Millennials in the Workplace: Motivation vs. Compensation

This is part 3 in a week-long series titled The Millennial Revolution.
Part 1: The Millennial Revolution: An Experiment
Part 2: Millennials in the Workplace: Lead. Don’t Manage.

I’ve quit a couple of jobs in my life. When I did, something odd usually happened – I was offered more money.

Only later did that strike me as backwards. I hated working for the company, dreaded each and every day, felt like the life was being sucked out of me, and they wanted me to stay. Who would want someone like that working for their company? People who feel that way are a cancer. I was a cancer to them and they were a cancer to me.

Remove the cancer! Don’t offer it more money to hang around!

But that’s how many companies operate. They assume that the only reason someone would leave their great establishment must be that they were offered more money. Then they try to throw more money at them so they’ll hang around.

But if I have my basic monetary needs taken care of, do I really need more money? Is that really what’s going to motivate me? Is money the only way to measure for success? Or do I believe that if I pursue something that fulfills me spiritually, emotionally, physically and monetarily that I’ll ultimately be more successful and fulfilled? Even if I don’t have as much stuff?

When polled, Millennials consistently respond that fiscal motivators don’t matter to them once their basic needs are met. Instead, they place three things above monetary rewards as the most important part of their job.

Millennials Want to Work in Their Strengths and Passions

While they’re not delusional in thinking that they’ll always love every aspect of a job, they also don’t believe that they should slog through their lives never finding satisfaction in their work just to chase a paycheck with more zeros. If they’re going to dedicate over a third of their lives to something, Millennials want to find fulfillment.

How do you find fulfillment in work? Do something you are gifted and talented at and do it for something you’re passionate about. If a person is a gifted accountant and they love the work, but abhor the company they work for, can they be fulfilled? Conversely, if that same person finds themselves as a hiring manager for a company they otherwise love, can they be fulfilled?

In both cases, we know the answer.

Companies that take time to match more than just skills to a position but strengths and passion to a position will find employees who are more likely to make a longer-term home at the company. But this is difficult work. It requires a change in the way you hire.

Most companies view “qualifications” as more important than passion and desire to learn. As for me, I will always take a less qualified person who is passionate for my company and the position. In the long-run, they will always outperform someone without those traits.

Millennials Want Autonomy

If you missed yesterday’s post, it can be summed up this way: most companies are superb at control. Unfortunately for them, Millennials won’t tolerate being controlled. They want to be led. Big difference.

Most people think “individualism” when they hear the word “autonomy.” But that’s not what Millennials want. In fact, it’s generally just the opposite. They thrive in team environments. They seek out people to team up with in their personal lives. They are extremely interconnected.

In his new book, “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”, author Daniel Pink writes that autonomy can best be thought of as “acting with choice.” He then writes the following:

“[People want] autonomy over four aspects of work: what they do, when they do it, how they do it, and whom they do it with.”

Very few companies give their employees even one of those choices, let alone all four. If you want to attract and retain Millennials, your company will need to find ways to give people autonomy over their work. Let them pick projects. Let them choose their team for a project. Let them set their schedules.

If you don’t give your employees autonomy, someone else will. And if no other company will, they will take the brightest minds of their generation and start their own competing company and you’ll be in trouble.

Millennials Want Purpose

If you go back and read the comments on the last two posts from Millennials (Joey, Julie, Amber, Joel, Niles) you’ll see a common theme: they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to feel like they’re doing work that actually matters.

They want to make a difference.

How do you make a difference? The answer is going to be different for each person but all will have a common thread – leveraging what they do for the benefit of something greater.

Sometimes this purpose comes from working with an organization like Children’s Hunger Fund or Habitat for Humanity. Other times, it can come from seeing how the work they do directly impacts the product or service your company provides and changes the lives of those who use it.

You must show Millennials how they are making an impact on a larger world by working with your company. Tell stories of the people being impacted. Let them meet your clients. Serve in the community with them. There are a lot of ways to make this happen.

Millennials At Your Exit?

