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A great transformation is happening at workplaces. Presently, the millennial generation dominates the majority of organisations. The generation embraces a diverse pool of professional values relative to other generations. Unlike the Baby Boomers generation that is motivated by career development, millennials are inspired by individuals’ ambitions and values. Research on the millennial generation has shown that there are many cases of women choosing to leave jobs. Consequently, employers should have a clear knowledge of this generation in order to cope with the present-day dynamic workforce. They should consider the factors that motivate millennials and endeavour to capitalise on them. Moreover, they should change their human resource policies to accommodate the needs of the millennial generation.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Motivating Factors
According to Maslow, various needs contributed to employee commitment. Some of the needs included endurance, security, importance, belonging, and self-actualisation. The same needs influence commitment among millennial generation at workplaces. Millennials have a list of needs that they aspire to obtain from careers. Their needs are closely related to those identified by Maslow. Millennials value recognition, meaningful work, importance, flexibility and independence.
Among all the needs, they value importance, belonging and self-actualisation more than anything else. The three needs are what motivate them and make them stay in an institution for a long time. According to Maslow, employees value importance. They prefer organisations that confer them an opportunity to learn new things and make decisions. Besides, employees value self-respect. Millennials move from one corporation to another in search of an institution that values importance. Unlike the Baby Boomers who stick to an organisation due to fear that they might not get another job, millennials do not settle for anything less than importance. Rather than following orders, they prefer making decisions based on circumstances at hand.
In most cases, millennials find it hard to work in organisations that use a top-down leadership approach. Such an approach requires managers to make all decisions and instructions. Cases of culture conflict between employees and managers are widespread in the modern business environment. Rather than getting instructions, millennials prefer a challenging and motivating working environment. The environment gives them a chance to learn new ideas and develop their skills.
Maslow defined self-actualisation as the desire to fulfil one’s potential. Millennials are fond of exploiting their full potential. They do not prefer organisations that do not give them a chance to be creative and explore new frontiers. Besides, they choose to assume attractive roles and have a voice in the organisation’s operations. In other words, they like being engaged in everything that happens in their workplaces. It makes them feel to be part of an organisation. Denying them, such an opportunity leads to conflicts and, at times, makes millennials quit their jobs.
Herzberg studied a group of accountants and engineers to determine the factors that bring forth job satisfaction among employees. Among the factors that Herzberg identified included achievement, responsibility, recognition, and growth. On the hand, he identified some factors that caused job dissatisfaction. They included organisational policies, interpersonal relationships, salary, working environment and administration. Millennials do not prefer organisations whose policies are quite rigid. Instead, they value flexibility. They prefer institutions that allow them to make critical decisions on matters that affect their workstations.
Millennials believe that they are capable of handling all issues that arise in their areas of specialisation. Besides, they value achievement and recognition. Other than financial rewards, millennials desire to be promoted and assigned tasking responsibilities. In addition, they aspire to scale the corporate ladder quickly. They wish to make progress in their careers. Consequently, they coerce institutions to establish endorsement policies that guarantee regular promotions. The majority of generation X staff members can patiently wait for promotion for up to five years. However, millennials move from one institution to another if one organisation fails to promote them. The primary difference between millennials and Baby Boomers is that the former focus mostly on the issues at hand and their immediate benefits. Thus, they like engaging in meaningful and challenging tasks.
Millennials value interpersonal relationships. Poor interpersonal relationships prevent them from exploiting their skills. In addition, they do not like domineering managers. Instead, they are fond of managers who listen to their opinions and accommodate them. Besides, the majority of millennials prefer a “work family”. They are primed to work in organisations that guarantee the safety of all staff members. Many millennials claim that they enjoy working in institutions that give them a chance to make positive impacts on society. They are relationship-oriented and do not work in institutions that do not guarantee mutual respect.
How Motivation Differs Between Generations
Millennials differ from other generations by all merits. They evaluate work from a different perspective and comprehend success differently. It explains why millennials are unable to interact and work with other generations. The factors that motivate other generations may not necessarily motivate millennials. They prefer a working environment that is not restrictive. Besides, they favour working with groups and value regular feedback.
