Millennials get bad a rap, especially when it comes to their workplace reps. Gen X and Baby Boomer managers tend to judge millennials harshly for their work style and expectations and are often left wondering: "What do millennials really want at work anyway?" According to a 2014 study by IBM's Institute for Business Value, they want the same things we all do. In fact, it turns out there are minimal differences between millennials and other generations when it comes to career aspirations.
IBM researchers looked at 1,784 employees from 12 countries and six industries. The survey revealed that as many millennials want to make a positive impact at their workplace as their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts. Researchers also concluded that while millennials' "digital proficiency" sets them apart, they share similar attitudes with other generations around career, goals, recognition, engagement and leadership styles.
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By 2020, millennials will make up half of the American workforce so it's time to give up the blame game and start working together. We can and should leverage the unique gifts this group brings to the workplace and ride the wave known as "millennial momentum" to business success. Here are five lessons you can learn from your millennial colleagues:
1. Pay people with what motivates them
Millennials appreciate diversity and understand that people aren't one size fits all. And like many workers today, they aren't always motivated by bags of money. The work of Harvard University psychologist David McClelland on social motives taught us that we all have innate needs that drive us in our work lives. I use the four motivators of motivational currency: performance, people, power, and purpose. Successful motivational leadership is about being able to recognize primary motivations, read what motivates your team and lead with intention so you can motivate others quickly and efficiently.