Every single Millennial who’s commented on these posts has done something that most companies have never been able to understand: they went to another company that was offering less money. Or, in a couple of cases, they left a well-paying job to create their own company. This includes myself.

Why?

The answer is simple: we will leave for less money if we get all or most of these somewhere else. If you want to keep us, learn to motivate us by creating a company we will thrive in. Don’t just try to compensate our misery.

If you provide these things, many of us will give you more of ourselves than you could ever imagine. Your company will thrive.

Millennials: Would you say these three things are more important than additional financial incentive? Is there anything you would place above these things?

Business Owners: How do you think you do in these areas? What questions do you have about them?

About the Author

  • JessieX

    Heard of Millennials in the Workplace? Latest book by Neil Howe, who coined the term "Millennials" well over a decade ago with his co-writer, Bill Strauss. Cliff notes and cheat sheet here: http://www.lifecourse.com/assets/files/Millennial… I think you'll enjoy it! And, yes, in full disclosure, I work with the author. He's my intellectual super hero!

    • Thanks! I'll take a look at that. I hadn't heard of it but it sounds like a great read. I'll be compiling a list of additional resources for people at the end of the series. I'll add it to the list.

  • JessieX

    Heard of Millennials in the Workplace? Latest book by Neil Howe, who coined the term "Millennials" well over a decade ago with his co-writer, Bill Strauss. Cliff notes and cheat sheet here: http://www.lifecourse.com/assets/files/Millennial… I think you'll enjoy it! And, yes, in full disclosure, I work with the author. He's my intellectual super hero!

    • Thanks! I'll take a look at that. I hadn't heard of it but it sounds like a great read. I'll be compiling a list of additional resources for people at the end of the series. I'll add it to the list.

  • Cool. I think the book will be right up your alley. And if you don't want to read the whole book, the "cliff notes" PDF isn't a bad route to take.

  • Cool. I think the book will be right up your alley. And if you don't want to read the whole book, the "cliff notes" PDF isn't a bad route to take.

  • Travis,

    Notch off another great post in this series! After all said and done, I think you could take these posts, the comments, and content / interaction from your talk tomorrow and package it all together into a training seminar of sorts. I see tremendous value in offering that seminar to businesses that need improvement in these areas.

    As far as this post goes – you nailed it! I started working consistently as soon as I could get a work permit – 14 1/2 years old in Maryland. At the time, I would take any job that I could get. For the next five years or so, it was about money… sure, I was working to gain the experience, support my car / driving fund, and the like; but I also wanted to be able to buy a lot of material things. Isn't ideal looking back on it but, hey, I was a kid. After being in the workforce for a few years I started to realize that it definitely wasn't always about money. At least once (maybe twice), I left a job for another position that paid less because the environment would be better or there would be more opportunity for me to voice my opinion and have a say in things.

    Now, having been working for almost 15 years, it is all about the non-financial motivators that make a difference. Obviously the money is a key component as I need to support my family, but the other factors you mentioned are really the driving forces when considering my employment.

    I'm looking forward to hearing about your talk tomorrow and how it was received.

    Ryan

    • Wow, thanks! I've been thinking about doing something like that with this series. There is so much to talk about with this subject that these posts are really just scratching the surface.

      And thanks for sharing your story. I did very much the same thing. I chased money for years and it nearly wrecked me. Don't get me wrong, I want to be wealthy. I just realize that wealth and pursuing my strengths, passions, purpose and autonomy aren't mutually exclusive.

      I remember when "getting a good job" meant getting a high-paying job. Now, I don't want a "job" – I want to work at something I'm passionate about and pursue excellence in it every day. I've been doing that for a couple of years now and I can't even imagine going back.

      It sounds like we have a lot in common. It's too bad we're a 1,000+ miles away – I'd buy you a cup of coffee.

  • Travis,

    Notch off another great post in this series! After all said and done, I think you could take these posts, the comments, and content / interaction from your talk tomorrow and package it all together into a training seminar of sorts. I see tremendous value in offering that seminar to businesses that need improvement in these areas.

