Employer Brand: What is it and How Do You Cultivate It?

Want to know the secret to not only attracting talented millennial employees to your company, but retaining them? Hint: it doesn’t involve installing a pool table, adding an on-site gym, or allowing them to bring their dogs to work.

No, if you want to attract the very best employees for your company and keep them for the long haul, you need to get serious about creating an employer brand.

An employer brand is the brand that speaks to your employees. It’s not aimed at the customer, but rather the people who work for you. It should definitely be aligned with your customer brand, but they serve different purposes. The employer brand is meant to both attract AND retain talented millennial employees.

So how do you go about cultivating your employer brand? Start by making sure you fulfill on the four things millennials want from their employers. Millennials want what we all want: to learn and grow, to work for an organization that is real and transparent, to have their managers and bosses offer great feedback so they can improve, and to do fulfilling work that gives them a sense of purpose and contribution. But what makes millennials different than other generations is that if these needs aren’t being met, they are much more willing to change jobs and go someplace else.

To illustrate how you can incorporate the things millennials want most from their workplace into your employer brand, take a look at how four top companies are getting it right with their employees:

 

How Google Provides Space for its Employees to Learn and Grow

You’ve probably heard of Google’s “20 Percent Time” policy. Google allows their employees one full day a week, or 20% of their paid work time, to work on a project of their own choosing that they’re passionate about. Now the project still has to be Google-related, but Google deliberately allows space for its employees to learn and grow. And what’s more, the 20 Percent Time policy isn’t just hollow words on a mission statement: it’s been embedded into their company culture and employer brand since 2004.

Now a 20 Percent Time policy might not be feasible for your company, but there are others ways you can create space for your employees to learn and improve. You can offer a mentorship program, have them take some online courses, or send them to a conference or workshop like Strengths & Story which teaches them about themselves and articulating and creating value for others. When you take an interest in your employees and their career development, you make it about others. And when you make it about others, you will win.

 

How Amazon Takes Authenticity Seriously

It’s hard to go a day without seeing Amazon in the news. The global giant has found a way to impact nearly every aspect of our lives by changing the way we shop for books, music, products, and even groceries. But Amazon isn’t quite the looming Big Brother figure it’s often made out to be. A 2017 study from Cohn & Wolfe named Amazon the most authentic brand in the US. And while that study was comprised of consumer feedback, a recent two-year study of Amazon employees from Kununu found that “Amazon’s employee satisfaction rate exceeds the national average in 12 categories”. Which is a big deal because some of the categories they were scored on include things like company culture, gender equality, and diversity. What this suggests is that the authentic consumer brand Amazon is putting out to the world is also consistent with their internal employer brand.

The fact is, millennials want to work for a company that walks the talk. They want you to be real with them. They want to know your plans for the company and what your vision is for their role within it. And they want to know that your public stance on gender equality, employee development, diversity, etc, isn’t just a sound bite. They want to know that their bosses and managers take that public stance into every interaction with their employees.

 

 

How Patagonia Uses Feedback to Drive Employee Performance Goals

Patagonia, the outdoor clothing and supplies giant, has over 1,500 employees at stores across the US. But to ensure they keep all of their stores working towards the same common objectives, they use a program called HighGround, which allows employees to set goals within the system and receive feedback from their managers on their workplace performance. The program is not required, employees opt-in to using it, but it has more than an 80% adoption rate among the company’s employees and of those, most report that they prefer this more streamlined system to the old ways of receiving feedback. And what has installing this system of feedback done for the company as a whole? Well, for the last three years, Patagonia has taken top 100 spots in the annual lists put together by Great Place to Work, was ranked #6 on the 2018 World’s Most Innovative Companies List, and continues to post annual revenue growth.

Having a system in place for your employees to set goals, receive guidance on reaching those goals, and get feedback from their managers and bosses is vitally important to your company’s overall success. After all, a company is only as good as the people within it – so invest in your people by providing a way for them to communicate and receive feedback! Make use of a program like HighGround. Have schedule quarterly performance reviews. And train your employees how to give and receive constructive feedback on a daily basis.

 

How GoFundMe Gives its Employees Purpose and Contribution

Since 2010, GoFundMe has grown to become one of the world’s most trusted fundraising platforms. Over 10,000 people start a GoFundMe on the site every day to raise money for everything from emergency medical bills to travel expenses to non-profit causes. To hear the transformative stories of real people who have been helped by these fundraisers, you need only listen to an episode or two of their new podcast, True Stories of Good People. So to say that the employees of GoFundMe get a sense of purpose and contribution from their work, isn’t a stretch. For a company like GoFundMe, it’s in their DNA and part of their employer brand.

While your company may not be directly transforming people’s lives the way GoFundMe does, you can still find a way to make purpose and contribution part of your employer brand. Regularly share your client testimonials with your employees. Encourage them to ask for immediate feedback from the consumers they help to experience the real-time effects of their work. Make giving part of your company culture by donating a portion of your profits to a non-profit. Set aside a day to volunteer as a company. Or encourage your employees to use their technical skills to give back to the community. Giving your employees a sense of purpose and contribution isn’t just reserved for social good companies like GoFundMe – you can and should make it part of your employer brand!

 

Need more help developing your employer brand? On March 27th, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into the employer brand during our webinar with Steven Bellach from Bottomline Marketing. Click here to register for the free webinar.

What Millennials Want From Employers

After training over 14,000 millennials around the world from the United States to as far away as Singapore, I’ve discovered that millennials all want the same four things from their employers. The good news? It’s not rocket science. The bad news? Most employers are still not getting it right with their millennial and gen z employees.

