Incentra Insights

Don’t Look Now - The Millennials are Coming

Posted by David Chittock on Jun 3, 2014 4:31:00 PM

Guess What? They’re Here!

Well, we all knew they were coming and now they’re here! Generation Y workers, born between 1980 and 2000, are entering the workplace in droves. This is the generation that craves and seeks out change, innovation, immediate feedback, teamwork, and frequent rewards and recognition. They are the most tech savvy and digitally proficient generation ever produced.   However, they also have been cited as socially inept, somewhat entitled and averse to working long hours.  By 2020, they will be roughly 50% of the workforce.

Are They Really That Different?

There is no question that this generation is dramatically different from the preceding ones.  This fact is having an enormous impact on how we recognize, reward, and ultimately engage this age group. In most companies there are now four generations working side by side.  Unfortunately, a lot of companies are still stuck in the past, using a “one size fits all” approach that pretty much ignores multigenerational diversity.  They feel it would be just too costly and too time consuming to change.

No Worries – Technology to the Rescue

Well you can put that fear aside.  The most important aspect of a great workforce recognition program is flexibility (that is, as long as you have the right technology!).  A flexible program can be extremely cost effective and exceedingly easy to implement.  What you're going to need is a technology solution that provides you the customization you'll need to effectively recognize a diverse workforce.

 What is Generation Y Really Like?

So what do you need to keep in mind when designing a recognition program targeting Generation Y?  In an article in The Workplace, Jay Gilbert describes some generational traits to consider when designing your program:

  • Millennials are well educated, skilled in technology, very self-confident, able to multi-task, and have plenty of energy.

  • They have high expectations for their company and themselves, and prefer to work in teams, rather than as individuals.

  • They seek challenges, yet work life balance is of utmost importance to them.

  • They are socially minded and will say that giving back and being civically engaged are their highest priorities.

  • They are interested in feedback on their performance but want to know that they’ve done a good job, and they want to know now.

  • They have developed into a group that wants to work on new and tough problems, and ones that require creative solutions.

  • They want feedback to be timely and frequent and delivered in a constructive, not critical, manner.

  • They are extremely innovative and want leadership to recognize and promote their ideas.

What Can a Manager Actually Do?

Some additional advice for managers includes providing millennials checklists, offering plenty of help, rewarding them for innovating and taking appropriate risks, engaging them with frequent feedback, providing them with mentors, and creating a collegial and team-oriented culture.

Why You Need a Savvy Partner

Of course what you’ll need is a technology partner who can provide you the flexibility and agility to effectively meet all your workforce generational needs.  You’ll also need a rewards program that addresses the diverse tastes and preferences of an increasingly diverse workforce.