    As far as this post goes – you nailed it! I started working consistently as soon as I could get a work permit – 14 1/2 years old in Maryland. At the time, I would take any job that I could get. For the next five years or so, it was about money… sure, I was working to gain the experience, support my car / driving fund, and the like; but I also wanted to be able to buy a lot of material things. Isn't ideal looking back on it but, hey, I was a kid. After being in the workforce for a few years I started to realize that it definitely wasn't always about money. At least once (maybe twice), I left a job for another position that paid less because the environment would be better or there would be more opportunity for me to voice my opinion and have a say in things.

    Now, having been working for almost 15 years, it is all about the non-financial motivators that make a difference. Obviously the money is a key component as I need to support my family, but the other factors you mentioned are really the driving forces when considering my employment.

    I'm looking forward to hearing about your talk tomorrow and how it was received.

    Ryan

    • Wow, thanks! I've been thinking about doing something like that with this series. There is so much to talk about with this subject that these posts are really just scratching the surface.

      And thanks for sharing your story. I did very much the same thing. I chased money for years and it nearly wrecked me. Don't get me wrong, I want to be wealthy. I just realize that wealth and pursuing my strengths, passions, purpose and autonomy aren't mutually exclusive.

      I remember when "getting a good job" meant getting a high-paying job. Now, I don't want a "job" – I want to work at something I'm passionate about and pursue excellence in it every day. I've been doing that for a couple of years now and I can't even imagine going back.

      It sounds like we have a lot in common. It's too bad we're a 1,000+ miles away – I'd buy you a cup of coffee.

  • Sandra

    Travis,
    You hit the nail on the head. As part of the leadership team of our architectural firm, it is our responsibility to make sure our employees (lots of them being millennials) are motivated by intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, rewards. We've found these young people are great multi-taskers and want that autonomy to be able to do that. They can design a building, text and post on FB almost at the same time, and don't tell them they can't! It will hinder their creativity, and dare I say, even productivity.

    In these tough economic times, money is definitely part of the equation to their happiness. But, as you say, that's just one part of it. The carrot and stick method rarely works with them. We, as leaders, need to get out of our 80s and 90s management style, and think out of the box and into the heads of our aspiring young leaders.

    • You are absolutely right about their ability to multitask and stay productive! Like you said, I think trying to stop them from doing that will actually harm their creativity. It's awesome to see a company in an industry that a lot of Millennials are interested in that gets it.

      I'd love to know what other methods you use for reward.

      • Sandra

        Our firm is undergoing an entire rebranding effort – not just marketing, but our core philosophies as well. The leaders went to a retreat and talked about our individual higher purposes. This translated into what our higher purpose as a firm is, and believe it or not, all 8 of us on the leadership team meshed amazingly with our professional and personal higher purposes!

        Don't get me wrong. We are compensated well monetarily, but there is more to it. In addition to bonuses at year end, we offer our employees tuition reimbursement, social events (paid for entirely by firm), bagels every Friday, lunch seminars every Monday, and a place where we know we can make a difference in the world. We design green and sustainable educational facilities, so we are helping to save the planet. This is the biggest motivator we can offer.

        Flexible work hours, ability to work remotely, and fully paid health insurance – these are also rewards.

  • Sandra

    Travis,
    You hit the nail on the head. As part of the leadership team of our architectural firm, it is our responsibility to make sure our employees (lots of them being millennials) are motivated by intrinsic, rather than extrinsic, rewards. We've found these young people are great multi-taskers and want that autonomy to be able to do that. They can design a building, text and post on FB almost at the same time, and don't tell them they can't! It will hinder their creativity, and dare I say, even productivity.

    In these tough economic times, money is definitely part of the equation to their happiness. But, as you say, that's just one part of it. The carrot and stick method rarely works with them. We, as leaders, need to get out of our 80s and 90s management style, and think out of the box and into the heads of our aspiring young leaders.