Millennials around the world face unique pressures from their governments, culture, and society, but they’re pretty united on what they want out of life, especially from the workplace. Just take a look at this Reddit thread from the summer of 2018 – I’m sure you’ll notice that a lot of the ideas floated by the millennials in this thread sound identical to things you’ve heard from the mouths of your own millennial employees.

The problem of connecting generations is not an American problem, but a global problem. And whether you have a mom-and-pop shop or own an international powerhouse, you need to pay attention to the things your younger employees want from you in order to better connect with them. Getting it right with all your employees is the real key to company growth. So if you want to grow in 2019 (and I bet you do!) you need to learn and implement these four concepts in your workplace:

Millennials Want to Learn and Grow

Millennials want to learn from you, gain real skills, and grow their careers. They are looking for employers who can mentor and guide them or at the very least, make sure they’re getting the education and developmental support they crave.

If you’re not up for mentoring your employees (though I highly encourage you to be that for them) there are tons of resources you can provide them with instead. Earlier this year we talked about the eLearning Revolution. Allow them to sign up for webinars, online conferences, and even courses that will either further develop their skills for the role they have or help them move towards the job they want within your company. You can also send to in-person conferences, seminars, masterminds, networking groups, or workshops to support their professional development. Once a month we teach Strengths & Story here at launchbox – click here to send them to our next workshop. We can also come to your office and work with your team directly.

Millennials Want You to Be Real With Them

As digital natives, the average millennial can sniff out BS a mile away. They’ve seen it ALL. Every sales scheme, fake photo, doctored video, or piece of fake news out there. By default, they expect that people aren’t being honest with them – so it’s up to you to BE REAL!

Millennials want to know your real-deal vision for your company, your plans, goals, and how they specifically fit into that picture of the future. They want to know if there’s potential to grow with your company and if there is, if your vision for their role aligns with their own personal goals. Again, they want to learn and grow and need to know if your company is the place for them to do that. But they can only be sure of it if you get real with them and communicate authentically and transparently about where you’re going.

Millennials Want Great Feedback and Communication

Millennials want authentic feedback from you and clear communication about your expectations for them. They are trying to better themselves both to serve their own goals and yours, but they can’t do that if you’re not straight with them. Learn to deliver honest and consistent feedback daily and coach them to do the same for you. Yes, you deserve great feedback, too! Feedback is how we all learn and grow.

You also need to teach and model good communication skills for your millennial and gen z employees across all mediums: face-to-face, phone, email, and text. For some of your employees, your business might be their first “real job”. So don’t be surprised if they don’t communicate in a way that’s appropriate for the workplace. But it’s up to you to teach them! Don’t be the boss that gripes about them under your breath without doing anything to fix the problem. If you don’t help, then you’re PART of the problem!

Millennials Want Purpose and Contribution

Perhaps above all other things on this list, your millennial employees want to feel that their work has purpose and that they’re contributing in some way, whether it’s to your company or the world at large. For some companies, purpose and contribution are embedded into their very DNA. It’s easy to see who they serve, why they serve them, and how they’re making a difference. But for other companies, it’s not so clear-cut. That doesn’t mean you’re off the hook though. Your millennial and gen z employees want purpose and contribution. And it’s up to you to give it to them or risk losing them to another company that will.

Not sure how to connect the who, what, why, and how of your company to topics of purpose and contribution for your employees? We can help. We can assist you in discovering and developing your personal story and by extension, your company’s story. When you know who you are and what you stand for, you can better articulate what your company is and what IT stands for. The clearer you can make the vision, the better you’ll be able to help your employees find their own purpose and contribution within your company. Because they’re right: the best way to motivate people and retain them, is to give them the sense that what they do actually matters.

 

Having trouble connecting the generations in your workplace? Reach out to us at launchbox to discuss how we can help!

 

5 Tips to Help You Get Promoted at Work This Year

Want to get promoted at work this year? Turns out, it’s not just up to your boss to decide whether you deserve it. There are things you can do to ENSURE you’ll get the promotion! But it all goes back to the two topics we’ve been talking about over the past two weeks: UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF and MAKING IT ABOUT OTHERS. When you know yourself and can communicate it to others in a way that benefits them, you are sure to get promoted. It’s that simple. So if you want to climb the career ladder this year, make sure you put these five actionable tips into practice:

 

Tip #1: You Must Understand the Power of Relationships

Relationships are the most important life/work skill you can have because everything you do is focused on connecting with other people. You must build relationships not only with your boss/employer but also your peers and clients. At launchbox, we’ve worked with many managers, CEOs, and entrepreneurs. One of the things they all consider when promoting an employee is how well that person works with the rest of the team and how well they connect with the clients and customers.

But you cannot begin to truly connect with others until you’ve done the hard work of building a relationship with yourself. That’s the first relationship you should focus on. Which leads me to tip #2.

 

Tip #2: You Must Understand Yourself and Your Strengths

Your strengths are something you’re naturally good at. They are the things you bring to the table to the benefit of your employer and their company. And they’re not hard skills like knowing how to design a logo or understanding python. They’re things like your innate leadership ability or your work ethic. These are strengths you might not even be aware that you have on the surface, which is why building a relationship with yourself is such an important part of the work you need to do to get a promotion. Knowing your unique strengths will help you articulate your value to your manager and cement your place on the team.

