We have all, at some point in our lives, come across theories or studies raising questions about what motivates employees and have, more often than not, found the answers to be money and job security. None of these studies, however, can be expected to be 100% accurate because every individual is different and so is what motivates them.
It is also not easy for an organization to understand such individual motivations, especially with a new generation of millennials who desire more than just monetary compensation or the security of a job – attributes which were, without a doubt, highly valued by their predecessors. That does not mean that they consider these attributes unimportant. While they definitely feature high on the pyramid, there’s plenty more that’s joining the queue.
The first of the many changes in employee attitudes is that individuals today desire happiness from their jobs rather than looking at it simply as a source of earning. With the increasing tech advancements, machines are being employed to complete the routine activities and humans are left to follow their passions. Employees are becoming increasingly particular about the job roles they adopt and want to ensure that it gives them a sense of contribution and satisfaction. They are willing to invest in developing their skills and to learn new job aspects to help them remain relevant to their job roles.
The second change, which is in turn an influence on job satisfaction, is the need to be respected. Employees of the current generation no longer want to be treated as novices or be beaten down simply because the person on the opposite side is several levels higher in the organizational hierarchy. This does not mean that they are arrogant or overconfident – they seem to be simply looking for fair treatment. Millennials understand the importance of experience and are willing to learn from those who have been at the job longer than them provided they are recognized for their superior work and individual talents in concrete ways.
The third change that has come about is the desire for work-life balance. Individuals today are no longer getting married at an early age which leaves them with a source of income minus the responsibilities of family life. This combined with the increasing number of entertainment options is improving what is commonly known as the ‘social life’ and ‘experience building’ of an individual. Read more about millenial spending trends here and here.
Today’s employees want to spend just as much time watching an episode of Game of Thrones or going on a solo backpacking trip across Europe (did I mention you could avail instant cash loans for travel purposes from Early Salary?), as they do looking at a spreadsheet in office. Add to that the daily traffic congestion that lines every metropolis during commutes, and you have a whole huge bunch of people preferring to work from home whenever possible.
The fourth change is the desire to control their work methods. Employees today want to be able to decide themselves how, where and when the work gets done. This is not to say that they shy away from deadlines or compromise on the quality of the work but is more about the autonomy they seek to be able to decide whether the work takes two hours or two days and to judge themselves whether the output they are giving is the best they can do.
These changes, though not exhaustive, are some of the most significant observations among the millennial employees. They are also a common reason why many from this generation today are seeking entrepreneurial activities and unconventional careers despite the high risks involved rather than the evergreen pastures of a 9 to 5 job. For leaders wanting to retain their best talent, starting to streamline compensation, benefits and work style to accommodate these changes would be a wise move and go a long way in attracting and retaining the current crop of enthusiastic and bright millennials.