While you may have a rapidly shrinking pool of older workers with long tenures, you probably have plenty of millennials – age 18 to 34 – among your ranks. And where older employees are used to waiting for rewards, millennials aren’t content with those traditional 5-year increments in service awards. In fact, most of them won’t stick around long enough for the first one.
So how do you recognize and reward this group that has grown up with instant gratification and wants everything “right now”?
First, recognize that more than other groups, millennials need a work environment that keeps them happy. In effect, that means a steady stream of small rewards and recognitions to keep them engaged.
Even more important, because they rely on social media, they’re accustomed to real-time affirmation. (i.e. How many “Likes” can you pick up in an hour?) Wait five years for recognition? No way. Here’s where peer-to-peer recognition comes into play. Not only is it fast, it reinforces the crucial perception that the millennial employee is working as part of a team, not just for a manager. We address the basics and then some of peer-to-peer recognition in several articles on this site.
Finally, rewards have to be relevant and personal. This isn’t the “gold watch” generation. Acknowledge their achievements on the company website or Facebook page. Find out what they’re interested in and reward them accordingly. For instance, Award Concepts has a Weekend Warrior gift collection that the outdoor enthusiast will appreciate. You can also allow some time off for them to pursue a personal interest, or make a donation to a charity they support.
Keep your millennials happy and who knows: they just might turn into your corporate “old-timers”.