 

Tip #3: You Must Know Your Values, Skills, and Passions

The Platinum Rule is treating others how they want to be treated. So along with knowing your strengths, you must know your values, skills, and passions because you need to figure out how to apply them to others. At launchbox, we call this WIFThem: what’s in it for them. You need to be able to communicate how your unique values, skills, and passions add up to a win for your boss. For example, in a discussion about your skills don’t just say, “I’m a people person”. That doesn’t add up to a win for your employer. But if you say, “My skill is that I can connect with other human beings immediately which leads to stronger teams and better client relationships for your company” that’s a win! When you communicate your skills, passions, and values in a way that is other-focused, you will get that promotion.

 

Tip #4: You Must Know Your “Brand”

Brands aren’t just for companies. You need to know and be clear on what your “brand” is. Brands are about who you want to be and how you want to be perceived in the world. At our Strengths & Story workshop, we can take participants through the process of choosing a few brand words for themselves. You can do this, too. Pick three words that define your personal value and how you want to be seen by the world and then hold yourself to them. In business, great brands succeed because they know who they are, what they have to contribute, and then they deliver on it over and over again. Learn from them. Know your brand and consistently demonstrate it to your employer.

 

Tip #5: You Must Learn How to Tell a Connective Story

Finally, to get promoted at work you must learn how to tell a connective story. And not just any story. The story you tell others about yourself must provide value for them so you can connect with them. Remember even though you’re talking about yourself, it’s not about you. Not every story is for every situation. You need to tailor your story to suit your audience and their needs.

Telling a connective story is also not just about what you say. Listening and receiving feedback is just as important as the words leaving your lips. People love people who want to help themselves so be open to receiving suggestion and even criticism. As hard as it may be for you to hear what they have to say, allowing the other person to talk will help build a connection. And when you can connect and make it about them, you will win.

 

Need help? Call (858) 314-9867 to make this the year you stop hoping for the best and start working for it! Sign up for individual coaching and claim your promo code for our next Strengths & Story workshop on January 22nd!

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Know the Power of Relationships
  2. Build a Better Relationship With Yourself
  3. Tell a Connective Story

To Crush 2019, Build a Relationship with Yourself

Over the winter holiday, in a snow-covered house in the mountain town of Deer Valley, Utah, my family gathered for a week of skiing, eating delicious food, and spending time with great company. But it wouldn’t be a Negroni holiday if there wasn’t at least one spirited discussion about how to succeed at work and in life.

One evening, I had the pleasure of defending my position that building relationships is the most important life/work skill any employee or person could have. My host had a different viewpoint, firmly believing that technical skills were more important for success.

“Technical/schmecnical” I said, “Anyone who gets hired should have those basic skills, otherwise the company or hiring manager would be a moron.” To further back my stance, I pulled out my phone, and pulled up this Ted Talk on what makes a good life, by Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger.

In my book, Chasing Relevance, I quoted key insights from the longest-running study on adult development. Directed by Waldinger, the study tracked the lives 700+ men over a period of seventy-five years. Every year, researchers checked in to ask about their work, home lives, health, and happiness.

What they discovered supported the idea that relationships are the most important thing in life: when you have better relationships with yourself and also with others, you’re happier, you live longer, and you even become more successful monetarily.

After we viewed the video clip, I continued to argue my point like only an ex-New York lawyer can and eventually my host capitulated.  He did have one additional question for me though: what relationship would I prioritize over all others on in 2019?

My real-deal, no-BS answer on how to achieve business success is simple. If you want to crush it (yes, that is a technical term) in 2019 then you need to learn how to build a relationship with yourself.

Yes, you. Really!

Your relationship with yourself is the primary relationship you need to focus on in 2019 and always.

Want to know why? Check out the rest of this article that was featured on GLG’s website. And if you need help building a better relationship with yourself, shoot us an e-mail at dan@launchbox365.com or call us at 858.314.9867.

What Employees Really Want

In one of the most highly competitive job markets ever, you would think that less attention may be paid to what employees want from their prospective employers as companies may feel they can be more selective.

However, this is NOT THE CASE. Our world is focused on transparency, yet real views on what is desired from a workplace are evolving as Millennials become the predominant force in the marketplace. People are ready to carve out the workplace of their future with a new zest.  While it may be difficult to pin down and accurately label Millennials [many have tried], one thing is clear: Boomers & Millennials want both many similar and different things from a job at the same time. A recent study asked Millennials and Boomers what they were seeking in a first job. Believe it or not, Boomers were more apt to search for job opportunities that paid well or had an opportunity to learn new skills while a majority of Millennials sought out positions they found enjoyable or felt made a difference. Nonetheless, our research shows both groups are now looking for it all.  There has also been a lot of chatter about Millennials being the purpose-driven generation – their need for a mission. Yet, Millennials like money too and overbroad categorization creates problems that persist. So you ask, what is it Millennials and the now coming up Gen Z’s really want?

And what are the costs associated with not knowing what that is?

You Can’t Afford Not to Know what Millennials Want

The US economy wastes $30.5 billion dollars annually on Millennial turnover. The problem can be measured by its economic impact and the way it impacts company culture.

Millennials currently make over one-third of the workforce and growing. Almost 50% of Millennials say they anticipate leaving within the next twelve months. On average, those same Millennials can generate a $150,000 in revenue each and every year for the companies they plan on leaving. Beyond this loss, companies now need to spend to replace the Millennial who just bolted to a more attractive opportunity. This includes advertising, interviewing, training, onboarding and can add up to anywhere from 50 to 100% of an employee’s annual salary.

