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Firms need to think differently when it comes to motivating younger employees

As baby boomers enter retirement, businesses are finding they need to rethink their employee incentive programs to appeal to younger workers.

As baby boomers enter retirement, businesses are finding they need to rethink their employee incentive programs to appeal to younger workers.

A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the London Business School and the University of Southern California found that millennials are not motivated by the same financial rewards that worked to engage their parents, Employee Benefits reported. The research looked at 44,000 employees born between 1980 and 1995 and found they were more likely to stay at a job if they felt supported and were part of a team.

"Millennials want more from their jobs than just financial reward," Gaenor Bagley, head of people at PwC, told the source. "A strong and supportive team, flexibility and work-life balance are far more likely to keep this generation motivated at work and many would be willing to forgo pay rises and promotions for greater flexibility."

Employee reward programs can still be effective in motivating younger workers, but companies need to offer different rewards. Millennials seek a strong work-life balance, so offering flexible working options as an incentive for performance will likely engage them. However, this should be balanced with team-building. Creating department-wide goals or offering rewards if quarterly company objectives are met could help younger workers see the value of their contributions.

Transworld Business recommends consistency when dealing with younger workers. Whether this means pointing out failure or acknowledging success, the message needs to be the same for each individual. Managers should set a path that struggling employees can follow to get their acts together and stick to deadlines or reap the consequences, according to the source. If workers are exceeding expectations, the recognition they receive should be communicated clearly to everyone, so that all employees are energized by their success. The source states that the best way to motivate a young workforce is through open, honest and written communications.

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