What Motivates the Millennials

Survey results with the top factors that are important for engaging the Millennials at work.

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I recently conducted a survey with my consulting and coaching clients to learn more about what motivates their Millennial employees. Below are the main results in how older generations are motivating Millennials and what Millennials feel actually motivates them.

Input from the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers on what they found effective in motivating their Millennial employees:

  • Embracing technology
  • Providing better explanations and reasons behind request
  • Taking time to train and mentor
  • Understanding personal motivations and career goals
  • Encouraging the Millennials to be active professionally and in the community.
  • Discuss work’s impact on client
  • Treat them equally to all other employees. Same performance expectations and same standards
  • Respect vacation times with fewer demands to work weekends and nights.
  • Try to include them in more meetings and strategy decisions
  • Encourage them to think broader; make them feel like an integral part of the team; explain their role more; ask what responsibility/experience they want and give it to them; and communicate openly about when I need them in the office

Summary of results from the Millennial employees on what motivates and engages them:

Work / reputation:

  • Pride in workmanship
  • Building reputation as a smart and hard worker
  • Desire to make others happy and do a good job
  • Ability to provide service to clients
  • Doing a good deed by serving the client well
  • Autonomy
  • Providing excellent legal services to clients
  • Doing quality work
  • Helping people
  • Achievement of goals
  • Obtaining new clients
  • Seeing projects accomplished

Meaningful and impactful projects:

  • Interesting work
  • Impactful projects


  • Having my work appreciated
  • Appreciation
  • Feeling appreciated, respected, and involved
  • Receiving good feedback

Professional Development:

  • Hands on, constructive training
  • Achieving my potential


  • To aspire to a goal and then succeed at it
  • Winning/success


  • Near-term and long-term potential compensation
  • Financial security
  • Money
  • Financial incentives
  • Bonuses
  • Being financially rewarded


  • Peer relationships
  • Team culture
  • Being a good team member
  • Happy and cheerful work environment

While it is easy to see these motivators as Millennial-centric, they’re not. Individuals across generations want to feel valued, want their employers to invest in their professional development, and also want to work in a healthy collaborative culture. Millennials are not silent on the issues that are important to them and that is a positive force for change in the workplace for everyone.

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