Many organisations are struggling with motivation in the workplace and particularly with Gen-Y employees. Through research, a new staff engagement strategy can be built for this demographic.

Gen-Y Employees

Generation Y is the demographic group that followed Generation X. They were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s.

Gen-Y employees have witnessed the biggest generation gap. While companies struggle with how to motivate staff from this cohort and bridge the age gap.

This year TIME published an article which described this group, otherwise known as Millennials, as “lazy entitled narcissists.” Evidently Gen-Y employees are gaining a bad reputation where motivation is concerned.

Yet, employer’s engagement strategies may be misplaced as a different approach is needed for this demographic. It’s now clear that the one-size-fits-all approach isn’t working.

great{with}talent conducted research of 16,000 employees in UK organisations. They asked them to rank the relative importance of 12 key factors that underpin employee commitment.

Significant differences were seen between the needs of younger and older employees. To save resources on recruitment, by decreasing staff turnover, these needs must be met to increase staff retention.

Read:Employee Research Topic: Employee Demographics.

Younger workers, consistent with Generation Y claims, are the most change-orientated and career-driven. Both career progression and personal growth decrease in importance with age.

Meanwhile, older employees have higher levels of job satisfaction and organisational commitment. Though, this difference is surely always true and not specific to Gen-Y employees.

Younger staff are often finding their footing in a career, ambitious and in need of encouragement. Though, other factors may also be at work.

Gen-Y Employees and Educational Differences

Gen-Y also has a higher level of university graduates than ever before. Therefore the needs of a once niche group are slowly becoming the motivations of a large percentage in a new generation of workers.

The study also showed that there are educational differences between employees needs. Staff with a degree-level education place higher importance on work values linked to challenge and advancement. These include career progression, job satisfaction, personal growth and autonomy.

In contrast, non-graduate employees value more tangible, immediate factors such as salary, line manager relationships, loyalty and working conditions.

Graduates have higher levels of organisational commitment than non-graduates. They are also more likely to leave an organisation.

Staff Engagement Strategy

One way to find out how to motivate staff from Generation Y is to conduct an employee engagement survey. By enlisting a third party, you create anonymity and your workforce can be more open and honest in their responses.

Find out more about great{with}talent’s employee engagement surveys.

The results will show the differences between your employees’ needs and follow-up action can be taken to engage staff. This in turn will lower staff turnover and save resources.

Gen-Y Employees and Technology

Leah Darrow of Awardco, suggest technology is a driving factor in Gen-Y motivation in the workplace. Millennials work and socialise through technology. By providing them with the best tools to perform their work, they will be more productive and engaged.

She says, “Companies think they’re saving money by scraping by with old, outdated technology, but the loss of productivity is astronomical, not to mention the turnover from infuriated employees.”

Keeping up to date with technology can also make companies more competitive in other ways. If at all possible, technology is an investment in both the organisation and its staff.

Gen-Y Employees and Appreciation

Forbes suggests simply beginning a meeting by asking about something other than work. They said, “For example, say, “Before we begin today, I want to go around the room and quickly hear everyone’s most memorable moment from this weekend.””

This will make Gen-Y employees feel like they are recognised as individuals. It will also compliment the modern FoMo outlook, particularly for younger employees.

Unfortunately, Generation Y are also living at home longer with the boomerang effect due to a longer time in education and a tough economic climate. They have become accustomed to being encouraged and are somewhat needy. Not to mention the obsessions with followers and likes on social media.

This group do need more encouragement than former generations. By genuinely thanking them for a smaller task they’ve done well or challenging them with a project, they feel appreciated and trusted.

In turn, this will increase your Gen-Y employees’ organisational commitment. Furthermore, it will increase productivity and decrease staff turnover.

Gen-Y Employees and Flexibility

More and more, people are working flexible hours. Commuting is overcrowded, people have different patterns and want a work-life balance. Whilst some companies have to deal with 24-7 businesses.

Employees of all generations are coming to expect organisations to adapt and rely less on a 9-5 workday. Flexible working hours can benefit some companies directly, from news companies to international conglomerates. It also can be beneficial indirectly.

By offering more flexible working hours, employees feel more like individuals. When working hours can meet your staff’s needs, they come to work more relaxed and motivated. This is certainly something to consider across the board.

Gen-Y employees are creative, highly skilled, adaptable and technology literate. By acknowledging this demographic, companies can make the most of their investments in recruiting and training, have a productive workforce and increase staff retention.

Contact great{with}talent and find out more about their TalentEngage employee engagement surveys.

(Main image from Luther College)