The majority of the Baby Boomers like working individually. They believe that working independently enables organisations to recognise their contribution. Hence, organisational leaders are likely to promote them than when they work in groups. However, this does not apply for millennials. They have been brought up in an all-encompassing and participatory environment. Hence, unlike other generations that are motivated by individual assessments, millennials prefer leaders who assess job conclusion to an individual’s contribution. They like to grow as a team, and this explains why they favour teamwork.
The majority of employees in generation X do not prefer regular feedback. They argue that leaders always judge them harshly and criticise their work. In contrast, regular feedback acts as a motivation to millennials. They are used to coaching. Thus, regular feedback serves as coaching and gives them information on what they should do to improve their performance. Indeed, they encourage their managers to give them multiple comments on a daily basis.
Millennials are discontented with managers who do not encourage one-on-one discussions. They believe that such managers do not value their contributions. The majority of Baby Boomers prefer a flexible working environment. On the other hand, self-fulfilment motivates traditionalists. However, millennials prefer career development. Even though millennials value flexibility and self-fulfilment, they do not consider them to be the ultimate motivations.
Research has shown that while other generations prefer careers that earn them a lot of money, millennials are disposed to taking jobs that add value to the society regardless of the salary. The majority of millennials like organisations that empower them to organise and run their affairs. The institutions give them a chance to satisfy their social consciousness. The majority of millennials participate in charity walks, and marathons aimed to assist the less fortunate in society. It makes millennials fulfil their desire to make a difference in the community. Millennials are impatient and do not stay in institutions that do not allow them to advance their careers.
Therefore, organisations are forced to create in-between titles to motivate millennials. They prefer numerous promotions with less salary increment to intermittent promotions with significant salary increment. On the other hand, other generations prefer periodic promotions with high salary increment and can wait for any period as long as they are assured of the advancement.
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Millennials need to know the organisation’s vision. Hence, it is imperative to explain the purpose of an institution for employees. They are extremely critical and cannot stay in an organisation if they realise that their contribution does not make any difference in society. The primary difference between other generations and millennials is that the latter is critical of their activities. Hence, organisational leaders should ensure that millennials are aware of the corporate vision. Besides, leaders should ensure that millennials gain something from their day-to-day operations.
Human Resource Management Policies
Today, many organisations, especially those managed by generation X managers, find it difficult to handle millennials. The managers are not conversant with what motivates millennials. Consequently, they tend to impose their authority on them, leading to confrontations. Any organisation that wishes to benefit from millennials should adjust its human resource policies to accommodate their interests. The majority of generations look for job security.
However, millennials favour flexibility and employability. Millennials do not care about earning a big salary. Instead, they value personal accomplishment and fortification. Therefore, organisations should ensure that they establish work schedules that allow flexibility. Moreover, they should ensure that they give millennials a chance to help the society. Besides, organisations should ensure that they provide coaching at workplaces. Millennials are used to coaching. Therefore, encouraging coaching will go a long way to making millennials dedicated to their work.
Organisations should establish human resource policies that reverence individual values, particularly those associated with kin if they want to benefit from millennials. The majority of millennials claim that they value family and parenting more than anything else. They allege that they like to spend sufficient time with their children and family members. Consequently, organisations should ensure that their human resource policies allow workers to have time with their families. In addition, corporations should establish re-entry programmes that enable parents to catch up with other employees after coming from paternity leave. For instance, they should come up with plans that allow parents to work for a few hours when their children are young.
Millennials prefer institutions that allow all people to assume leadership roles regardless of their gender. Besides, they favour policies that allow them to exploit their full potential. Nevertheless, a majority of women claim that they do not like to assume leadership roles since it would be hard for them to meet other personal responsibilities. Hence, if organisations wish to benefit from talented women, they should avail numerous timeframes and avenues to leadership. Besides, they should make it possible for women to return to their leadership duties after they are through with other critical responsibilities. Human resource managers should come up with policies that consolidate life values and careers. The policies will enable organisations to attract and retain skilled women.