Careers

A generation that looks within for motivation

On a long flight back home, I had an aha moment. No one would ever take the pain of an 18-hour flight if they did not care much about the destination. It’s always about caring deeply about the cause, I figured. Whenever I explore the question of motivation, this thought pops up. It illustrates the idea of "intrinsic motivation", which could be defined as a feeling of accomplishment that wells up within an individual without any influence from external mediums.

Now, with millennials filling up a considerable number of positions, it is critical to understand what motivates them. To make this generation contribute optimally, organisations have to make intrinsic motivation their ally. Millennials thrive on it. Organisations have to see how intrinsic motivation manifests among this generation.

A recurrent theme

Among this generation, more than any of the older generations, "meaningful work" is an oft-heard phrase. These young employees want to do something that enhances the meaning of existence for them. They want to do something that can create an impact. However, organisations often don't notice this need. If they did, organisations would define more clearly the purpose of every role and the impact that the young employee can create through it. Laying down expectations clearly also leaves little scope for ambiguity. For example, a customer service agent working for a payroll organisation is not only helping customers with queries but is also touching their lives every day. Articulating the overall purpose of the organisation and how that relates to the role is critical.

Autonomy matters

Younger employees today see autonomy as indispensable. Fiercely independent, they not only want their managers to express their expectations clearly, but also want them to offer the freedom necessary to execute the work that would go towards meeting these expectations. Given the virtual workplace trends and the requirements of today’s managers, this demand from younger employees could be readily met. However, to ensure an autonomous style of functioning in an organisation, empowering employees with the required tools and knowledge is important. Adequate leadership training for the leadership teams should also be ensured.

Measuring progress

Measuring progress with a scale that is mutually agreed upon by the manager and the employee is the best way to ensure that opportunities for intrinsic rewards are established. The goals are not driven “top-down”; they however must be in alignment with the higher purpose of the organisation.

Need for mentoring

Mentoring is an implicit ask from the new employees. They do not want to be left behind.

So, organisations should have targeted learning programmes based on the interests of their employees. These programmes should not be based on a “One-size-fits-all” approach.

Enabling conversations

Social interaction is a great way to build relationships. Though the younger population may not recognise its value, organisations should promote it as this enables organisational growth. Enabling conversations beyond virtual connections will ensure a free flow of better ideas and help forge stronger bonds.

(Vipul Singh is Vice-President & Head of HR and Communications at ADP Pvt. Ltd.)


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Printable version | Jun 9, 2021 12:27:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/a-generation-that-looks-within-for-motivation/article19140082.ece

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