    • You are absolutely right about their ability to multitask and stay productive! Like you said, I think trying to stop them from doing that will actually harm their creativity. It's awesome to see a company in an industry that a lot of Millennials are interested in that gets it.

      I'd love to know what other methods you use for reward.

      • Sandra

        Our firm is undergoing an entire rebranding effort – not just marketing, but our core philosophies as well. The leaders went to a retreat and talked about our individual higher purposes. This translated into what our higher purpose as a firm is, and believe it or not, all 8 of us on the leadership team meshed amazingly with our professional and personal higher purposes!

        Don't get me wrong. We are compensated well monetarily, but there is more to it. In addition to bonuses at year end, we offer our employees tuition reimbursement, social events (paid for entirely by firm), bagels every Friday, lunch seminars every Monday, and a place where we know we can make a difference in the world. We design green and sustainable educational facilities, so we are helping to save the planet. This is the biggest motivator we can offer.

        Flexible work hours, ability to work remotely, and fully paid health insurance – these are also rewards.

  • Through a New Lens

    This is another great post in the series and sorry my comment is coming late. I would have to agree with everything you said about us. For me, once I know I am at a stable place financially, it's truly about working at something I enjoy and am passionate about. I'm not at a point in my life where I could leave everything and work somewhere where I made nothing because I have a family to support, but that isn't stopping me from starting my own marketing firm on my own. I take the time and put forth the extra effort that is bringing in zero money because it's something I enjoy, something I'm good at, and something that makes me feel good.

    We all want to feel like we are making a difference, whether that be in the world, our community, or simply our own lives. What's the meaning of life? It's having a meaning to life.

    Thanks for the thoughts, and keep us informed on how the talk goes.

    • You also just blew a hole in the argument that Millennials are lazy. ūüôā Congrats on starting your own marketing firm! That's really exciting to hear. Have you always wanted to start your own business or is this something that you decided to do out of frustration with the way companies tend to treat work?

      • To be honest it was a little of both. I've always been happier when I work for myself and can rely on my own motivations for success and I've always been interested in marketing (more so on the digital side recently) and the strategy side of things. So it was a natural marriage.

        I wouldn't say we are lazy, just not as 9 to 5 driven as the set norm. We might work tirelessly for 3 days straight and then do nothing for 3 or spread our efforts over an entire month but not be behind a desk for 8 hours a day. It's just a different mindset about what "work" means.

        • Sandra

          I'm 43 years old (no millennial!) and agree with your work ethic. I also do not sit in the office 45 hours/week. I enjoy a great balance of personal/professional life, have the ability to work remotely and work under less stringent conditions. When we have proposals due, of course, there are deadlines that must be adhered to (that's what I have my millennial assistant for!).

          I wish you much success.

        • I am pretty much the same way, having also started my own business partially out of frustration with typical corporate environments. I’m quite happy to work, but it has to be on MY schedule, not some arbitrary 9-5 treadmill of doom.

  • Through a New Lens

    This is another great post in the series and sorry my comment is coming late. I would have to agree with everything you said about us. For me, once I know I am at a stable place financially, it's truly about working at something I enjoy and am passionate about. I'm not at a point in my life where I could leave everything and work somewhere where I made nothing because I have a family to support, but that isn't stopping me from starting my own marketing firm on my own. I take the time and put forth the extra effort that is bringing in zero money because it's something I enjoy, something I'm good at, and something that makes me feel good.

    We all want to feel like we are making a difference, whether that be in the world, our community, or simply our own lives. What's the meaning of life? It's having a meaning to life.

    Thanks for the thoughts, and keep us informed on how the talk goes.

    • You also just blew a hole in the argument that Millennials are lazy. ūüôā Congrats on starting your own marketing firm! That's really exciting to hear. Have you always wanted to start your own business or is this something that you decided to do out of frustration with the way companies tend to treat work?

      • To be honest it was a little of both. I've always been happier when I work for myself and can rely on my own motivations for success and I've always been interested in marketing (more so on the digital side recently) and the strategy side of things. So it was a natural marriage.

