Millennials have been portrayed as the laid-back, entitled generation that doesn’t want to work for what they want. With this kind of reputation, many may wonder whether it’s possible to get this generation to compete with each other in the workplace. Turns out, it is! Encourage healthy competition between Millennial employees with these tips:
Consider the end goal.
When Millennials are asked to compete with each other for promotions or special assignments at work, they may not respond well. Millennials value collaboration, so turning against each other to get ahead is not natural to this generation. Instead of making a promotion or new job the end goal, try making it something fun such as a “leave a day early” pass or a front row parking spot. This way, the competition can keep a lighthearted, friendly tone while still motivating employees enough to work hard.
Group Millennials together.
Instead of having each employee compete against each other, group the department into separate teams. Make sure that you think carefully about the teams. Teams should have members with very different strengths and weaknesses so that each member has a chance to shine. Millennials love to collaborate, so competing against another team, while getting the chance to work with their co-workers is the best way to keep them motivated and engaged in a little healthy competition.
Talk about the journey.
Even if some of your employees don’t reach the end goal, you should still take the time to speak with them about the journey that they took in their attempt. Pull them aside for a one-on-one conversation to discuss what could have been done differently, what they succeeded at, and where they should improve. If they were in a group, be sure to single out their individual contribution to the assignment. This open and honest conversation will keep that employee motivated and competitive, ready to fight in the next office challenge!
Even when there’s no specific project or competition currently taking place in the office, leaders should still encourage Millennial employees to improve on their own. The mindset of stepping over people on your way to the top is not widely accepted by Millennials. Instead, this generation prefers to challenge themselves and believes in empowering employees to be independent. The best way to do this is to always create a culture that fosters self-improvement. Have employees train with co-workers from other departments to learn more about what they do, encourage their involvement in community organisations, and alert employees of any upcoming networking opportunities that may help them professionally. If you get employees to start thinking that they should always be on the path to improvement, then an atmosphere of healthy competition will soon follow.
Recap as a group.
Challenge Millennials in your office to solve a problem that has been plaguing the business for some time. Once the challenge is over, pick the team or single employee with the best solution. Then, bring everyone together as a group and go over what each team came up with. Lead an open conversation with everyone about the pros and cons of each. Let the group leaders talk about how their team came up with the decision, and why they thought it was the right way to go. Sometimes, competition can be viewed as cutthroat and secretive, but when you hold open discussions like this with everyone involved, it helps Millennials understand how to compete in a healthy, team atmosphere.
Do you lead a group of Millennial employees? How have you managed to create healthy competition in the workplace? Share your strategies in the comments below!