These are only the economic costs.

What about the way turnover impacts company culture?

In The Impact of Staff Turnover on Workplace Demands and Coworker Relationships, the author highlights the cultural impact caused by Millennial turnover. The study noted that employees who remain report increased levels of stress, inadequate support and staffing, poor communication, and a lack of collaboration. The study concluded that in order to ease these tensions, workplaces should promote communication and collaboration.

What does this mean for us?

Give the “people” what they want.

What Millennials Want

“Give the people what they want, and they will come.” And, more importantly, they will stay. Attracting top talent can be difficult enough. It’s even harder to keep them. One report indicated that Millennials do more job hopping than any other generation Two-thirds of Millennials “strongly agree” that career advancement is important according to the Millennial Influence Report. Another study conducted by The Society for Human Resource Management reported that “94% of Millennials want to use their skills to benefit a cause” and almost half wish that there were more company-wide service days, days spent away from the workplace and volunteering for a unified cause. When we dig deeper into the data and get honest with ourselves, a clear picture begins to emerge about what Millennials want – connection, coaching, and contribution.

Connection

Millennials want to feel connected: to the leadership of the company and its mission.

The days of disconnected leadership – authoritative, dictatorial management where leadership possesses the answers and the money – are over. Millennials prefer a non-hierarchical form of leadership where their leaders are in service to their evolution as individuals and employees. Flat organizational structures encourage communication and collaboration and allow employees to feel connected to their colleagues and leadership. In addition, Millennials prefer impact over income. Consider that Millennials regularly state that they’d take less income to work for a company where they felt they were making a positive impact in the world. It is no longer enough to pay employees well. Companies must also practice social responsibility and be authentic and transparent with their mission. Millennials not only want to feel connected to their leadership but they want to feel connected to a company’s mission and the community it impacts.

Coaching

Millennials want capability. More than anything they want to learn and grow from their jobs.  This requires great feedback! Unfortunately, this is categorized as them being narcissistic and/or needy. Forget that BS, we all were young once, so let’s take a second to analyze it opportunistically.  Millennials, and actually most of us would prefer the opportunity for constant improvement. More importantly, the employees are asking for it! Remember the Platinum Rule: treat people how they want to be treated. Millennials report feeling “blindsided” annual or quarterly performance reviews and often say they don’t know how the leadership feels about them or their performance. Instead of annual reviews, offer regular feedback geared towards creating positive change and provide opportunities for Millennials to seek that feedback on their own. Empower them with the tools they want, and need, to succeed. Allow them to impress you.

Contribution

Let’s take a look at one of the patterns emerging here. We’ve said that Millennials would rather take less money to make an impact AND what constant feedback. What does this mean for us? Ultimately, Millennials want to feel as though they are making a contribution. Millennials have reported wanting more opportunities to contribute to causes at work, such as service days where employees have the opportunity to take the day off to volunteer. A number of leading companies are offering opportunities and incentives for employees to participate in programs making an impact in their community. When employees receive the opportunity to volunteer, their job satisfaction increases and the community involvement improves the brand’s reputation. With consumers reporting that a brand’s reputation is more important for their product, this is an obvious win-win.

The Three C’s

Millennials are not difficult to decode. They crave transparency and authenticity. They desire opportunities for connection, coaching, and contribution.

It’s important to remember: we’re on the same team here. Millennials and the other generations are all after the same thing. If one generation loses, we all lose. If one wins, we all win. An organization’s employees are working towards a common end. Bridging the gap between organizations is essential for success. Ultimately, Millennials are people, like the rest of us, who aim to create better businesses organizations, and results.

Does your organization need help implementing programs that encourage the three C’s? Shoot us an e-mail at dan@launchbox365.com or call us at 858.314.9867 and we’d be happy to share a few things you can do to make a positive change in your company. Together, we can bridge the gap and help generations work effectively, efficiently, and productively.

What Employers Really Want

In 2000, Mel Gibson starred in a movie called, “What Women Want.” Gibson plays your prototypical male chauvinist advertiser, a modern version of Mad Men’s Don Draper. His character sets off on a journey to discover himself, become a better father, better boyfriend, and to truly, more deeply understand himself.  The catalyst for this change happens after he is forced by an electrocution in an incident with none other than a blow dryer. The incident gives him powers to hear what women really think and read their mind. And, guess what? They don’t like him as much as he thought they did.

The Four Top Traits Employers Want
From (YOU) Millennial and Gen Z Employees

The importance of understanding yourself and the value you bring to others is critical to success. Our focus on growth acceleration for individuals and businesses proves that fact daily. Articulating your skills and traits in a way that aligns with the company’s desires is key to landing the job. Luckily for you, we’ve outlined just for you the four of traits that employers want and that are essential to surviving and thriving in the modern marketplace.

  1. Grit

    Grit is defined as “courage or resolve, strength of character.” The world gets more complicated by the minute with both advances in technology and the rapidity of information and change. Employees need to be able to pivot and be adaptable. Grit or tenacity is now a serious component to get you in the door and survive and thrive in any business. Employers are beginning to test and measure how employees will thrive in tough situations and environments. According to recent research from Gallup, more than half of Americans surveyed are unhappy with their current job and are either seeking or interested in seeking a new one. While that has interesting implications for employers, it also means something for employees: there is a lot of competition as well as turnover. Grit sometimes equates to retention and engagement, people with grit tend to last longer and fight harder. They also are more confident exploring diversity and creativity. So getting and keeping a job without grit is sometimes very difficult in the current climate. This means you may get rejected by multiple employers if you cannot communicate grit and wherewithal to weave, bob and pivot in an interview. So keeping the same positive, upbeat, calm and cool demeanor as you move through the employment process combined with showing Grit – strength of character – is essential to moving through the process successfully. It also will pay huge dividends in keeping the job and getting promotions.

