19/03/2014

By Maria Black, Managing Director at ADP UK

The world of work moves faster all the time. The swings of the economic cycle, globalisation and demographic shifts are changing the way organisations operate and create value. But through all this change, there is one constant: people. People – and the ability of an organisation to engage and mobilise its people – are the critical factor for performance and success. Indeed, as technology has become more pervasive at work, its importance has arguably grown, with technology enabling organisations to give staff more autonomy and, by the same token, more responsibility, than ever before.

As Millennials – or Generation Y – take up a more significant role in the workplace, a company’s ability to continue in attracting and retaining top talent will increasingly rest with how well it taps into the needs and motivations of this particular group of employees. After all, the deeper the understanding a business has of its workforce – its drivers, outlook and priorities – the better it will be able to align people with business objectives.

Fortunately, ADP’s own recent research – in which the UK workforce were asked to rank what motivates and engages them most at work – has the answers. Here are five top tips for motivating your Millennials:

Praise and recognition
Giving praise may not come naturally to all leaders and line managers, but when it comes to keeping Millennials motivated, recognition from management comes out on top. Perhaps of most value for employers to know, is that as well as praise being only sought after by employees it often costs a business nothing – resulting in a low-cost, high-impact way to motivate employees. Although a recognition or rewards program can often be an extra way to incentivise your employees.

Flexibility
Next in line for motivating your Generation Y cohort is flexibility. This group ranks ‘the ability to work when and where I want to’ as one of the most effective ways of engaging them at work. The key here is to spend time putting together a comprehensive and balanced flexible working policy – and then communicating the changes and personal benefits to staff. Interestingly, an element of flexibility is also considered as more important among the growing contingent of older workers in the UK.

The right type of benefits
These days there are all sorts of benefits a business can offer its staff, but it’s worth taking the time to make sure the right ones are on offer. Perhaps a little surprisingly, younger workers are more interested in employee benefits ‘that look after my long-term financial welfare’, like a robust pension scheme, than ones related to their health and wellbeing, such as gym membership or health insurance.

This reflects the reality that young workers are taking a progressively active role in planning for their long-term welfare. Indeed, research conducted last year by the National Association of Pension Funds suggested that young workers were more interested in increasing their retirement savings over the coming year than their elders.

Variety – and a challenge
Today’s younger employees not only want a diverse role, but one in a ‘fast-moving and dynamic environment’ where they are constantly challenged to find out what they are really made of. Somewhat unsurprisingly, this is considerably more sought-after by Millennials than their older colleagues, who are more certain of their capabilities and wary of the potential for ‘burnout’ in a fast-moving environment.

Clear paths for career progression
Although much has been made of the ongoing ‘war for talent’ and the pressure to attract, develop and retain the best employees, it can be easy to forget that employees are engaged in their own battle with their colleagues to reach the top. Younger workers are looking for a role and organisation which offer them a clear sense of progression and opportunities to develop their career. That was clearly reflected in the research, in which Millennials ranked this as one of the top five ways to motivate and engage them at work.

For more information on the views of the workforce, and to download a free copy of The Workforce View 2013, visit: http://bit.ly/WorkView2013

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