By Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton

1. The Rise of the Millennials in the Workplace

By 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the US workforce, creating a dramatic change in the way Boomers and Gen-Xers must manage team productivity. The good news is that Millennials bring unique strengths to their work—creativity, drive, and technological aptitude—but some of their needs present challenges to managers. For instance, they are demanding more individual coaching and feedback, focused career development, and recognition for their achievements—and most organizations have not shifted to meet those needs.

The best managers are discovering that when they truly understand their employees’ motivations and begin to sculpt jobs to help Millennials feel purpose and growth, they can cut younger worker turnover. In our latest book, The Best Team Wins, we quote placement executives with the Harvard Business School who say firms recruiting MBAs have a huge competitive advantage when they emphasize a real commitment to helping younger workers develop their careers—and then following through. After all, it usually takes years to affect an employee’s compensation in a meaningful way. And yet what every manager can do is help their people learn and grow.

2. Culture and Engagement

According to a global study of 32,000 executives by Willis Towers Watson, 90% of senior leaders recognize the value of employee engagement, and 79% consider engagement a key driver of business success, but only 24% of executives believe people in their work cultures are engaged enough to drive their businesses forward. Despite all the effort organizations have put into engaging their people over the past few decades, employee engagement levels remain flat overall. Obviously, something is missing.

We have surveyed more than 850,000 people on workplace issues and found that the best cultures properly incorporate motivators at work by managing to the one. Let us explain: Conventional wisdom was that all employees should be treated equally because it’s fair. That’s old-school thinking, and our most sophisticated clients have found it prevents their managers from getting the best out of each individual. What the best clients are doing is forging customized work motivators and engagement paths to help employees do a little more of what they find motivating and a little less of what frustrates them—and this is significantly increasing engagement levels in workers. It’s a new paradigm in employee engagement—managing to the one—and can lead to big results.

3. Growing Despite Agile Competition

In today’s turbulent markets, it’s vital to develop organizational agility—identifying and capturing opportunities more quickly than rivals. McKinsey found the benefits of enhanced agility include higher revenues, more satisfied customers and employees, improved operational efficiency, and a faster time to market—all good stuff.

While most leaders we speak with know their competitive advantage comes from their people, few truly know how to get their people to be innovative. As our team conducts training on workplace motivators within organizations, it’s amazing how often senior leaders of old-school businesses ask us to push their people to take more smart risks and challenge the status quo. They are desperate for agility. The solution comes as you start developing a culture where people feel psychologically safe to speak up and have their voices heard, all with a positive emphasis on achieving. That begins with defining what agility means in your culture and making concrete commitments to change, and it means creating a safe place for taking risks and debating issues.

4. Diversity and Inclusion

In a study done by MIT engineers, researchers found the most successful teams were the most diverse. Every day we speak with leaders concerned about diversity and inclusion issues. Many think of diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, age, etc.—and those are important—but the smart leaders we work with recognize another kind of diversity and inclusion that is just as powerful: Differences in work styles or how people think about, organize, and complete their tasks. When team members have the same style, which happens often, they tend to underperform. For instance, if everyone has an analytical approach to work and dislikes disruption, out-of-the-box new product development is almost impossible.

Managers must start to think about what motivates each of their people to make assignments that can best utilize people’s specific drivers and help them work better with their teammates. The goal is to create teams of diverse employees who look at work challenges in different, innovative ways. Schedule a call with FindMojo to get your copy of The Motivators Assessment.

Leave a Reply