do millennials really need more recognition?


No. They just need the right kind of recognition.

Every day I come into the huggg office, and feel lucky and inspired by the people I work with. They are smart, full of energy and I learn so much from them. The majority of my colleagues are millennials, and I’m not alone in my appreciation for this group of people:

‘The millennials I work with are some of the brightest and most committed people I know. Many have similar hopes, aspirations and expectations as the generations who have preceded them. However, this generation, more than any other, has seen the world change faster than any other’ – David Sturt for Fortune.

My view of m
illennials (born between 1980-1994) differs hugely from their reputation as the so-called ‘ Me, Me, Me Generation’  who are a said to be lazy, narcissistic ‘snowflakes’ with an over-dependence on technology and praise. 

Here, I ask – should we give this generation more recognition?  Or should we provide more appropriate recognition for these fast-paced, digital natives? And why is it important?


💻 Millennials at work

By 2020, millennials and Gen Z’s (those born from the mid 90s to the mid noughties) will make up over 50% of the global workforce. So it’s important that those of us responsible for employing them, keep them happy and motivated.

According to Park, there are four things that are worth more to millennials than money when looking for a job:

  • New opportunities, including a better work-life balance and a clear career path.
  • Communication, including regular check-ins and reviews.
  • Alternatives to the traditional 9-5 job, allowing them to work more flexibly, sometimes from home and/or in coworking spaces.
  • Recognition. 64% of millennials want to be ‘recognised for personal accomplishments and reaching milestones at work’.

Some people in the older generations consider that this is asking too much. I disagree.  

Gen Z (and many millennials) were the first generation to be surrounded by technology growing up. Social media and the speed at which technology enables people to lead their lives means that these four expectations are entirely possible. Digital-natives therefore see these expectations as a way of life, not a luxury.


👍 All generations crave recognition

The deepest principle of human nature is a craving to be appreciated’. My colleague Becky talks about this in our blog 6 ways to show your appreciation. Working people, in all sectors and at all levels, want a job where their employer manages them by praise or reward and develops them, rather than fault-finding and bullying. After a lifetime of education, where success is based on results and grades, is it any wonder that people then come into the workplace and crave recognition?

A poll by Tjinsite, a division of TimesJobs.com, found that “more than 35% of … employees consider lack of recognition of work as the biggest hindrance to their productivity.” (Human Resources Today).

Performance recognition that goes the extra mile can add 3.5 years to an employee’s tenure. So, effective, frequent feedback just makes good business sense.


📱 Recognition needs to evolve

What research and experience seems to conclude is that millennials aren’t actually looking for more recognition, just a different kind of recognition, which is more human and personal, and delivered instantaneously.

Millennials deserve recognition worthy of the way that they lead their lives – fast-paced, technologically innovative, personal, meaningful, good quality, and fun. It needs to be:

  • Instant and frequent. Give them the buzz of being appreciated immediately.
  • Consumer-grade: Give them a digital experience that is oh-so-slick.
  • Personal: Ensure the recognition is unique, personal, and meaningful to the individual.
  • Achievement-focused: Rather than celebrating milestones, recognise specific achievements.
  • Peer-to-peer: Enable them to reward each other and watch their loyalty deepen.
  • Mobile: Make people feel appreciated and part of the company, wherever they are.

A huggg is a meaningful message that you can send to your colleagues, with a real life coffee, cake or some-other-slice-of-wonderful attached. Believe me, after passing their probation period, completing an important project, or going above and beyond their day job, your colleagues will love to get a message ping to their phone in recognition.

Millennials recognition

The message that you write is a chance to tell them why their actions were important, and the addition of a little token of appreciation in the form of a huggg is the extra mile.

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