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Managing and Motivating Millenial Employees

Half of the Canadian workforce will be made up of millennials by 2020*, according to Statistics Canada. Learning how to manage and motivate this group of employees will not only aid in retention strategies, but also overall revenue and productivity. Millennials are driven by different motivations than their predecessors and will respond differently to the typical compensation and reward options that businesses have offered for decades. Here are some actionable ways to manage and motivate your millennial workforce:

1.Career Opportunities
Every millennial I have talked to about their job or work cited career moves and opportunities as a key factor in choosing a place to work. They want to move up the ladder quickly or at least perceive they are moving up. Start by creating title and job role promotions. For example: Student Optician, Licensed Optician, Senior Optician and Managing Optician. You can also develop new roles like optician/social media manager so the employee feels they have taken on a new position.

2. Growth and Learning
Although this seems to hold true for most generations, offering ongoing training, learning and skill growth is not only important to millennials, they thrive when learning something new. They are the most educated generation and have been taught to receive a lot of information in a short period of time, so they are looking for more of it. Hold in-office training either by the manager and staff or bring in expertise from your industry sales reps. Take employees to conferences and events that allow them to choose the training most suited to their growth goals.

3. Compensation
Yes…here it is - close to the top of the list of what is important to motivating a millennial employee. Millennials are savvy, and they know how to find information such as “average” salary ranges for their job description. They are passive job seekers keeping an eye out for what might be a better opportunity. How do you stay a step ahead and hold onto your best employees? Pay them a little better than industry average, be a passive Internet guru yourself and stay on top of the wages and compensation in your industry and city. Also consider a different raise structure than just an annual raise. Millennials need gratification more often than once a year, so change it up and offer quarterly raises or incentives so they feel they are earning more during the year.

4. Flexibility
It is difficult for the small to medium-sized eye care business to offer flexible hours, but flexibility is high on the list of what attracts millennials to job offers. Try to think out of the box on how you can offer flexibility to your employees that does not affect the day-to-day operations. Some ideas could be personal days instead of sick days for employees to use during the year or working from home one day a month on a task you assign so you know exactly what you are getting while they are away from the office. Flexibility could also mean shorter lunch breaks, so they can leave earlier or coming in later to miss the rush hour traffic, but working later in the day.

5. Challenged
Most employees want to feel challenged and encouraged during their careers, but none as much as the millennial generation. They grew up with technology, so utilize their skill set and find out what excites them. Then find ways to incorporate that into their roles and responsibilities. Offer your mentorship to support and grow them into employees you can delegate and hand over work to while you concentrate on other parts of the business. Millennials love to “own” roles and tasks, so once you do let them go and don’t micromanage them.

6. Involvement
When I ask Millennials what they really want in a job, they tell me impact. They want to feel they are impacting in some way whether they are impacting the company or the customer and that impact must align with their values and beliefs. They also want to feel they are involved in the company and that includes the decisions, the direction and the culture. Give them the chance to feel involved and you will give them a reason to stay.

Last note: Millennials may be the easiest generation to manage as they are so forthcoming with what’s important to them. They won’t have loyalty to old ways of running a business or hierarchies of the past, but they will be loyal to a company that gives them the opportunity to be more than just an employee.