At Applied Influence Group we believe that understanding motivations is fundamental to effectively influencing people.  We've spent quite a lot of time recently talking with our clients about how this applies to millennials and whether it's really any different to other generations.  

At times I think the belief that millennials somehow function differently to other generations is over played.  Daniel Pink's contention that we're all motivated by autonomy, mastery and purpose seems to fit well with Julie's article that's quoted here.  

Technology has changed the focus of autonomy from a choice about what we work on to a focus on when and where.  

The dynamic evolution of work in many sectors has seen a move from the mastery of skills developed over a lifetime to the rapid acquisition of high levels of skill before individuals move on to learn new things.

Purpose is one area that really hasn't changed.  Organisations throughout history have thrived when the leadership has created a clear purpose and then evoked a passion for it within the organisation.

While autonomy, mastery and purpose may work at the collective level, individually we're all still very different.  Stephen Reiss's 16 basic desires is a useful framework to try to identify individual's motivations.  Idealism, curiosity, independence and social contact appear to be increasingly important to many millennials but more traditional motivations such as family, acceptance, order, power and social status are still very important to others.  

So to motivate your millennials (or anyone really) give them autonomy, mastery and purpose but also consider them individually.