  2. Capable

    You should be able to do the job you are applying for. You should be capable of completing the task you are being asked to. This seems easy enough, right?

    Wrong.

    At the interview stage, It is less about being capable and more about demonstrating how you are capable. Technically, and on paper, you may be more than capable but if you are not able to articulate your value and capability to your boss or the organization, it doesn’t matter. We have spent years teaching over 12,000 millennials how to demonstrate and describe their value through their story, while tough it is a must have for all of life. First, you have to frame your experience in a way that properly articulates the ways in which you meet the companies requirements. WIFThem, or what’s in it for them, your employer. Tell them with gratitude and brevity exactly how your passions and skills meet and exceed the requirements of the position you’re applying for. Then, from there, you can demonstrate how skills outside of what they are asking for demonstrate your capability. What else can you bring to the table? What other value can you provide? Why should you be hired over anyone else? That simple act of communication is the secret to letting them know with great confidence that you’re capable.

  3.  Connect

    Relationships are one of the most important elements of our well-being. According to longest study ever conducted by Harvard, the quality of our relationships is the greatest predictor of the quality of our lives. Approximately 35 % of your waking hours throughout the course of your life will be spent at work. It would stand to reason, then, that the quality of your relationships at work are also the most important part of your overall satisfaction. SO THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP WE CAN GIVE YOU IS BECOME A MASTER AT RELATIONSHIP BUILDING. It is the single most important life/work skill. Furthermore, company’s are searching for employees that fit their workplace culture. It is not enough to be able to do the job. You must also contribute to the culture. You must be able to connect with your coworkers and managers. Do not leave an interview without proving that you excel at relationship building, and be prepared to articulate how. If you want to “crush the interview” and communicate you are a relationship developer, then start at your interview with making sure you are focused on the company and not yourself. You can do that with research and information, which is the key to asking great questions and developing trust and relationships. So to understand what companies might be looking for in their employees, search their website. Read about their values. Search on LinkedIn. Look up the CEO and see if she or he has written any blogs. Search the web for information about the company. We live in The Information Age; ignorance is not an excuse. Learn as much as you can about the company and its values and tell a story about how you will serve them. Let them know how this service aligns your aspirations and skills with theirs. Don’t leave them guessing; make the connections for them.

  4. Contribute

    You’ve done the labor of getting yourself an interview, preparing, and dressing You’ve kept a positive attitude through it all – you were #crushingit on your applications and kept the right mindset through it all. You were able to articulate your value to the company, showing how your skills and areas of expertise filled their needs. You were able to connect with their culture and build relationships, showing how your values and passions align with theirs and your potential co-workers. What is the last thing that will seal the deal? Alright. Millennials and Gen Z has this in spades. That is their need to make a difference and contribute or give back to the world. Some call it purpose. Employers are starting to understand your generation is other focused and wants to make a difference. If you can articulate your desire to contribute to others employers will seal the deal. Every employer wants to hire employees that want to make a difference by helping others. If you’ve done the hard work of getting the job – identifying the company you want to work for and making it to the “promised land” – put in the work to demonstrate your other focused desire to contribute to the companies growth and success.

Conclusion: In today’s competitive marketplace, it is not enough to be a talented employee. To be a successful Millennial, you have to understand how who you are aligns with what the company is looking for, work hard to get the job, continue doing the work, demonstrate your value, skills, passion, and contribution to make a difference. We outlined four qualities that will empower you to get and keep, your job. It’s not enough to know who you are or the value you bring – you’ll have to know yourself, WIFThem, articulate your value, and continue to grow and contribute in a rapidly evolving marketplace. Without them, you will not survive or thrive in the modern workplace.

Not sure where you fit in?

We’re here to help you grow and excel.

Join our Excelerator to take these skills to the next level.

Millennials: eLearning Is Real

This is a guest post by Tarun Reddy, Digital Marketing Manager at 16best.net, expert in Market Research, SEO, Inbound marketing, content marketing, and lead generation. tarun@16bestco.com

Technology has surely come a long way. Who’d have thought online schooling could be a full blown actuality? Yet, eLearning today is changing our lives for the better. Millennials stand to benefit the most from this digital revolution. The first generation to grow up with technology in its truest sense, they know the world is not bound by geography or time anymore. Anything they want is just a click away. And let it be known, these digital natives are not just about unicorn frappuccinos and Snapchat; self-development and knowledge rank very high on their lists.

eLearning is just what it sounds like. It’s the use of electronic technology for educational purposes, shifting the concept of traditional classrooms to our favorite digital devices. We’ve all heard of Coursera and Udemy. These eLearning platforms have opened a vista of opportunities for those willing to learn. Be it graphic designing or medical science, theater acting or corporate leadership, writing fiction or an academic thesis – there’s nothing you can’t find on these sites. Although did you know the seeds of eLearning have been around for much longer? We’re talking about Plato. Not the ancient Greek philosopher but the first computer assisted instruction (CAI) system. Created in 1960 by Donald L. Bitzer, schools and businesses have had a long history of using CAI. But it wasn’t until the 2000s and the global explosion of social networking sites that eLearning truly took off.

