What Is The #1 Thing That Millennials Don’t Want At Work?
Last week, Pew Research determined the definition of the Millennial Generation to be those born between 1981 and 1996, and those born after this time to be, for now, defined as the Post-Millennial Generation. During recent years, our clients have asked us to work with their offspring to help these generations better understand their place in the world. We have enjoyed helping them build self-awareness through our assessments. With the realization of who they are, they take action by having stronger conviction in the decisions that they make regarding their college major and career path, and they have more fulfilling relationships with their parents and others. For us, having what we do daily in the financial services industry now being applied more to the personal development of youths has been some of the most rewarding work that we have done in the last two decades.
We have also had the opportunity to assess 132 students for a Business Communications Class at a community college. This class is one of the foundational courses necessary to obtain a major in the fields of Accounting, Economics, Finance, Management, Hospitality Management, and Marketing at this institution. We asked our post-millennial intern to take the lead in understanding the results and she wrote an insightful report on the drivers to fulfillment for these students. Understanding an individual’s motivators can provide important insights into why he or she acts a certain way. Motivators are described as the driving forces behind a person’s behavior, and they can be helpful in identifying a person’s passions as well as the lens that they use to view the world. Understanding a person’s motivators helps you understand how THEY uniquely define success, which often is not the same as how their parents or siblings may define it.
The highly researched and validated model that we use describes six different motivators that are present in everyone with varying degrees of intensity. The more intense the motivator, the more influential it will be for that individual. The top three motivators reflect a person’s interests; these motivators must be satisfied for one to feel fully engaged and fulfilled at this point in time. The bottom three motivators represent things that an individual may avoid or look down upon. MapMyStrengths.com identifies these six motivators as:
- Economic – Utility & Efficiency Goal
- Conceptual – Knowledge & Discovery Goal
- Power – Authority & Responsibility Goal
- Aesthetic – Harmony & Creative Expression Goal
- Regulatory – Principle & Purpose Goal
- Humanitarian – Altruism & Generosity Goal
What We Learned
These students placed an increased emphasis on the three individually oriented motivators: Economic, Conceptual, and Power. More than twice as many students reported having one of these motivators in their top three in comparison to one of the group-oriented motivators (Aesthetic, Regulatory, and Humanitarian). This indicates that as a whole, students in this class are more focused on achieving their own goals than working together to further the entire group. The results of these assessments can help to shed some light on many characteristics of millennials that may perplex members of other generations.
Out of all six motivators, Regulatory was the least likely to be seen in the top three. This indicates that these millennials place less of an emphasis on the traditional way of doing things in comparison to older generations. This can help to explain why millennials are more likely to reject a structured 9-5 cubicle job in favor of one that provides them with the flexibility to express themselves in more creative manners. Most millennials crave some sort of creative and unique work environment. Something as simple as trading in the cubicles for a more open and communal office layout can significantly increase a millennial’s mood and productivity. Their lower Regulatory levels may indicate that these individuals may not feel as obligated to stay with one company. Another possibility is that millennials may be frustrated with the lack of responsibilities that they are given as new hires. This may be the reason that this generation has been known to switch jobs every couple of years. This trend came as a shock to older members of the workforce because baby boomers and Generation Xers have been known to stay with one company for decades at a time. While it is easy to write millennials off as being impatient and fickle, a look into their motivators offers another explanation. The most commonly valued motivator among these millennials was Economic, indicating that the generation’s frequent job changes could also be motivated by a desire for increased financial security and benefits.
The Answer to Our Question
We have learned from our research and our numerous personal discussions that these two generations, more than any other, do NOT want to be JUDGED using the same standards as the past! No one likes to be put in a box, but they REALLY don’t like it. This also is reinforced by the low emphasis result of their Regulatory Motivator.
It is evident that millennials differ from older members of the workforce in a number of ways, but a simple look at their motivators may be all it takes to solve the mystery behind the generations. Motivator analysis is essential to developing a management approach that can be effectively tailored to individual employees. Passionate and enthusiastic people are not hard to find as long as one takes the time to understand the things that fulfill THEM!