How To Manage, Motivate and Lead Millennials/Gen Y

I recently appeared on a panel on “The Future of PR Agencies,” along with Steve Barrett, managing editor of PR Week, at the North American meeting of the IPREX global communications network. One of the issues which came up was how to best motivate, manage and lead Millennials (Gen Y). I wasn’t surprised. After all, they are the largest and fastest-growing part of the labor pool.

(By the way, Steve Barrett recently wrote a thoughtful post “In defense of Generation Y,” which is worth a read.)

Since this topic was on the minds of these agency owners and leaders, I thought it might be on yours too. (If it’s not, it should be!) So here’s a link to a recent blog post I wrote on Managing and Motivating Millennials for PRSA NJ.

And below is a synopsis of a piece I penned on this subject for Al Croft’s Management Strategies for PR Firms.

“Millennials are a great generation who’ll achieve much for your agency, if you provide the right kind of leadership. So you can gripe about them, or you can take responsibility for doing a better job of attracting, retaining, and managing this important workforce group. To do so effectively, you must understand their attributes, values and experiences growing up. The article includes what I think are their 10 most important traits, as well as 20 tips to manage and motivate your Millennials more effectively, enhance their performance and increase your ability to retain them longer.”

To read the full article, click here.

Not only do I think these observations are still current, I believe it’s more important than ever to learn how to lead, manage and motivate this group. Why?

1) GenXers are taking on even greater leadership roles in our business, and many of them find it particularly tough to manage the generation that came after them;

2) The agency business continues to rebound. That means Gen Y communications professionals are choosier about where they work than they were in 2011 and 2010. So they’ll be seeking employment in organizations that are known to be Millennial-friendly.

Is yours?

Do you find it particularly challenging to lead, manage, and motivate Millennials?  What techniques have you successfully employed to do so? I welcome your comments!




Ken Jacobs

I’m the principal of Jacobs Communications Consulting, which helps public relations and communications agencies and organizations grow and manage business, and enhance staff performance, leadership and communications skills.We do so via consulting, training, and coaching. To learn more, please click on the “Jacobs Communications Consulting” tab on the top.


The thing I don't understand about the generational divide is this...WHO CARES? I'm sure the traditionalists thought the Baby Boomers were ridiculous when they began their careers. If a person is really good at their job, what does it matter how old they are or which generation they lie? I know plenty of Gen Xers I want to shake because they're so close-minded when it comes to business. And plenty of Baby Boomers and Gen Yers who totally get it. 


Now, that said, I would never recommend putting a new college graduate in charge of your social media efforts, simply because they don't yet have business experience. But that's less about generation and more about being brand new to the working world.


Why not figure out how individuals like to be motivated and work that way instead of classifying them in generations?


  1. […] I learned from (lovable, calm, sweet-natured, optimistic) Ken Jacobs’ “Managing and Motivating Millennials” session at the PRSA Western District Conference over the weekend, Millennials are those of us […]