Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably been inundated with news about Facebook’s 5 billion dollar IPO that was recently filed. But if you’re like a lot of employers, you’ve had Facebook fatigue for a while. The fact that your millennial employees are loggedon to the site during work hours drives you crazy – so crazy that you’ve considered blocking it.

No Facebook! No Deal?

According to Cisco’s Second Annual Connected World Technology Report, which surveyed 1,400 college students age 18 to 23, and 1,400 young professionals under 30, across 14 countries, the ability to use social media, mobile devices, and the Internet more freely in the workplace can influence job choice – sometimes even more than salary.

Here’s a kicker: Millennials long to work for cool companies, and blocking Facebook is the fastest way to make yours look like a dinosaur.In fact, 40 percent of college students and 45 percent of young professionals said they would accept lower-paying jobs in exchange for those freedoms. You read that right. Less money!
It’s clear that it is time to stop thinking of Facebook as productivity’s number one enemy, and start thinking of it as the answer to engaging Generation Y.
Here are four reasons why Facebook is the secret to motivating Millennials:

1) Reaches Millennials Where They Are
If you’ve tried traditional corporate incentive programs, you know that getting employees to use them (beyond the initial sign up) is half the battle. The answer, according to Jim Nichols of Forbes.com, is to “fish where the fish are.”
Millennial fish, as we know, are swimming on Facebook. In fact, Price Waterhouse Cooper reports that 92 percent of United States’ Millennials belong to an online social network. The data is so overwhelming, that it’s critical to view the Facebook millennial connection as a no-brainer. That’s why the site is the perfect home for your next program.
Facebook has a big advantage over external Web sites with log-ins that may be forgotten, or old-fashioned rewards catalogs that may never get paged through. On Facebook, it’s all right there, easily accessed and updated in real time. Plus, since Gen Y tends to surf via smart phone, programs that reward out-of office habits (think: wellness initiatives), are a perfect fit — as users can participate while jogging on the treadmill or eating a healthy meal.

2) Praises them Publicly
Millennials crave compliments and need reassurance that they are performing well, according to Barbara Keats, a management professor at the W.P. Carey School of Business.. Remember, as kids they earned trophy after trophy for “participation,” according to Knowledge Wharton High School. So it’s no surprise to learn that they are hungry for positive feedback. But like anything else in their lives, if it isn’t posted on their wall, it’s almost like it didn’t happen at all. In other words, accolades that can be viewed by their colleagues will pack twice the punch. Facebook makes it painless to commend and reward your employees publicly.

3) Provides a Group Infrastructure
Millennials love a collaborative atmosphere and thrive when allowed to work in groups. They don’t mind sharing the glory of achieving things via team effort. With a Facebook based incentive program, you can easily gather employees into teams, and allow them the option of working toward group rewards. Doing so will strengthen existing group ties, build new ones, and reinforce the work environment that Millennials consistently say they want.

4) Increases Value of Rewards Exponentially
By seeing what their peers have earned and enjoyed, the rewards that you offer will grow in perceived value – and Millennial staffers will be more motivated than ever to rack them up. A recent study by Bazaarvoice reported that eight out of 10 Millennials value user-generated content above all other marketing materials. In fact, user feedback and reviews influence them so much that they simply will not purchase big-ticket items without consulting them first. With a Facebook based incentive program, employees won’t just read about the volunteer trip to Cambodia that they can earn– they’ll also be able to browse testimonials from people who’ve experienced the trip first hand and loved it.

In short, you know for a fact that your Millennial workforce loves Facebook. So why waste another minute bemoaning it? Instead, treat Facebook like the opportunity that it is. Use it to boost productivity, foster loyalty and incentivize your employees.