When they start a new job, most employees are highly motivated. Somewhere along the way, many of them begin losing sight of the positive aspects and start feeling trapped in a job that only puts bacon on the table. It’s all about motivation.
Cultural influences are the key
Why do we need to consider the motivational factors of any single generation over another? Surely, we’re all human beings; each of us is an individual with our own character and motivational make-up. True – but sociologists agree that, just as cultural influences evolve, so do the factors that drive us towards personal satisfaction. Of course, this constant evolution is usually a gradual process. However, with the Millennials, it seems to be have been a pretty rapid change in attitudes.
So – what is a ‘millennial’ and how are they different?
Opinion seems to be fairly consistent. Millennials are those born between the mid-1980s and the mid-90s. As for as your Accountancy Practice is concerned, they’re those employees you’ve recruited in the past 10 years or so.
How are they different in their motivational drivers from their predecessors? Think about the big changes that have affected society while these millennials were growing up. Two in particular. The world wide web and global warming. Both phenomena (the first more than the second – although that is changing faster than you might think). Affect the aspirations, hopes, goals and aspirations of today’s young people.
Unlike previous generations, millennials need more to keep them happy than mere social status and financial incentives.
How do we spot unmotivated employees?
Here a few signs, some more obvious than others –
- Their work performance drops
- The appear unhappy, generally dissatisfied
- They never bring up new ideas
- They rarely disagree
- They avoid opportunities for training
- They lack initiative
- They seem to lose interest in advancing their career
How do we re-ignite their enthusiasm?
Number one – you need to keep them happy. Seems obvious but to know how isn’t quite so straightforward. Many employees, especially millennials need more than a fat paycheck at the end of the month. Here are some strategies that will keep your younger people engaged –
- Make them feel listened to
Millennials are a generation that relies on communication more than any other previous generations. The internet and everything that comes with it makes people used to fast, almost instant, communication. People want to be heard and acknowledged. We should make sure all our people have a safe haven to express ourselves. We should always hear them out and respond quickly and constructively.
- Avoid rejecting their ideas too often
Employees whose ideas often get rejected are more likely to eventually give up and stop trying. We should consider every idea thoroughly before dismissing it, and, if possible, avoid saying ‘no’ too often. From time to time, give your people the chance to go ahead with their ideas, even when you are not 100% confident things will work out. If it works, everybody wins. If it doesn’t, they’ll try harder and be more motivated to make things work next time.
- Give them credit for their ideas
Everyone enjoys praise. It’s vital to keep people feeling valued. However, it’s easy for us to slip into the mistake of regarding established employees as ‘part of the furniture’. We start taking them for granted. Without going overboard and being ‘gushing’ in our praise, we must always give credit for employees’ efforts and ideas. Millennials tend to have a finely-tuned sense of fairness and are used to functioning on rewards-based systems. So make sure to give praise where it’s due.
- Encourage initiative
Empowering your people and encouraging them to take responsibility will help them stay active, motivated, and willing to do more. Set up incentives. Include them in the decision-making process. Nothing breaks the spirit of a person like following orders all day long, with few explanations. Run monthly surveys or organise meetings to invite opinions, especially when the decisions about to be made are going to affect their lives.
- Give their work meaning
Meaningful work is the highest motivation for millennial employees. Surveys show that employees who find their work meaningful are happier and healthier than those who don’t. Make sure that your company’s mission statement acknowledges obligations to your community and the environment than just making profit. Almost everyone dreams of giving back, so you need to clarify how, by working for your company, they can do exactly that.
Make motivation loss a thing of the past
Many young people today will join your Practice well-qualified and well-grounded in the skills you need. Your role is to maintain their natural enthusiasm. From on-boarding onwards, you need to treat your new people as individuals. Find out about their interests and their ambitions – what makes them tick. Then, by applying the strategies listed above, you’ll keep your employee turnover lower and their motivation high.
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