Motivating younger workers

motivating younger workersThere are many myths around younger employees that can affect how they are perceived in the workplace such as a lack of a strong work ethic and being motivated only by high pay and flashy staff rewards. In reality, the vast majority of younger workers are eager, energetic and ready to take on new challenges. They are not motivated by money and instead are driven and enthused by feeling appreciated by their employer.

To this end feedback, attention and recognition for a job well done is vital in encouraging best performance by this group. Frequent and regular rewards to recognise service in every sense are crucial whether it’s for quality of work, ideas put forward, results achieved, or loyalty, as recognition pays dividends through performance and profits. Taking the time to thank younger employees and show appreciation for their efforts is a crucial element in encouraging them to stay with an organisation and build up their knowledge and skills so they add even more value to the organisation over time.

Choosing staff rewards for this group, however, can be a minefield. One size does not fit all and people are motivated by different things. Employee motivation schemes are most effective when the process of earning the reward and the reward itself align with the employee’s lifestyle rather than having to be grafted on to it and managers must keep this in mind when seeking the best ways to raise levels of motivation. For some younger employees, perhaps those just starting out on the housing ladder or with a young family, a reward linked to the home or family may be appealing, such as a family day out or DIY vouchers, whereas for those who are still foot-loose and fancy free a more individual reward such as the latest gadget could be a better bet.

It is for this reason that vouchers and giftcards continue to be a popular and effective way to reward younger employees. The recipient can choose what to spend the voucher on and they are therefore motivated as they are working towards something they really want, rather than a reward that is chosen for them which they may or may not see as appropriate for them and their particular circumstances. For the employer, vouchers and giftcards are a cost-effective reward option as they can be bought in bulk at a discount, therefore offering a better than cash solution which offers perceived value to the end recipient. It also gives them the opportunity to promptly and publicly recognise an employee for what they have accomplished or achieved when the achievement is fresh on everyone’s mind.


John Sylvester

John is responsible for the motivation division of p&mm ltd. Specialising in developing, implementing and directing many large scale staff motivation, recognition and employee communications programmes.

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