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8 Reasons Millennials Seem To Be Lazy At Work

8 Reasons Millennials Seem To Be Lazy At Work

Millennials are challenging the traditional notion of work. As they become the largest fraction of the U.S. workforce, more and more businesses are struggling with the demands and work ethics of Gen Y employees. If you are struggling to understand their needs and find ways to engage with them, here are eight reasons why you might be failing and think of the whole generation as lazy and non-work driven, while the reality is quite the opposite.

1. They no longer value the traditional workplace rules

Strict dress code? Fines for being late for 10 minutes? Meetings for the sake of meetings? Millennials no longer deem such things important and often fail to compile with out-dated rules. They will not work for a company where certain things are done because “it’s always been done that way.” This generation has often been called the generation of tinkerers and shortcut-takers. They don’t want to get things done “just because.” They want to get tasks done in the most efficient, least time-consuming way possible and squeeze out the max results.

Next time you think a 20-something employee is just being lazy, have a closer look at his productivity time. He might just have written a simple code to do copy-pasting for him and now enjoys longer lunches while the job is still being done by itself.

2. They believe in life, not work-life balance

Work is not everything millennials want in life. They would like to have time for their friends, family, hobbies, and other small pleasures and pastimes. They work to live, not live to work. That’s why the concept of lifestyle business gained so much popularity in the last decade among these folks. Millennials want to combine their passion with profit and work long hours on projects they feel passionate about, rather than helping someone else reach their profit benchmark.

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In fact, think about this the next time you are nagging a millennial about why they don’t get a real job and how they should stop wasting their time shooting makeup videos or hunting for stuff around flea markets to sell it on Ebay or Etsy: These young and extremely successful entrepreneurs built their business around their lifestyle:

  • Michelle Phan started as a makeup blogger and YouTuber and now owns a company with an expected revenue of $120 million in 2015.
  • Tim Ferriss is a living legend, a highly successful author best known for “The 4 Hour Workweek,” and a serial entrepreneur, having launched a series of profitable businesses revolving around his hobbies.
  • James Khezrie launched his first menswear store Jimmy Jazz in Brooklyn that has now become a popular nationwide chain and an online store. He was fueled by his love for fashion and good music.
  • Marie Forleo is an extremely successful business coach running an award-winning show, “Marie TV,” and premium training program, B-School where she teaches how anyone can create the life and business they love, while earning a few thousand dollars per year.

3. They don’t want to be just another cog in the wheel

Yes, millennials have been bashed as “the entitled generation” too many times. Yet the reason for this is that millennials are not seeking a life-long career to pay the bills. They want a job with a purpose and to do something meaningful in life. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, six out of 10 respondents said a sense of purpose was the main reason why they chose to work for a certain company.

On the other hand, most companies don’t provide their young employees with the desired setting as 28 percent of respondents from the same survey admitted they feel that their current employer is making full use of their skills.

If you want to keep your millennial workforce content and productive, your company should focus on empowering workers and explaining to them why they should care, stressing how each team member contributes to the overall success, and praise more individual efforts rather than team accomplishments or managers only.

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4. They value intangible work benefits more

A millennial job seeker is armed with technology and the Internet. They can get to know all the tiny details about your company, including reviews from former and current employers, before committing to the job. They no longer want just a desk, fixed-working hours, pension plan, and annual bonuses like other generations did.

They are more attracted by intangible benefits like a friendly work culture, a lack of micromanagement and bureaucracy, sabbaticals, and more, along with some more palpable perks like a cool office space, permission to bring pets to work, or wellness benefits. There are numerous low-cost perks a company can offer employees to keep them content, loyal, and motivated, other than lucrative salary.

5. They are used to being flexible and doing things on the go

Millennials are used to answering emails, making calls, and solving problems on the go. That’s why they don’t feel the need to be anchored to their desk during traditional work hours. Why should anyone spend eight hours in front of the desk when they are already done with their daily plan and can answer a few late emails from the nearby coffee shop? They just don’t get why people get paid for simply showing up unless the job requires their physical presence.

This generation does not want to repeat the mistakes of their parents who spent over 60 hours per week at work; instead they want it all — a successful career and the life outside the cubicle. Being tech savvy, they have the ability to set up their office anywhere and work at their own flexible hours, while accomplishing even more compared to their peers stuck in the office.

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6. They are autonomous

Most of them learned to type and use Google earlier than they started writing properly. Millennials know how and where to find information they need and often take advantage of free online learning tools out there to gain lacking skills. Besides, they grew up hearing stories about 20-something tech entrepreneurs launching their multi-billion companies from a dorm. These stories help ambitious millennial workers feel like they have the ability to be successful too.

Young executives today don’t want to be micromanaged and preached to; they want to be actively involved in the decision-making process and don’t get why their voice doesn’t count. If your company seeks innovation and the urge to progress and develop further, let them speak and act. Allowing even the most junior person on the team to share an idea about the product can bring huge positive impact.

7. They want transparency

Millennial workers don’t merely nod and do as they are told by the manager, unless they see and understand the logics behind the decision. They don’t want to waste their time on things reasoned with “I’m the boss, I know better”. They want to know the “why” behind most important decisions made. .” They want to know why important are decisions made. They may not always agree with them, but they’ll appreciate the candidness.

8. They want to learn from experience

Most millennials are rather ambitious and won’t be satisfied with working as a middle manager for the rest of their days. They crave new knowledge and first-hand experience. They are focused on personal growth, and unlike older generations they don’t think their education is done the day they have graduated from college. In fact, they are often life-long learners. They opt for courses and training based on real-life experience, rather than pursuing another degree, certification, or diploma to hang in their office.

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Allow your Gen Y workforce to spend time on mastering new skills, watching courses, or listening to podcasts. In fact, encourage them and set up a tuition-reimbursement fund, occasionally invite speakers to your office, and send your employees to training sessions and workshops.

Featured photo credit: Sara Cimino via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

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Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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