Millennials and Change Management

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Motivating Millennials

I am always interested in how to motivate, enthuse and ultimately to persuade people to participate in change. Working in Dubai this week I enjoyed discussions on how to motivate Millennials as UAE and the MENA region have a young population. Millennials are in their first leadership positions and post Millennials are the majority of new employees.

Note: I am taking my generational definitions from the Pew Research Centre

In my Dubai workshop, one Customer Services Director for a new UAE digital bank gave an eloquent explanation of the interests and motivations of Millennials. His research states that Millennials are driven by the desire for experiences. Saving money for security and for acquiring material goods doesn’t inspire them, but saving directly linked to a specific experience gives them a sense of purpose and value.

We then debated the impact that this drive for new experiences has on the career choices of Millennials, and their willingness for short term assignments at different organisations, in preference to building a long term career path at a single organisation.

This got me thinking about how to excite Millennials and post Millennials into participating in change initiatives in their current organisations, when they might not be in their role for very long. Selling change based on how it will improve their long term career prospects or how it will help them get a promotion doesn’t work.

Making Change a participation activity

Instead, lets talk about participation in change as a valuable experience. If we can make participation feel valuable, and connect to a sense of purpose, we are helping to create an environment of intrinsic motivation for making the change happen.

Examples in the workshop that we came up with for portraying involvement in change via workshops, training courses, mentoring others, becoming a super-user, developing the vision of change etc are as follows:

  • Sharing experiences with others to realise the commonality of issues and challenges and being able to share our successes to receive positive affirmation.
  • Debating ideas and learning from others to build our mastery and know that we are developing our skills and knowledge.
  • Learning a new skill and the satisfaction from getting better at something.
  • Trying out something new in a risk free environment so that we feel free to experiment and develop our understanding without the pressure of being criticised if we get it wrong.
  • Benchmarking our knowledge and experience against others so that we can get a picture of where we stand in relation to others, feeling proud of our achievements to date and realising how there are still things we need to learn that others already know.
  • Developing relationships with people we don’t get to work with normally which keeps things interesting and gives us new insights.
  • Enjoying creating and innovating and seeing things from a different perspective.
  • Coming to an agreement on a common goal or objective and enjoying the energy that this shared understanding and enthusiasm produces.

These are our examples of how to market the chance to participate in Change Management courses as a valuable and beneficial new experience. I would love to hear your views so please share by adding your comments to this article.