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An HR Guide To Recognizing Millennials At Work

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An HR Guide To Recognizing Millennials At Work

Millennials already comprise a significant percentage of the global workforce and this number is expected to grow to around 75% by the year 2025. In general, professionals belonging to this generation tend to be more confident, digitally savvy, clear-headed, expressive, and adaptable as compared to their predecessors. That is why organizations often find the task of keeping millennials engaged and motivated somewhat challenging. Hence, when it comes to recognizing millennials at work, organizations need to put in the right policies and systems that cater to their needs which differ significantly from those of earlier generations.

Understanding the Recognition Needs of Millennials

The one thing that makes millennials unique is that they were born and brought up during a period when the world was experiencing major advances in technology and the digital era was just ushering in. This has made them highly tech-savvy and innovative.

Employee Recognition Program can drive Cultural Change

Most millennials are also known to be extremely competitive and have a strong desire to excel in everything they do. They also tend to be motivated by things that employees belonging to previous generations would not consider important. These may include aspects such as a better work-life balance, a more flexible work environment, and the use of digital technology, etc.

Tips for Effective Recognition Strategy for Millennials

For developing an effective employee recognition program for millennials, organizations need to consider the various factors that may impact their engagement, efficiency, and happiness. Here are a few effective tips that can help organizations in this context:

An HR Guide to Recognizing Millennials at Work

1. Clear Criteria for Recognition

How to Build an Effective Business Case for Employee Recognition

Millennials feel highly motivated by clarity of purpose and the meaning of their jobs. They need to feel connected with the mission and values of the organization.

Recognition policies with well-defined criteria that help them link the rewards to their contribution towards achieving the business objectives prove most effective for them.

2. On-the-Spot Recognition

Should Rewards and Recognition be only for Entry-Level Employees?

Born and brought up in a culture that values instant gratification, millennials are most motivated by instant recognition from their supervisors and managers. Hence on-the-spot recognition or spot awards should be part of the rewards and recognition programs targeted towards them.

3. Digital Recognition Platform


The use of digital technology and mobile devices form is an integral part of the lives of millennials. Hence, the use of digital employee recognition is an absolute must to maximize the effectiveness of such programs.

4. Gamification of Recognition


A positive and fun environment at work is one of the key motivators for millennials. Hence, organizations should include various aspects of gamification such as reward points, e-gift cards, digital leaderboards, contests, and challenges, etc. in their employee recognition programs.

5. Social Visibility

Awards Event

Most millennials spend considerable time on various social media platforms for both personal and professional reasons. Thus integration with social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook should be essential to any recognition program aimed at millennials.

6. Peer-to-Peer Recognition

Integrating Employee Recognition with the Organizational Culture

Millennials consider being appreciated by their coworkers important. So, promoting peer-to-peer recognition should be integral to recognition programs targeted towards them.


Developing effective policies for recognizing millennials can help organizations motivate them effectively, enhance their overall performance and help drive business success.

Sagar Chaudhuri

Lead author: Sagar Chaudhuri, the Co-Founder and CEO of HiFives. He is an HR Tech Evangelist with over 25 years of experience in the corporate world and entrepreneurship. In the past, Sagar has worked with companies such as Genpact, Infosys, and ICICI Bank, in leadership roles. He has an engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur and an MBA from IIM Lucknow. Connect on LinkedIn

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HiFives is a global employee rewards, recognition and engagement SaaS platform that enables organizations to digitize, automate and transform their employee experience. It is used by 100+ large enterprises, small businesses and startups in manufacturing, retail, technology, financial services and media, across 25+ countries.