        I wouldn't say we are lazy, just not as 9 to 5 driven as the set norm. We might work tirelessly for 3 days straight and then do nothing for 3 or spread our efforts over an entire month but not be behind a desk for 8 hours a day. It's just a different mindset about what "work" means.

        • Sandra

          I'm 43 years old (no millennial!) and agree with your work ethic. I also do not sit in the office 45 hours/week. I enjoy a great balance of personal/professional life, have the ability to work remotely and work under less stringent conditions. When we have proposals due, of course, there are deadlines that must be adhered to (that's what I have my millennial assistant for!).

          I wish you much success.

  • jasonrmoore

    Sandra hits on something that is not addressed enough: "I enjoy a great balance of personal/professional life, have the ability to work remotely and work under less stringent conditions."

    Millenials are NO different in their make-up than previous generations when it comes to desires. The difference is that they have grown up in a world which views professions dramatically different.

    The results of the efforts that a company puts into making a better "Millenial workplace" will probably shock you because the older employees will have their standard worldview challenged. In the most optimal situation, ALL of your employees will start feeling the same purpose. I think the biggest mistake that management and trainers in this area make is to discount previous generation's desire to have the same difference making, autonomy, and strengths/passions experience.

    Once again, the difference is Millenials have lived their entire life with this lens. Previous generations had it beat out of them when they entered the work world because there were few options. Get a good job (with health insurance, of course)! Hush up and do your work!

    This will be the biggest impact Millenials will have on our overall work society. Their world view is forcing companies to address the passionate part of our professional lives. When companies successfully do this, ALL employees will become more productive.

    • Jason, you bring up a fantastic point! These desires are not unique to Millennials by any stretch. It's been interesting to watch my parents and their friends hit the retirement age (55-65) and then listen to them talk about "what's next." Without fail, they all talk about wanting the sunset years to have meaning and purpose. I think a lot of them are looking back on their working lives and realizing they sacrificed those things on the alter of gaining more money. Not all of them did this, of course. And I don't think the two have to be mutually exclusive. But, like you said, it was beat out of them with fewer options and almost no alternative than to show up and shut up. Really great insight!

  • jasonrmoore

    Sandra hits on something that is not addressed enough: "I enjoy a great balance of personal/professional life, have the ability to work remotely and work under less stringent conditions."

    Millenials are NO different in their make-up than previous generations when it comes to desires. The difference is that they have grown up in a world which views professions dramatically different.

    The results of the efforts that a company puts into making a better "Millenial workplace" will probably shock you because the older employees will have their standard worldview challenged. In the most optimal situation, ALL of your employees will start feeling the same purpose. I think the biggest mistake that management and trainers in this area make is to discount previous generation's desire to have the same difference making, autonomy, and strengths/passions experience.

    Once again, the difference is Millenials have lived their entire life with this lens. Previous generations had it beat out of them when they entered the work world because there were few options. Get a good job (with health insurance, of course)! Hush up and do your work!

    This will be the biggest impact Millenials will have on our overall work society. Their world view is forcing companies to address the passionate part of our professional lives. When companies successfully do this, ALL employees will become more productive.

    • Jason, you bring up a fantastic point! These desires are not unique to Millennials by any stretch. It's been interesting to watch my parents and their friends hit the retirement age (55-65) and then listen to them talk about "what's next." Without fail, they all talk about wanting the sunset years to have meaning and purpose. I think a lot of them are looking back on their working lives and realizing they sacrificed those things on the alter of gaining more money. Not all of them did this, of course. And I don't think the two have to be mutually exclusive. But, like you said, it was beat out of them with fewer options and almost no alternative than to show up and shut up. Really great insight!

  • Travis, awesome post again!

    I’m 20, working an internship at a fortune 100 company and running a business as well. With those two rxperiences I would say you are spot on. Once base needs are met it’s all about doing something meaningful and having freedom and choice.

    And to the lazy point, if millenials are doing something that doesn’t meet what you have described, they really aren’t that motivated. But if they are working on something which brings some fulfillment, the time hours and energy they put in doesn’t matter to them. They won’t leave after 8 hours at the office. And if they do, they’ll probably go home to work more.