Today, this industry is worth a whopping $165 billion. North America accounts for most of the revenue, but other regions are catching up fast. In this day and age, when information is power, nobody can afford the damage caused by a stagnant skill set. Evolving with the times is a necessity. And nobody knows how to do this better than the millennials.

eLearning And Millennials: A Perfect Match

These two are truly a match made in heaven. Here’s why.

The term millennial refers to anyone born in the timeframe between the early 1980s and the early 2000s – right when technology was booming. Unlike others of the previous generations who had to learn to work their way around even basic technology, these young kids are, it seems, born with the genes. With a pen and paper, they may falter a little but give them a digital screen and they will shine. This inclination towards anything that is technology means they are all for the concept of eLearning.

We all know how hyper-connected the millennials are. They have a need to be in the know of things at all times; this is why social networking is such a big deal. Constantly on their digital devices, millennials expect connectivity from the other side as well. After all, a disconnected system is inefficient for everyone. The biggest bane with traditional learning is how it doesn’t support the digital interface. However, eLearning makes accessing education possible from any part of the world and anytime you choose. Millennials vie for feedback. A generic “great work” remark doesn’t do much for them. They need to know what it is that they did right and the exact areas of improvement. Even in early schooling, individualized feedback and attention are preferable to the “one size fits all” approach that many educational institutions tend to take. With eLearning, though, they are part of a constant loop of feedback and are given new goals to accomplish. They can keep track of their progress, self-monitor their way into more knowledge, and learn more efficiently than they ever can in the bounded classroom with hundreds of others.

Unlike what the media keeps portraying them as, millennials are extremely dedicated to self-development. The yogilates class that’s all the rage with them? That isn’t just a whim but a deep-rooted desire to be better. In earlier eras, changes took place much slower; our great-grandparents never really experienced any drastic shift of worldview. Today, things are transforming by the minute. Millennials are bang in the middle of the daily revolution and they are taking it in stride. Standing still, they know, means being pushed out of the rat race. Gulping down new skills and evolving into better, more efficient people is a necessity now. And eLearning is the easiest way to make it happen. If you want to know what the next big thing is, ask a millennial. Chances are not only they know it like the back of their hand, they are also neck deep in it.

With an on the go lifestyle and a constant lookout for the next great adventure, eLearning is their best friend. Millennials are highly achievement-oriented, driven, and genuinely love mastering new skills – the more, the better. But with juggling all the tasks they do, how can they go about learning the latest skills? eLearning does not only facilitate all the learning their heart’s desire but ensures that bite-sized information doesn’t overwhelm the learner. The attention span of millennials is notoriously low. Good luck having them hooked on anything for longer than 20 minutes. Micro-learning might be the answer here. The short yet informative videos you see on Khan Academy? That’s micro-learning. These are basically morsel of information, granular, varying, and most importantly, concise. Micro eLearning modules make learning much more engaging for young wandering minds. In fact, they improve understanding, application levels, and retention by as much as 30%.

What Makes eLearning Great

Now that we know millennials and eLearning go hand in hand, let’s also understand how eLearning works and what makes it an amazing learning solution for every one of us.

Are you ever in control in a classroom? You study a course, designed to the T for you, but by facilitators who don’t take your individual needs into accounts, and it is highly likely they are completely out of touch with the reality of the outside world. In an eLearning environment, you are a king. You choose a course of your liking and a syllabus you find engaging. You choose your pace, revisit a topic as many times as you like, and are in complete control of how you choose to study.

Not everyone looking to develop herself is a young student. Many professionals, at different stages of their careers, want to grow their skill sets, maybe for a career switch or just to be better at their jobs. Years ago, however, there was not much one could do except pray for a training program by the office. Today though, more power belongs to the employees. Develop any relevant skills and impress your colleagues with the flexibility of eLearning.

Got 30 minutes to spare? Instead of scrolling the Facebook newsfeed, you can simply do a bit of learning on the side without having to leave your house or office. Don’t believe it will work? Here are the numbers. The 53% of employees claim eLearning increased their productivity and engagement.

It’s not just individuals who can benefit from eLearning. Organizations are working it to their advantage too. With industries spinning 180 degrees being the new normal, employers are often at their wit’s end, trying to train their employees. After all, introducing the latest software or new techniques to a huge number of people is no easy task. And it’s definitely not cheap. Some companies can simply not afford to constantly keep employees updated; the costs are meteoric and anything they manage to learn will soon become a thing of the past. This is the making of a failing business.

eLearning, however, is a cost-effective solution to your office training needs. Once you have a top-notch Learner Management System (LMS), training the entire organization is much simpler as long as you have the necessary resources and an engaging interface for your employees.

Join The eLearning Revolution

The jack of all trades is the one who is most in demand these days. Specialization, although great, is simply not as important as it used to be. A working knowledge on as many fields as possible and adaptability is what the world wants right now.

If you don’t want to fall behind in the race, it’s time to upgrade yourself. There are tonnes of eLearning sites you can check out. Coursera and Udemy are, of course, well known to us all. They even provide Ivy League university certified courses! If you don’t find what you’re looking for, there’s also Lynda, Udacity, Open Culture, edX, Tuts+ and plenty more for you to try.

These are all asynchronous platforms. That means you don’t have to study or avail resource materials in real time. Anybody who is enrolled can access course material at any time of their choosing. When you’ve got the internet at your fingertips, there is no excuse for a skill gap anymore. Forget the skill gap, for those of us who love the high of knowledge, eLearning is a godsend. No topic is out of limits, and nor are there any restraints holding you back. Enroll in a course right now to become the best version of yourself.

