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4 Ways To Maximize Your Millennial Workforce

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Millennials became the largest generation in the US workforce in 2016, comprising 35% of employees. According to the Pew Research Center, and they are predicted to make up the majority of the global workforce by 2025. 


With this massive shift in the composition of the labor force, a multitude of studies have been released in the last decade. This involves  how to attract and engage millennials, working with multiple generations in one setting, how to retain millennials who seem to get bored with their jobs within a couple of years, and numerous other topics related to the millennial generation. Even with all the data and research coming out, leaders continue to struggle to understand this dominant group in their organizations.


We have all heard the labels that are used to describe millennials: “lazy”, “hard to please”, “entitled”, “distracted”, and “self-centered”. While these labels may be true in some situations, leaders have a unique opportunity to learn how to best support and engage members of their team who were raised differently and have a different set of values and motivations. Leaders who can effectively lead teams with multiple generations are the ones who will rise to the top the fastest.


The certifications and advanced online programs at NASP support sales leaders in learning to develop the skills needed to maximize their millennial workforce. They also provide a training opportunity for their millennial salesforce to become more successful, productive, and happy at work. There are four key things you can do today as a leader to start this process.


Uncover Their “Why”


Millennials are looking for purpose in their career, not just a paycheck. They want to know that they’re working for a leader and a company who care about more than just a bottom line. While millennials may still be driven by money, a salary bump alone won’t keep them around forever.


One of the most crucial things to do when bringing on a new employee in the millennial demographic is knowing why they want to work with you. When you know their why, or their purpose, it can help you as a leader support them in continuing to move towards their goals when times get tough. Eventually, they’re going to come across challenges. A purpose gives them the energy they need to stay focused when something feels uncomfortable, boring, or has them wanting to give up. Instead of jumping ship when things get tough, having a leader to remind them why they wanted this job, a specific project, or even a promotion can be incredibly helpful. 


Curious how to uncover their why? Here are a couple of prompts to help you out:

  • Take the time to have them write out a vivid career vision for their future, appearing almost like a movie reel. A vision is a written or visual image of where you want to go, who you want to be, or what you want to have. A vision engages the imagination by providing a target for it to focus on. 
  • Create a list of their top 3 values (Examples: achievement, authenticity, community, contribution, diversity, excellence, fun, gratitude, growth, recognition, success, teamwork, wealth, well-being, etc.)
  • Have them write their vision and values out and share them with you or a co-worker and leave them out near their desk to reference often.


Understand Their Motivation


Knowing their purpose is only part of the equation. To really maximize the millennials on your team you need to know what motivates them. There are two types of motivational forces: moving toward pleasure and moving away from pain. 


Do members of your team work harder when there’s an incentive like a trip, financial bonus, or their name up in lights? Or when they’re threatened with losing their job, being kicked off a special projects team, or having a negative 1:1 review? Ask them to create a list of their top five motivations so you can best keep them on track.


Create a System of Proactive Feedback


There is nothing worse than not being recognized for the great work you’re doing, or worse, being blindsided with negative feedback when you think you’re doing a great job. Increase performance and productivity through consistent check-ins on your team’s Attitude, Competency, and Effort (ACE). 


ACE allows you to create a culture of proactive coaching and mentoring rather than reactively handling issues and fixing problems. It promotes significant growth and continued progress and ensures you and your team are on the same page. In every 1:1 meeting, start with a simple ACE check-in and have them evaluate their own performance in each category on a scale of 1-10. Then, talk about how they can move closer to achieving a 10. The consistent, objective review using the same criteria each period helps people create new empowering habits and turns reactors into pro-actors.


Give Them a Growth Path


To help with retention and engagement, share a vision of where they can go within the company. Always tie it back to the vision they initially created for their own career. Millennials want to know that they’re more than just a number in a company and have the opportunity to grow with an organization and make a larger impact. 


As a leader, it’s important to continue to invest in their growth, both personally and professionally. NASP offers a variety of online programs and certifications that support individuals in taking small, consistent action towards their goals every single day. Development opportunities in the workplace, especially among millennials, are a major contributor to employee retention. Investing in your most valuable resource as an organization – your employees – is a solid strategy for satisfied and committed team members.


To learn more about how NASP can support you as a leader or someone on your team, reach out today!

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