    Great work!

  • Travis, awesome post again!

    I’m 20, working an internship at a fortune 100 company and running a business as well. With those two rxperiences I would say you are spot on. Once base needs are met it’s all about doing something meaningful and having freedom and choice.

    And to the lazy point, if millenials are doing something that doesn’t meet what you have described, they really aren’t that motivated. But if they are working on something which brings some fulfillment, the time hours and energy they put in doesn’t matter to them. They won’t leave after 8 hours at the office. And if they do, they’ll probably go home to work more.

    Great work!

  • Great points about Millennials and the "lazy" factor! Most of us work a lot more than 8 hours each day, we just don't necessarily work more than 8 hours for someone else. I really appreciate you sharing with us! Glad to see another Millennial who's starting their own business. Thanks for the comment!

  • Great points about Millennials and the "lazy" factor! Most of us work a lot more than 8 hours each day, we just don't necessarily work more than 8 hours for someone else. I really appreciate you sharing with us! Glad to see another Millennial who's starting their own business. Thanks for the comment!

  • Agreed on all points. Wonderful, thought-provoking commentary as always.

    The average work culture in my market has been the bane of my professional existence and being forced to work for myself has shown me that following your heart is not just something your parents and Disney movies say…it's how life is meant to be lived.

    Although, I relate to the comment about the "…not delusional in thinking that they’ll always love every aspect of a job" part because you can't realistically do what moves you every moment every day…(not with the financial burdens of the American lifestyle as I tell my wife). You can, however, be calculated and always keep an eye on the future and what you want your trajectory to be.

    I want my employer to offer:
    – Less "have a nice day Bob" status quo culture. Where people are drones
    – Flexibility with my hours with the understanding that I WILL champion my work and get it done, but not always in between 9-6
    – Give me room to grow and not be threatened by wild ideas
    – Ethical work that means something at the end of the road instead of purely focusing the overall mission on dollars all the time

    I'm an MTV gen., born in '78

    • Thanks, Phillip! You nailed it when you said that you WILL champion your work and get it done. This is exactly what people are asking for but so many companies aren't willing to take the perceived risk and give it a try. Those that do are seeing incredible success and innovation. But change is hard and, I fear, a lot of companies will dig their heels in, fight this change and eventually wither away. Thanks for sharing!

  • Agreed on all points. Wonderful, thought-provoking commentary as always.

    The average work culture in my market has been the bane of my professional existence and being forced to work for myself has shown me that following your heart is not just something your parents and Disney movies say…it's how life is meant to be lived.

    Although, I relate to the comment about the "…not delusional in thinking that they’ll always love every aspect of a job" part because you can't realistically do what moves you every moment every day…(not with the financial burdens of the American lifestyle as I tell my wife). You can, however, be calculated and always keep an eye on the future and what you want your trajectory to be.

    I want my employer to offer:
    – Less "have a nice day Bob" status quo culture. Where people are drones
    – Flexibility with my hours with the understanding that I WILL champion my work and get it done, but not always in between 9-6
    – Give me room to grow and not be threatened by wild ideas
    – Ethical work that means something at the end of the road instead of purely focusing the overall mission on dollars all the time

    I'm an MTV gen., born in '78

    • Thanks, Phillip! You nailed it when you said that you WILL champion your work and get it done. This is exactly what people are asking for but so many companies aren't willing to take the perceived risk and give it a try. Those that do are seeing incredible success and innovation. But change is hard and, I fear, a lot of companies will dig their heels in, fight this change and eventually wither away. Thanks for sharing!

  • I agree with so much of this post and really believe that employees choose companies based on non-financial incentives. One such incentive being a flexible schedule and some FREEDOM in choosing how/when we work (gasp). You really touched on that, but wanted to throw in some more thoughts.

    This is an old article, but it addresses some important issues that have come to surface: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_5… (the title "Smashing the Clock" says a lot already).