Passion and Power: A Generational Divide

In honor of Memorial Day and in appreciation and remembrance, we thought to share some insights on how the Millennial idea of leadership (laid back, informal, and non-authoritarian) and the military’s idea of leadership (strict, traditional, and authoritarian) seem to be at perfect odds with one another.

But what if the contrast between Millennial’s idea of laid-back leadership and the traditional toughness of the military is actually just a different side of the same coin? What if Millennials and the military are really compatible when they each take the time to understand each other just a little better?

Having worked with both Millennials and leaders in both the military and law Millennials, I know the common phrases that drive leaders nuts when they hear them. But I also know what Millennials really mean when they say certain cringe-inducing things.

The truth is, if military leaders look just under the surface, they may find there is less reason to be frustrated with the things Millennials say and more of an opportunity to build, coach, guide, and connect with these future leaders.

“Can I Take on a Leadership Role, Now?”

In every fiction, you can find a little fact. It isn’t necessarily fair to paint all Millennials with a broad brush, assuming they are all the product of an instant-gratification, everyone-gets-a-trophy childhood. But it is true that Millennials are confident in their abilities, are quick to ask about how they can take on more impactful roles, and they aren’t much interested in grinding for 20 years to get there.

Sometimes this does not mesh well with the structured, earn-your-stripes military. And with rampant Millennial stereotypes, it is understandable why military leaders would grow frustrated with Millennials seemingly asking to receive their dues before they are earned.

But Millennial’s interest in leadership positions is not actually about cutting corners at all. The real source of Millennial’s eagerness to move up the ranks is their passion, dedication and desire to make an impact as soon as possible.

Passion, dedication, and the desire to make an impact. Not bad characteristics of a service member either, right?

Similar to a corporate setting, we suggest military leaders harness that energy and passion by clearly laying out the path to larger, more impactful roles as well as by creating opportunities for Millennials in the military to make an impact all throughout their military journey. These opportunities to make an impact early and often, along with a clear vision of how their future may look, can help keep Millennials engaged throughout their military career.

“What if We Busted Myths and Did Things Differently?”

Receiving suggestions on how to do things differently from Millennials can be difficult to hear for some. With their reputation as the “me” generation, it is easy to blow off a Millennial’s suggestion or critiques as just another know-it-all Millennial trying not to conform to standard procedure.

But creating opportunities for Millennials to share their insights is a chance for the military to utilize the ingenuity of young talent that has grown up with greater access to the wealth of human knowledge than any other generation in history.

Of course, there is a time and place. When it is time to get down to business, Millennials need to help with structure and follow orders and procedures as they are trained to do. But creating opportunities during off-time for Millennials to share new and innovative ways of doing things can yield valuable improvements for how things are done in the military and at the same time helps retain Millennial talent by allowing them to feel they are making an impact.  This is similar to what was shared in our article about reverse mentorship as the key to success for millennials and law firms.

“Hi, how are you?”

Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie cemented the idea of the informal Millennial in pop culture. Though Silicon Valley was always laid back, it was Millennials who relaxed dress codes, made professional relationships more personal, and helped flatten organization structure across the country.

Of course, tradition and formality are cornerstones of the American military, and for good reason. Military leaders should expect that as Millennial recruits exit the buses at Basic Training, they may take longer than previous generations to adjust to the structure and formalities of military life.

There are ways to help this transition along. For example, making sure that Millennial recruits understand why things are done the way they are can go a long way in Millennials compliance in behaving as they are expected. Military leaders don’t need to bend over backward for Millennials, but a little explanation can go a long way in preserving worthy talent.

The military, as well as other professions that emphasize structure such as law enforcement, do not need to be at odds with Millennials. Though at first glance they may appear to be polar-opposites, Millennials actually have a lot to offer the military and other services with a rich tradition. Of course, it will take Millennials adjusting to a more structured and traditional environment, but leaders in the armed services can help this tradition along by taking a moment to really hear what Millennials are really trying to express.  Just listen.

The concepts I’m talking about are simple, have been around for years, and work with all disparate groups, however, to implement them isn’t always easy.  Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to help you see what small changes can be made to make a big impact overall. At launchbox, we do this kind of thing every day, from a personal one on one level all the way up to large organizations.

As an example of connecting and bridging the gap between military and civilians of all ages, as part of this blog, I want to mention an organization that has been extremely rewarding to work with, The Honor Foundation, which is a tremendous resource for Navy SEALs and the U.S. Special Operations community transitioning out of active duty and into civilian life. We’ve provided their members with a custom version of our Strengths & Story workshop to help them be able to translate the skills they acquired in the military and articulate them in a way that allows them to connect with a recruiter or hiring manager when they’re looking for a civilian job.  It’s been a privilege and an honor working with these exceptional people and seeing how they apply the dedication, skills, and passion that they have obtained from their service careers towards new professional opportunities.

If you have any questions or comments about what we do, shoot us an email or give us a call and we’d be happy to share a few things you can do to make a change that’ll help your different generations work more effectively and productively together, dan@launchbox365.com or 858.314.9867

Reverse Mentorship Is the Key to Success for Millennials and Their Law Firms

For years, attorneys have used traditional approaches to mentorship. The familiar, apprentice-type relationships where experienced, tenured lawyers provide advice to the new lawyers in their firm.

