Chapter 13Make It Matter to Them: They Want to Know “Why” before “What”

Motivating the Indifferent

They just don't seem to care about customers.

—A fast food manager

A lot of kids my age really want their work to mean something. If they feel like they are making a measurable difference, and if they're told that they're making that difference, that's when they really seem to buy in. I like that because I'm the same way. I want to make a difference, too.

—A community center manager

They offered me a big promotion, but I am not sure I want them to get their claws that deep into me. Most of the managers here look pretty unhappy to me.

—A Millennial

It is not your responsibility as a manager to give someone meaning; you need only to help them find it. (See Table 13.1.)

Table 13.1 Motivating the Indifferent

Motivating (Make It Matter to Them) Indifferent
The ability to inspire Millennials to find meaning in the everyday work they do and to see how their contribution matters. Millennials are perceived as careless, apathetic, or lacking commitment.

The Millennial Intrinsic Value: Meaning

Millennials want, no, need to find meaning in their work. Early in our research process, we were using the term apathetic rather than indifferent. That is until we interviewed a young social entrepreneur. When he showed up, he told us we could only have 15 minutes, less than half the time for which we had prepared. During the first few minutes of the interview, he was polite but not very ...

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