receives compensation from some of the companies listed on this page. Advertising Disclosure

Adjusting Your Performance Management Process to Attract, Retain, and Motivate Millennials

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks
Editor Staff
Updated Jan 23, 2023

Keeping them motivated and engaged will require different techniques

Any organization that wants to thrive and succeed in the years to come is interested in millennials — the generation that will represent approximately 75 percent of the workforce by 2030. Satisfying this group of individuals and keeping them motivated and engaged will require different techniques and approaches that we utilized in the past.

They think and react in different ways due to the way in which they were raised, influenced heavily by rapid advancements in technology. With this in mind, it is only natural that forward-thinking companies adapt their performance management processes to better suit a millennial’s way of thinking.

Before companies can go about adapting their HR processes, however, we must first know what is important to millennials in terms of work life. Understanding this will not only prevent promising employees from jumping ship, but it will sincerely benefit organizations in terms of building a stellar reputation, which will facilitate recruitment long-term.

Millennials are intrinsically motivated

The first thing to understand about millennials is that their primary motivation isn’t directly related to money. In fact, a remarkable 50 percent of millennials have stated that they would be willing to take a pay cut to secure a job that aligns with their values and ambitions. For the average millennial, a job isn’t just a job. They want to be part of a well-functioning, dynamic team. They also want to feel like they’re making a difference in their role. If they don’t find what they are looking for, they are likely to move on to pursue something more rewarding. As Forbes has stated, job hopping is now the norm.

Millennials are ambitious and determined

Millennials are seeking advancement and opportunity. According to one source, 65 percent of millennials state that personal development is the most important factor of their careers. Meanwhile, a Harvard Business Review study revealed a lack of career development support to be the number one reason that high-performing employees leave an organization. Now more than ever, employees are interested in career advancement. They want to learn, they want to grow, and they are motivated to succeed. If they feel that their job will never pay off in these terms, they become quickly disengaged and won’t be with you for long.

To ensure your employees are satisfied in this area, collaborate with them and create individualized Performance Development Plans (PDPs). Modern performance management tools can be used to track these PDPs. This technique will keep employees on course to achieve their ambitions. They also demonstrate that you are invested in them as a person — not just an employee.

Millennials want to be guided and given independence

The average millennial strives for independence. In fact, 72 percent of this generation would like to be their own boss. Those who decide to work for a manager have expressed a desire that the manager in question acts more as a ‘coach’ than a boss. Your performance management system might have to adapt to accommodate this mindset. As long as your employees are hitting their targets and performing well, it may be worth taking a step back. They might just demonstrate a unique approach to their role that really gets results.

Millennials are looking for a flexible workplace

This generation is far more likely than any other generation to change careers, forgo promotions or relocate in favor of flexible working life. A work/life balance is important, as is the potential of working from home when they have proven themselves reliable. This is something that top companies have taken note of, and are incorporating. Companies including Evernote and Virgin have even introduced ‘unlimited vacation’ as a flexible work option. Businesses that choose to ignore this need for flexibility will likely miss out on promising talent.

Millennials are looking for regular, high-quality feedback

As performance management systems move towards continuous performance management, HR is becoming increasingly aware of the value of regular, effective feedback when it comes to productivity. Millennials need — and often deserve — quality feedback. In fact, 42 percent of them would appreciate feedback at least once a week.

Managers should habitually check-in with millennials, providing them with constructive criticism, recognition, and ideas on how to improve performance. Millennials are, on the whole, driven to succeed, but they can’t do a good job unless they are informed of where they are going right and where they are going wrong. If you find it difficult to schedule and attend all your employee one-to-one meetings, utilize performance management software, which will alert you of when they are due and enable actions points to be captured and shared.

Millennials are looking for recognition

We already know that millennials aren’t motivated by money as much as their predecessors. In order to keep them motivated, they need to know that they are in an environment where they (and their ideas and hard work) are valued. They want to feel respected and appreciated. It has been shown that millennials would like to be rewarded and recognized at least once every month. This recognition doesn’t have to come in the form of a bonus. Simply demonstrate that you are appreciative of their hard work, show that they are an asset to the company and express your desire to keep them on board.

How millennials are revolutionizing recruiting

Just as the way we work is changing, recruitment is also adapting to this new, dynamic generation. As children of the digital age, they are accustomed to expediency and efficiency. As a result, they aren’t appreciative of lengthy and drawn-out interview processes. One survey carried out by KPMG demonstrated that one-third of its recent hires were frustrated about the time taken to let them know the result of their interview. A number of companies are now responding by speeding up their recruitment process.

The recruitment process is no longer all about what the employee can offer you. It is also about what you can offer the employee. If your company adapts and grows with the needs and requirements of the average millennial, then your company will develop a desirable reputation. This reputation will help your recruitment process, ensuring you have a large selection of ambitious, driven and enthusiastic employees to select from. In return, they will help your company go from strength to strength.

Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Chad Brooks
Chad Brooks Staff
Chad Brooks is a writer and editor with more than 20 years of media of experience. He has been with Business News Daily and for the past decade, having written and edited content focused specifically on small businesses and entrepreneurship. Chad spearheads coverage of small business communication services, including business phone systems, video conferencing services and conference call solutions. His work has appeared on The Huffington Post,,, Live Science, IT Tech News Daily, Tech News Daily, Security News Daily and Laptop Mag. Chad's first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014.