset than their predecessors which contributes to their organizations by finding faults with business models and strategies, and suggesting technology-driven substitutes for more efficient productivity (Fenn, 2010) They have been granted more and better opportunities than past generations. Millennials are encouraged to pursue higher education and train for multiple careers. Many have been prepping for college since their grade school years. This was not the case for the Baby Boomers and Generation X.
Be a Mentor
Generation Y executives can develop confidence in their abilities from their mentors in order to gain respect and earn the trust of subordinates. "A younger manager might be concerned with career advancement, future salary and bonuses" (Dwyer, 2009). One step that managers can implement is to develop Baby Boomers as mentors to Generation Y employees (Jerome, Scales, Whithem, & Quain, 2014). The older generation has the experience and knowledge that the Millennials need to be successful.
Some organizations have taken coaching and mentoring a step further by instituting reverse mentoring programs, which allow Millennials to share their technological knowledge to older generations in the