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How to motivate young team members when they are working for no monetary benefit?
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I am working on a project with sophomores who constantly need to be reminded of deadlines, performing duties, and reach out to me when in need. I understand that it is their age playing a factor here. What are the ways in which I can motivate them?
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Chey:

Let me share some best practices; great to see you reaching out for how to motivate your team:

Good news is that they are reaching out to you; first hurdle is engagement.
Try a daily standup meeting; first coach by asking for them to report top priorities and then let them share.
Schedule one on ones with those who need mentoring most; find out what their issues/challenges/motivations are to complete work & meet deadlines.
Assign work that fits their strengths; helps to build up their confidence.
Mentor by walking around; get out of your office and engage with your team.
Share how your team members should work with each other; perhaps setup a contact sheet that list who can be contacted for project charters, schedules, risk mgt, general PM etc.
Have an open door policy set at specific times so you can get work done too.
Remove their obstacles so they can get work done; let them know what resources they can try before reaching out to you.
Pair them up with a more senior team member to mentor, coach on process and transfer knowledge as well as shadow their work to gauge their performance in learning the skill-sets required.

Let me know if this helps.
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I like Naomi's suggestion , especially this one

"Pair them up with a more senior team member to mentor, coach on process and transfer knowledge as well as shadow their work to gauge their performance in learning the skill-sets required. "
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1 reply by Jess De Ocampo
Mar 23, 2017 11:59 PM
Jess De Ocampo
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"Pair them up.." this is what we call "buddy system." Usually the new team members are paired with a seasoned team member and they are expected to work together and get the job done correctly and on time. The seasoned team member shares the best practices and skill/learning is transferred effectively from one individual to the other.
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I know it can sometimes be difficult for a sophomore to articulate what their career goal is. You could try asking them what the next step they wish to undertake after this project.

It's easy for you to offer direction if you know that they want to achieve a specific skill eg ITIL or PRINCE2.

You can also cite examples of how the experience that they are gaining on this project can be applied to another real world project or their next job if they are interested in continuing in the same work area post this project.

The key message is that nothing that you learn in life will ever go to waste and the skills learnt in a job can easily be transferable to the other.

You can take the help of Maslow's pyramid and ascertain where exactly they sit and where they want to go and channel your mentoring or advice accordingly
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Mar 23, 2017 10:51 PM
Replying to Deepesh Rammoorthy, PMP®
...
I like Naomi's suggestion , especially this one

"Pair them up with a more senior team member to mentor, coach on process and transfer knowledge as well as shadow their work to gauge their performance in learning the skill-sets required. "
"Pair them up.." this is what we call "buddy system." Usually the new team members are paired with a seasoned team member and they are expected to work together and get the job done correctly and on time. The seasoned team member shares the best practices and skill/learning is transferred effectively from one individual to the other.
Network:237



The kids aren’t taking the project seriously because they don’t see how it benefits them. At that age kids rarely think about the future beyond reaching the legal drinking age at 21, so they’re definitely not considering the project as a chance to develop good work habits will benefit them 10 and 20 years down the road.
Remind them how difficult the job market is, and tell them that the good habits they develop now will give them a competitive advantage over other job seekers. It’s the difference between getting a good job with an upward career path immediately after graduation, and spending the first several years after college in a low-wage service job with a lot of other well-educated people, and perhaps never being able to escape that rut. Tell them they need to learn how to be successful business people now if they want any hope of having a good future, for one is not guaranteed to them.
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1 reply by Jess De Ocampo
Mar 24, 2017 9:25 AM
Jess De Ocampo
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#Real talk. Great feedback.
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With addition to all the above, I think there are 2 key things can be done
1) Entrusting and giving them some higher responsibility (of course not to over burden them but they will be happy to take up challenges) and recognizing them in front of others and especially leadership. They feel good when they are recognized in front of leadership
2) Make a group and go out on a weekend for some social service activity like going to an orphanage or some old homes. This creates a sense of bonding between the team, they feel good when they serve society and we also, as a part of this, perform the duty in terms of giving back to society

These are my 2 cents and I feel these are good ways to keep a higher level of team bonding and keep them motivated
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You said "sophomores who constantly need to be reminded of deadlines, performing duties" gives me a narrow view of your situation and to give you a spot on "course of action", more background is needed.

I am against unpaid internship. Paid or not, what are your rules of engagement. Has anyone deliberately missed a deadline, with younger workers, you have to understand they are used to schedules, task lists, activities and try to make it similar to what they know and are used to.

We have had younger workers who appear to be slacking off on the job because they are surfing the internet, shopping online or playing games on the computers but in actuality get work done faster than some older employees.

As planner, do an experiment and see how they respond. Assign tasks with deadlines that you have added some slack to without telling them. Don't remind them of deadlines and see how they do. If they miss the deadline, it would be a great teaching moment. This should give you a clearer view of how they are really doing. Reminding them on performing tasks is literarily akin to what they hear from their parents. So unless you are in the business of parenting, you should give them as much of what to expect in the workplace. No micro-managing or reminders.

If they miss a deadline, remind them of what it means. 3 strikes and you are out or whatever your organization deems is the right course of action. There are many sophomores who will like an internship of sorts, if there are no consequences, most people don't really learn. I hope my experiment works out for you. Let us know how everything goes.
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1 reply by S Rajasekar
Mar 24, 2017 7:05 PM
S Rajasekar
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Agree with Edward's comments, If people get job/things easily they don't understand the value until they lose that. For everything there is a price , they have to be paid for their work , if they don't take it serious after 3 warning should be out.

We can't motivate everyday that's not everyday affair , attitude issues are different from lack of motivation
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Mar 24, 2017 12:17 AM
Replying to Eric Simms
...
The kids aren’t taking the project seriously because they don’t see how it benefits them. At that age kids rarely think about the future beyond reaching the legal drinking age at 21, so they’re definitely not considering the project as a chance to develop good work habits will benefit them 10 and 20 years down the road.
Remind them how difficult the job market is, and tell them that the good habits they develop now will give them a competitive advantage over other job seekers. It’s the difference between getting a good job with an upward career path immediately after graduation, and spending the first several years after college in a low-wage service job with a lot of other well-educated people, and perhaps never being able to escape that rut. Tell them they need to learn how to be successful business people now if they want any hope of having a good future, for one is not guaranteed to them.
#Real talk. Great feedback.
Network:1237



It is simple. You have to understand two simple things and mainly, sorry for saying that, apply it to you first (that is for you comment about "sophomores". 1-Newton Laws of Universal Movement that will help you to understand the dynamic of change. I have published an article for a PMI magazzine but in spanish. 2-Reality from the point of view of Quatum Mechanics. That will help you to understand that reality is a matter of perception. Lot of firms and people will try to sell somthing to you as the "silver bullet". I have been involved in lot of "new vawes" (including today) to help organizations to manage this type of situations. Believe me, start for yourself with the two items I wrote.
Network:8517



Hi Chey,

It's all about psychology. Reward is the best motivator. Get a Kanban board and put the names of your "sophomores", their tasks and due dates. The competition at that age, to be the best, will drive to the results you want.
Let us know what you decide and what was the result.
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