Why you should harness the hidden passions of your millennial employees

Why you should harness the hidden passions of your millennial employees

Everyone has hidden passions that are a fundamental part of who we are. Those hidden motivators are called behavioral attitudes: thoughts, feelings, and emotions that unconsciously shape every decision we make.

The importance of behavioral attitudes

Ever since millennials became the most populous generation, economists, executives and human resource practitioners have sliced and diced their expectations and ways to better engage them. We study the backdrop of their upbringing, their lifestyle, hidden passions and behavioral attitudes, wants and needs. Then we establish rules for engagement, which guide our corporate development and management tactics.

Engaging them becomes a tactical mission because they present such a challenge to today's (often "older") managers and executives. This challenge is what drives and sometimes restructures entire corporate benefit, review, training and incentive programs, and rightly so. We want the power of this workforce to be fulfilled, productive and retained.

"Don't make the mistake of putting ALL millennials and young people in the same bucket."

We know the immense amount of data available and examining notions about how to motivate this generation. On the whole this data is very useful; providing glimpses into their mindset and values. Generational observations tell us certain things about this new "me" generation. I say "new" because historically, each previous generation perceives the new generation as more self-absorbed, entitled, permissive, global and diverse. Indeed, each generation since the "Silent" generation is experiencing an increasingly enhanced lifestyle, which is good for the next generation but causes management to constantly evolve its practices. Although each millennial has been nurtured amidst the same societal climate, they are also individuals and unique in their Behavioral Attitudes.

While we can lump all millennials together to study them, we have to keep in mind that each person has individual, internal driving forces or passions, otherwise known as "Behavioral Attitudes". Our ability to reveal Behavioral Attitudes, at a fundamental level, helps provide insight about how to recruit, filter, manage, incentivize and retain the millennial worker.

"Not all Millennials are the same. Finding their Behavioral Attitude is the key to motivating them."

The motivation challenge

In previous generations, we assumed people were mostly motivated by money or status, and that was a simple enough barometer to help keep past workforces happy. A promotion checked the boxes, but you are far underestimating millennials if you think a raise or better title will cut it. Failing to find their hot buttons today can leave your company in the dust while they flock to other companies. Remember, not only do millennials represent a larger part of our workforce, but they also represent a larger part of consumers. You need millennials because they design and market products that will win the enormous millennial market share.
When a person is engaged in a task that compliments the hidden passions they have, we tend to say they have a "good attitude." Conversely, if a person is engaged in a task that is not aligned with their primary passion or behavioral preference, we classify them as having a "bad attitude". Aligning career goals with behavioral attitudes helps you feel more positively about your work.

Looking deeper into motivations helps us discover where people will likely, and most naturally, put their energy. The behavioral attitudes are summarized by the acronym "I-SPEAK" which represents the six distinct passions that dictate emphatically a person's behavioral attitudes. Each illustrates a different way of prioritizing your motivations, passions, and your energy investments via thoughts, tasks, and activities which you find most fulfilling. I-SPEAK is your work-passion language:

I = Inner Awareness/Spiritual Growth
        A desire for balance, harmony, and self growth
S = Social/Humanitarian
        A desire to help others altruistically
P = Power/Political
        A desire to be in control or have influence
E = Economic/Tangible
        A desire for financial security or economic gain
A = Artistic/Innovative
        A desire to express uniqueness or individuality
K = Knowledge/Proficiency
      A desire for learning and greater understanding

Harness Behavioral Attitudes to motivate your millennial employees

The Behavioral Attitudes Index (BAI)

Behavioral Attitudes uncover hidden forces in forming our thoughts, actions, choices and lifestyles. Studies in human interaction show us a few things:

  • Everyone has Behavioral Attitudes - hidden "attitudes" and "passions" are at work subconsciously in everyone.
  • Everyone prioritizes Behavioral Attitudes - everyone is motivated by the same ISPEAK hidden passions but people put more priority on certain attitudes.
  • The Behavioral Attitudes most prioritized will be where a person will get the most satisfaction and be most fulfilled.

Knowing your employees and candidates Behavioral Attitudes will help you match your job roles with people most likely to excel in that role.

An example of a Behavioral Attitude is "Knowledge." Everyone values knowledge to some extent, but some people will make this the driving force in their life and the quest for knowledge will drive them to do incredible things with their time. The amount of energy they expend towards obtaining knowledge will be high, but not a struggle, because it will be enjoyable.

How much more efficient would your company run knowing the Behavioral Attitudes of the people you hired? Use the Behavioral Attitudes Inventory (BAI) and unlock the potential in your hires.

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Written by: Coleen Kulkin

Coleen is the Director of Product Development at PeopleKeys, helping bring new DISC products and updated reports to-market through research, development, validation studies and testing. Personality Style: S

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