    "The endeavor, called ROWE, for "results-only work environment," seeks to demolish decades-old business dogma that equates physical presence with productivity. The goal at Best Buy is to judge performance on output instead of hours."

    Instead of working the routine 9 – 5, employees had the option of choosing when to work in the office environment, when to do their work and where. They also came to a regular weekly team meeting to "check in". Guess what? Productivity went up! "Best Buy notes that productivity is up an average 35% in departments that have switched to ROWE."

    Why is that? How can that be possible?

    Let's consider what most corporate employees are doing when they are at their desks from the hours of 9 – 5. Are they working 100% of the time? Absolutely not – they're on messenger, Facebooking, planning a vacation, paying bills and even counting down the minutes till they get to leave. This is poor work/life balance and it wreaks havoc on work environments as well as employees' mental states.

    Now, if you set expectations for a employee (what is to be accomplished, what needs to be done, what results are expected from his or her job, how are results monitored, etc.), let them operate on their own schedule, the mindset naturally changes a little because they have some freedom. Now, the employee will consider the results and impact of his or her work instead of the hours he or she sits in a chair and is – well – "present".

    Will this model work for all companies? No. But, can something be learned from it? Absolutely.

    The notion that you are lazy if you don't work from 9 – 5 is antiquated at best. I would rather work with a person that produces incredible work in 3 hours than a person that wastes my time for 8.

    On a side note, now that I am working for myself, I get a 1,000 times more work done. And no, I am not sitting in my home office from 9 – 5. My schedule fluctuates and for some reason, that has not deterred the growth of my client list.

    I am happy – and writing this comment in my pajamas at 10 AM – yay!

    • Yay for PJs! That is a really great article, Amber! Thanks for sharing that. "Why Works Sucks And How to Fix It" – the book that introduces ROWE – is one of my favorite books on the topic you just mentioned. Their work at Best Buy really is impressive and blows holes in everything corporate management believes about productivity and creativity.

  • I agree with so much of this post and really believe that employees choose companies based on non-financial incentives. One such incentive being a flexible schedule and some FREEDOM in choosing how/when we work (gasp). You really touched on that, but wanted to throw in some more thoughts.

    This is an old article, but it addresses some important issues that have come to surface: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_5… (the title "Smashing the Clock" says a lot already).

    "The endeavor, called ROWE, for "results-only work environment," seeks to demolish decades-old business dogma that equates physical presence with productivity. The goal at Best Buy is to judge performance on output instead of hours."

    Instead of working the routine 9 – 5, employees had the option of choosing when to work in the office environment, when to do their work and where. They also came to a regular weekly team meeting to "check in". Guess what? Productivity went up! "Best Buy notes that productivity is up an average 35% in departments that have switched to ROWE."

    Why is that? How can that be possible?

    Let's consider what most corporate employees are doing when they are at their desks from the hours of 9 – 5. Are they working 100% of the time? Absolutely not – they're on messenger, Facebooking, planning a vacation, paying bills and even counting down the minutes till they get to leave. This is poor work/life balance and it wreaks havoc on work environments as well as employees' mental states.

    Now, if you set expectations for a employee (what is to be accomplished, what needs to be done, what results are expected from his or her job, how are results monitored, etc.), let them operate on their own schedule, the mindset naturally changes a little because they have some freedom. Now, the employee will consider the results and impact of his or her work instead of the hours he or she sits in a chair and is – well – "present".

    Will this model work for all companies? No. But, can something be learned from it? Absolutely.

    The notion that you are lazy if you don't work from 9 – 5 is antiquated at best. I would rather work with a person that produces incredible work in 3 hours than a person that wastes my time for 8.

    On a side note, now that I am working for myself, I get a 1,000 times more work done. And no, I am not sitting in my home office from 9 – 5. My schedule fluctuates and for some reason, that has not deterred the growth of my client list.

    I am happy – and writing this comment in my pajamas at 10 AM – yay!

