Money isn’t the main motivator for millennials, explains Cornerstone OnDemand

Written by Colette Wade, Regional VP, EMEA Marketing & Business Development at Cornerstone OnDemand on 12 May 2015 in Press Zone
Press Zone

Colette Wade, Regional VP, EMEA Marketing & Business Development at Cornerstone OnDemand​, explains what motivates generation Y.

They say money doesn’t buy happiness, and for today’s millennial workers this phrase holds true more than ever. With the rise of the connected world, priorities are shifting, and we are now in an era where personal fulfilment and upskilling on the job are more valuable to millennial workers than their pay cheque.

As time and priorities shift, businesses must adapt to remain interesting to both current and prospective employees. That is, they must reflect the values, attitudes, and lifestyle of the future workforce who want instant gratification, freedom, and to use time wisely and actively. Millennials want to be fulfilled Having a sense of purpose and workplace flexibility are proving more important to millennials than in previous generations.

This sense of purpose is defined in a two-fold manner, between how they can contribute as a person and ‘be someone’ and also in the purpose of the company. Thinking of their own personal fulfilment, they might ask “how is my work relevant?” or “how do I fit into the organisational puzzle?” and so need transparency on how their personal goals align to business goals.

On the company purpose side, this year’s Deloitte 2014 Millennial Survey showed 60% of respondents said a “sense of purpose” is part of the reason they chose their employer. In this instance, they need to understand how the company relates to the wider world, and how it contributes something good to society.

Work flexibility is also important to fulfilment. PwC’s Millennials at Work study showed that many would give up pay or delay a promotion to achieve the ideal work schedule. Today’s high-performing companies are engraining flexibility in how they run.

Take companies such as Virgin, Best Buy and Evernote, who boast unlimited vacation policies that give the power to have time off back to the employee – as long as they coordinate and deliver for their teams. In this way, millennials see value in the output of their work – not the time they spend at their office desk.

Continuous learning and development is vital Millennial workers are aspirational. Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey found just 28 per cent of Millennials feel their current workplace is making full use of their skills, and that more than half (53 per cent) want to become the leader or most senior executive within their organisation.

These workers don’t just want to sit and earn money; these workers want to grow and develop, investing time in acquiring new skills and knowledge they need to do so. Where on-the-job training was once a compliance matter, we now see a shift to rich learning experiences that help employees flourish and embrace their interests, passions and career goals.

This desire to lead needs to become a priority for businesses, with 75 per cent of those in Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey believing their organisation could do more to develop its future leaders. This presents a gap and opportunity for those companies that move quickly to become renowned for their leadership programs.

However, talent management is the challenge, with most millennials wanting multiple careers in their lifetime – so, why not allow them to shift internally, both vertically and horizontally? With the right training, employees will be equipped to build bonds and experience the company in a holistic way.

What all of this research shows is that organisations need to develop now in order to be desirable to younger candidates that will sustain companies’ futures.

The so-called ‘future of work’ is now; don’t lose the best new employees through a retired strategy. Our software can help address the two points above: fulfilment and development. Through our cloud-based solution, it is easy to recruit, train, manage and engage millennials, empowering them to succeed for themselves and the business. For more information, please visit:

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