TALKIN' 'BOUT MY GENERATION (PART IV): Millennials are motivated by praise

April 26, 2012 | Nicolina Nelson Miller

In asking lead marketers about the challenges and opportunities they face in 2012, several critical success factors emerged – learning to work with millennials (like me) was on the list. 

Born after 1980, millennials, or as MTV calls us, Generation Innovation, are highly educated, entrepreneurial and ambitious. We can smell the status quo from a mile away. And, if you’re expecting us to make outstanding contributions to your organization, it’s likely going to take a new approach. 

The chief marketers we spoke with offered their best practices on how to leverage millennial talent – today’s post is our final insight (also see Millennials feel entitled are ambitious, Millennials have spastic, ungrounded ideas a lot of great ideas and Millennials dislike structure inefficiency). You’ll notice the perception about working with millennials is turned on its side, revealing the true potential this generation has to offer.

Millennials need constant are motivated by praise:

The situation: Millennials grew up in an environment where each and every participant in the tournament would go home with a medal. Recognition is therefore expected and achievement is very much an ‘outside-in’ experience. So, to feel they’ve done a good job, they need validation and positive reinforcement.

The opportunity: This desire for praise creates a fantastic opportunity to develop unique ways to motivate your millennials, resulting in improved performance and ultimately their contribution to your bottom line.

The fix: What would you ideally like to see more of from your millennials? Can it be measured? On a weekly basis, send out (or post to your team bulletin board) “The Weekly Whiz-Kids” where you share weekly successes from each of your deserving team members with the larger team.

For chief marketers, learning to maximize their millennial colleagues is just one of the many challenges and opportunities on the horizon. We urge you to read our complete CMO’s Agenda for more insights on how lead marketers are transforming their role and the core of their profession from traditional ad master to “marketing’s CEO.”

Nicolina Nelson Miller is a senior associate with CMG Partners. Nicolina can be reached

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