    • Yay for PJs! That is a really great article, Amber! Thanks for sharing that. "Why Works Sucks And How to Fix It" – the book that introduces ROWE – is one of my favorite books on the topic you just mentioned. Their work at Best Buy really is impressive and blows holes in everything corporate management believes about productivity and creativity.

  • Here is an incredible TED talk about the "WHY." Simon Sinek poignantly addresses the deeper motivations of people. It is not directly connected to Millennials, but I think it fits with the discussion of wanting purpose.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_le

  • Here is an incredible TED talk about the "WHY." Simon Sinek poignantly addresses the deeper motivations of people. It is not directly connected to Millennials, but I think it fits with the discussion of wanting purpose.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_le

  • Lucas

    Very well said! I think you just described my very situation. I left a controlling & unflexible company for one built on trust because they hired good people – and I took less money to be happier, and it's worked. Thanks for the post!

  • Lucas

    Very well said! I think you just described my very situation. I left a controlling & unflexible company for one built on trust because they hired good people – and I took less money to be happier, and it's worked. Thanks for the post!

  • SNA

    Coming from a boomer, I think every previous generation has started out in the workforce with the same wishes/desires/motivations as you describe for millennials. Over time, experiences are gained which continue to mold and re-mold us. I think it will be interesting to re-evaluate millennials 30 years from now and see how their wishes/desires/motivations have shifted. I expect it will be quite significant.

  • Nicole Steele

    I’ve found my “perfect job”. ¬†I’m 27, I feel like I have a very, very strong work ethic. ¬†I was recently told that many of my fellow employees are frustrated with me. ¬†They feel like I’m not performing well enough. ¬†I’ve gotten our company featured in international blogs, and set up a tracking system to manage all of our projects within my first two weeks at the company. ¬† ¬†Reading about millenials is making me feel like it’s not just me. ¬† ¬†One of my bosses told me that I am threatening the others, because of how quickly I am performing. ¬†The other told me that I’m not catching on to “what I was hired for”. ¬† ¬†Reading this article has pulled me out of the sincere panic and depression I was facing. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
    I now understand that there is going to be a disconnect because of the way that others view work-ethic. ¬†I’m wondering if I should¬†actually write down everything I get done everyday, so that if it is questioned later, I can show my results. ¬†I don’t feel comfortable just meeting expectations. ¬†I need to exceed, and when I truly believe in a company I want to think of the big picture and what can be done. ¬†Unfortunately, I feel like co-workers are threatened by this and rather than wanting to grow, they are afraid of the change.

  • Nicole Steele

    I’ve found my “perfect job”. ¬†I’m 27, I feel like I have a very, very strong work ethic. ¬†I was recently told that many of my fellow employees are frustrated with me. ¬†They feel like I’m not performing well enough. ¬†I’ve gotten our company featured in international blogs, and set up a tracking system to manage all of our projects within my first two weeks at the company. ¬† ¬†Reading about millenials is making me feel like it’s not just me. ¬† ¬†One of my bosses told me that I am threatening the others, because of how quickly I am performing. ¬†The other told me that I’m not catching on to “what I was hired for”. ¬† ¬†Reading this article has pulled me out of the sincere panic and depression I was facing. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
    I now understand that there is going to be a disconnect because of the way that others view work-ethic. ¬†I’m wondering if I should¬†actually write down everything I get done everyday, so that if it is questioned later, I can show my results. ¬†I don’t feel comfortable just meeting expectations. ¬†I need to exceed, and when I truly believe in a company I want to think of the big picture and what can be done. ¬†Unfortunately, I feel like co-workers are threatened by this and rather than wanting to grow, they are afraid of the change.

  • Darryl Q Hill

    It is indeed not all about the money. Although it was a training for them to offer a bigger amount of money during exit interview, it is like their last trial to convince the applicant to stay. But of course they would give it to those who they still consider an asset to the company. I remembered being offered a great increase just when I was doing my furniture removals sydney. Just the same, I continued my plan to leave.

    • The weird thing is, if you try to counter-offer something “crazy” like, say, flexible hours, even for less pay, they will balk at it and wave you out the door.