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Motivating millennials – mystery solved?

Britain’s over-55s have been identified as the most motivated group of workers, with 42 percent motivated every day, whereas less than a quarter of millennials (those born between 1992 and 2000) share the same drive. 

With millennials set to form 50 percent of the global workforce[1]by 2020, understanding their motivators and implementing a motivational strategy to help them perform at their best, will impact positively on businesses and the wider economy. Delving into employee motivation levels, the nationwide survey, conducted by Argos for Business, has highlighted a disparity in motivational drivers between the age groups. Only a third of younger employees enjoy working as part of a team, in comparison to over a half of all other workers who appreciate the camaraderie of their teammates.

And perhaps yet to adjust to the ways of work, younger teammates already hope to experience a different way of working with 34 percent keen to work alone rather than part of a group, a stark contrast to the mere eight percent of over 55s who would like to operate solo. With over a third of 16 to 24 year olds eager to detach from their teammates, effectively motivating them to work collaboratively with their colleagues and understand team dynamics will help them adjust to teamwork and keep this vital demographic working within organisations.

The enthusiasm of youth is evident in the research, showing a third of millennials enjoy asking questions to get work done, while 58 percent of their more experienced colleagues work through ideas independently. Thankfully, a fifth of older team-workers enjoy motivating others, providing support to younger staff. Additionally, a quarter of younger employees are keen to take on new projects, in contrast to only a tenth of all other age groups who enjoy tackling new challenges.

The study comes in line with Employee Motivation Day 2016, a day created by Argos for Business to inspire passion and appreciation across the country’s workforce. The leading provider of incentive and motivational solutions is hosting this annual event to encourage all organisations to put motivation to the forefront of business thinking and champion creative ways of engaging staff.

Conducted to better understand what motivates Brits in their nine to five, the research also revealed the impact of praise and recognition in the workplace, with a personal ‘thank you’ by a manager or director identified as the top motivational factor in helping all UK employees feel engaged. Verbal recognition from a peer ranked far higher across the board (33 percent) than performance related bonuses, or extra holidays, which motivated only seven percent of Brits. Verbal praise is the most motivational for millennials in particular, with two fifths preferring positive feedback to financial rewards, which only drives a mere three percent of younger employees. Overall, one in 10 UK workers state they are more likely to remain in a company long-term if they are regularly praised.

Looking at the UK workforce as a whole, 30 percent of teams feel motivated just three days a week. A slump in motivation levels for the remaining two days of the working week could cost the UK’s economy a significant sum in lost productivity. This further emphasises the benefits of ensuring a fully engaged and driven workforce.Emma Glennon, head of key clients at Argos for Business, says: “Employee Motivation Day is the opportune time for organisations to ensure that their teams are supporting each other with positive recognition. Nearly half of employees feel a strong sense of accomplishment when their efforts are praised,which will improve motivation levels and impact positively on a business’s bottom line.

“However, motivational strategies are as diverse as the demographics they’re intended for, and with the research identifying millennials as requiring more motivation than their more experienced colleagues, a one size fits all approach is not advisable.”Emma adds: ‘This February, we hope that business leaders, directors and managers ask themselves if they have a motivated workforce around them – the business is more likely to thrive if the answer is yes, as they reap the performance benefits that come with a driven, hardworking and experienced team.”

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