5 Types of Recognition Millennial Employees Seek

By Elana Goodwin on February 2, 2017
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The number of millennial employees at companies is increasing steadily; in fact, millennials will soon be the largest demographic in the workforce. With this younger generation now being such a huge part of the staff at businesses, it’s good to know more about what millennials expect as employees, and in particular, the recognition they’ll anticipate.

Here are some of the types of recognition millennial employees will seek.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Immediate. In a generation that’s come to expect instant gratification in most aspects of their lives, millennial employees will also want recognition to be immediate. Rather than waiting for department meetings or job reviews to recognize a job well done, millennials seek recognition immediately — and that immediate recognition will help enforce continued positive behavior and productivity going forward.

To accommodate this need, employers should try to schedule some sort of recognition as close as possible to a millennial employee’s achievement and not delay in giving them affirmative feedback.

Frequent. Not only do millennial employees want immediate recognition of their actions, they also want it regularly. Forget giving recognition at a quarterly or annual job review — millennials need more frequent recognition. While it may mean more effort for employers, giving more frequent feedback lets millennial employees know you’re aware and appreciative of their contributions and also encourages them to keep up the good work.

At the very least, millennial employees should be recognized once a month, if not more. To make it easier on employers, recognition can come from different managers or staff on a regular basis or a colleague recognition program can be implemented so workers can recognize each other’s contributions and accomplishments on a regular basis as well.

Specific. General recognition isn’t as effective, especially when it comes to acknowledging millennial employees. Forget saying “good job,” and instead spend a bit more time on recognizing a millennial’s contribution in a way that shows them you really paid attention to their work and wanted them to know how much you value their specific efforts.

By giving specific recognition, employers are not only encouraging continued good performance but are also relaying that they keep on top of individual workers’ involvements in projects. When employers give recognition in context, it allows millennial employees to really feel as if they play an important part in the company or department and gives them an understanding as to what earned them that recognition.

Rewarding. Many millennial employees will expect some kind of reward when it comes to being recognized for exceptionally high performance or a great achievement. The reward doesn’t need to accompany every instance of recognition but getting a reward a few times or so throughout the year would be appreciated by millennial employees. The reward could be company apparel, some sort of gift card, a bonus, or a paid pizza party for a particular department or team.

Additionally, a donation to the charity of their choice or some other philanthropic venture made in their name is a nice gesture of recognition as well. That being said, the type of reward that a millennial employee will seek depends on the type of person they are — some would prefer a personal reward while others may consider another type of recognition more meaningful.

Of course, the most appreciated type of rewarding recognition a millennial employee will seek is a promotion. According to a report by PriceWaterhouseCooper, “Career progression is the top priority for millennials who expect to rise rapidly through the organization. 52 percent said this was the main attraction in an employer, coming ahead of competitive salaries in second place (44 percent).”

While employers can’t always promote employees or have that be the regular recognition they receive, some type of personalized reward would also do the trick as it lets the millennial employee know that their contributions are recognized and they are appreciated.

Public. Some of the ways employers recognize millennial employees don’t even have to be face-to-face. Given that the millennial generation is increasingly plugged-in and shares on social media, one way to recognize those employees is publicly online. Post recognition that millennial employees can be tagged in and that they can share, like Facebook shoutouts, tweets, or a mention on LinkedIn that the employee can then re-post to their followers, friends, or family members. In this way, the recognition is done in a public manner that lets employees know just how much they’re appreciated and that their employer wants to share their appreciation far and wide.

Other public recognition methods include a mention in the company’s newsletter or a post on the company website. Not all recognition has to be public but it does somehow convey a deeper sense of value when it’s something publicly shared.

In order to keep millennial employees happy and productive in the workplace, recognition should be immediate, frequent, specific, rewarding, and public — but the way employers implement these types of recognition is up to them. As long as they do increasingly recognize millennial employees, those employees will continue to contribute and behave positively and feel appreciated by their employer.

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By Elana Goodwin

Uloop Writer
Ohio State
I love reading, writing, and sweater weather. Also, dogs. That is all. Follow me on Twitter at @EllaRayy!

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