group of motivated millennials at workI recently had a conversation with a friend who was struggling with managing a millennial. She asked me for thoughts on how to best manage her younger staff. As we talked, I realized that Millennials take a bad rap for being needy for things that we as leaders and managers should be doing anyway.

I had an epiphany when my friend asked, “What have you seen or heard is the best way to motivate millennials?” Here’s what I told her.

Motivating Millennials in the Workplace

If you can connect Millennials to the “why” of the work they’re doing, that can be the best way to motivate them. You’ll always have greater success as a leader—and as a company, for that matter—if your people personally connect what they do to the ultimate mission of the company. When a Millennial’s purpose and a company’s mission align, watch out—that’s a recipe for crazy success!

But this advice isn’t only for someone who manages a Millennial. As we spoke, it became clearer to me that this was actually something we should be doing for everyone, not just Millennials.

Motivated by Mission

One of our first tasks as good managers is to make sure the person has the company’s core values, and connects to the company’s culture. We call this concept “Right People.”

Next, we need to make sure this person is striving and performing at a high level in their roles and responsibilities. We call this concept “Right Seat.”

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If you want to take your leadership up a notch, you should also help your people see that helping the company achieve its goals also helps your employees get where they want to be. To put it another way, help your staff see how their “why” (what they were put on this earth to do) is aligned with the company’s “why” (what we in EOS call the company’s Purpose, Cause, or Passion).

This may be as simple as showing a team member what’s in it for them (the WIIFM) when they’re working on a task. Or it might be as deep as having a conversation about what they see as their greater purpose and how it can be accomplished at your company. Either way, expect to get as much from the conversation as your employees will.

There’s a lot of ink spilled about how different Millennials are, and a lot of confusion about what motivates this generation. But the fact is, we all need the same motivation. We need to connect our purpose to our work! Now, if I could just get some advice on the right pair of TOMS to buy…

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