Engaging Millennials: A Tailored Approach

May 2015, by Lily Li and Chelsea Chen

Motivating Millennials, Part 2 (series)
In Part 1 of our Motivating Millennials series, we shared with you the “5 Types of Millennials” and promised strategies for how you can engage with them in Part 2. We are excited to share Part 2 today.

To help you understand our proposed engagement strategy, we created an engagement matrix with the x-axis marking a Millennial’s tendency to respond to their feelings vs. reason/logic and the y-axis marking a Millennial’s need for autonomy vs. guidance/support. We feel this engagement matrix successfully addresses the uniqueness of engaging the 5 types of Millennials we identified in our previous article. It serves as a starting point for how best to motivate Millennials in your workplace.

Here are some tips on how to motivate each of the 5 types of Millennials:

1) Traditionalist – Mentor me!

The Traditionalist gains assurance from stability, as they thrive on logic and consistency. The Traditionalist makes decisions based on truth and principles, regardless of the specific situation or people involved, thus acknowledging and perhaps, even complimenting them would endear The Traditionalist to you. The Traditionalist derives comfort from having someone to look up to – better yet, if the mentor is a source of aspiration for him or her. Maintain an open line of communication to let them know how they are doing and how they can improve. Demonstrating consistency and impartiality in actions and decision-making will earn the respect of The Traditionalist. Showing them how their role contributes to the overall big picture will gain their allegiance to the organization.

2) Relational Devotee – Relate to me!

As their need for relationships in life takes precedence, The Relational Devotee feels an affinity to those they can easily relate to. Try to find similarities or common interests with The Relational Devotee. Although The Relational Devotee appreciates guidance and advice, provide them support without making them feel as if they were being “mothered.” Be sure to include The Relational Devotee in team discussions or activities, as they love collaboration and teamwork. Don’t try to motivate a Relational Devotee with talks of work incentives, ambitious targets and aspirational dreams – they are much more interested in investing time and energy into their relationships both at and outside of work.

3) Dreamer – Inspire me!

The Dreamer feels alive when given the freedom to pursue their dreams – which is why it is important to give them time and resources to build on their dreams. Whether it is to be a Hollywood actress, famous food blogger or world traveller, lead them to see a greater purpose to what they do as it gives them meaning to make a greater impact in their work. Dreamers live to have their dreams realized, to make an imprint in the world they live in. If they are working for you, it is either because their current role helps foster skills toward their dream or it is because they have no choice but to work for you to make a living. Motivate them by inspiring them with possibilities, personal stories, experiences and showing genuine interest in helping them make their dreams a reality.

4) Experience Maximizer – Inspire & challenge me!

The Experience Maximizer has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and experience, which makes them prone to multi-tasking, taking up multiple skill-sets, and dabbling in just about everything they can get their hands on. They are ambitious like the Achiever, but just in a different context. They can be easily turned off by the dreaded “SOPs” and corporate culture, and thus having flexibility at work makes them feel respected and valued. As they prefer to have diverse work activity and experiences, be willing to let The Experience Maximizer explore different projects at work or give them opportunities to explore their interests outside of work. Experience Maximizers need challenge and purpose to stay engaged. If they are not happy with their experience for a long period of time, they will leave to find more interesting experiences.

5) Achiever – Challenge & mentor me!

The Achiever is easily bored, hence they need to be constantly challenged and stimulated. Given their ambitions and talent, challenging tasks (that might seem daunting to other personas) fuel their need for growth. Gamifying work or activities might even reignite the passion and excitement The Achiever craves for. Achievers like the autonomy to explore their own ambitious projects but also enjoy the comfort of having a mentor who they respect and can learn from. The Achiever makes decisions from a point of logic and often times sets targets to reach. They are highly self-motivated and cannot tolerate mediocrity. As a manager, focus on challenging these Millennials and investing resources to develop them to help them reach their preset targets.   Incentivize them with rewards, titles, and bonuses – achievers want to know they are constantly progressing and improving.

We hope that this 2-part series on Motivating Millennials have helped you better understand your co-workers and employees in a greater light. Feel free to drop us a note if these strategies have worked for you or if you have discovered other ways of engaging them. We’re also curious to know what other Millennial related topics you’d be interested to learn more about!

*We send much love to our resident Relational Devotee, Weizhen, who is currently living her dream in Paris!