Reverse Mentorship Is the Key to Success for Millennials and Their Law FirmsWhile mentorship programs are common in most firms, technology, an evolution of social norms, and the economy have changed the world and millennials comprise a new generation of lawyers that want something more, and they are willing to work for it. Millennials want to be heard and should be heard to enhance succession planning and firm sustainability.

Firms have good reason to listen to what millennials want. Millennials are the largest cohort of the workforce. In today’s world, millennials’ perspective, approach, and relevance are sorely needed for future law firm growth. However, millennials are also leaving the professional industries faster than ever before. Many firms already know they need to change how they conduct management and mentorship to help attract and retain millennial talent. They just don’t know how to ensure the next generation of law firms and law firm leaders can successfully emerge.

Enter reverse mentorship! Reverse mentorship is a concept that provides millennials and more experienced lawyers the platform to teach one another about the business and practice, and also to share new ideas openly. Through reverse mentoring, millennials can thrive and contribute in ways that will launch their careers like never before while still learning valuable lessons from the more experienced members of an organization. Intrigued? Not sure where to start? No worries—we got ya covered!

Understand the Millennial Myth

Young lawyers who want to bring reverse mentorship to their firms should first understand how senior lawyers may perceive them, and they should learn to articulate their value to the organization.

The nature of employment, motivation, and service are completely different from when senior lawyers came up through the ranks. That difference, however, has unfortunately painted the whole millennial generation with negative stereotypes, such as being whiny, lazy, entitled, and unprofessional. The truth about millennials is that they are misunderstood.

Their whining? That comes from a desire for their work to be meaningful. Lazy? Only if you can be lazy and also be one of the most entrepreneurial generations in history. Entitled? More like burdened with college loans, super smart, questioning, and committed to authenticity. Unprofessional? Again, is being different unprofessional? It’s thanks to millennials that many companies now promote work-life balance, require an innovative and transparent approach to problem-solving, and are integrating new technologies.

Opportunities to learn and share ideas across generations quickly bust generational stereotypes. Through open communication, what was once misinterpreted as just a “whiny millennial” can be understood as the voice of someone who wants to contribute in a significant way to the success of the company. What was once seen as “unprofessional” is quickly understood as a new way to achieve better work-life balance.

Millennials want to contribute, help, learn, and grow in an organization. As a profession, we need to ensure that senior lawyers are aware of how much millennials can contribute to the future of the legal profession. Reverse mentorship can achieve this goal.

Discover How Reverse Mentoring Will Bridge the Generational Gap

As the world continues to rapidly change, law firms need to ensure that they remain relevant and have a solid succession plan. Business leaders who are out of touch with younger generations can wreak havoc on a company. Being in touch with the next generation’s likes, dislikes, thoughts, needs, and values is part of a winning strategy to retain millennial attorney talent, and also to attract them as clients.

The truth is, to stay ahead of the game, law firms need millennials’ help in planning for the future.

There’s no better teacher than experience. Just in the same way that a senior partner can pass down lessons learned over the years, young lawyers know social media inside and out as we practically grew up with a screen in our hands. If the goal of mentoring is to pass on your experience to others, no one has more experience with social media than us. In many respects, we can help our firms achieve our goals more quickly, efficiently, and intuitively. You just have to trust us.

—Ethan Wall, President / The Social Media Law Firm

Reverse mentoring programs can also benefit bar associations. The Marin County Bar Association was recently awarded an American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Affiliate Star of the Quarter for its mentorship program that featured a reverse mentoring component. When asked about the inception of the program, then President Dorothy Chou Proudfoot, who initiated the project with the Barristers and Diversity Committee chairs, said:

I was looking for a way to tweak our own somewhat lapsed mentorship program to attract good mentors to participate. In 2017, at the first Barrister’s Happy Hour of the year, we had a great discussion with the Barristers in attendance about how organizations and individuals could promote and enhance the budding careers of Barristers and encourage involvement through opportunities such as featuring them as speakers, and the idea basically took off from there.

As is often in life, the simplest solution to cracking the scary millennial code is the most effective strategy: communication. Senior lawyers can use reverse mentorship to sit down and have real, honest conversations with their young talent to learn how their business, both internal and external, can better appeal to and serve millennials. Reverse mentoring provides the best opportunity for everyone in a firm to feel valued and respected.

Get Tools to Create a Reverse Mentorship Environment

So, you’ve decided you want to try to implement reverse mentoring in your organization. How do you get it done? You need a thoughtful plan that involves building key relationships with people who can make reverse mentoring a reality in your organization. Here are a few steps to help you get started.

Create Mindset. To create a positive mindset that will be open to reverse mentoring, you must start with an honest self-assessment. The best way to become confident in connecting and building relationships is to truly understand who you are and how you add value. Not sure where to start? See if your organization offers any self-assessment tools or trainings, or check out the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the Clifton Strengths assessment.

Communicate Authentically. Once you understand yourself and have a mindset of helping others, you’re ready to start connecting and building relationships with decision-makers. Identify a senior lawyer in your firm to be your mentor and schedule time with that person by suggesting coffee, drinks, or lunch. This is a great way to start an informal discussion on the work you’re doing, how you’re accomplishing it, what difficulties you’re facing, and how those challenges can be overcome to better serve the organization.

Keep Building the Relationship. Make sure you are always focused on building relationships. One effective strategy for strengthening relationships and building trust is to ask questions such as:

  • How can I help you finish this project?
  • Was the work I did on X helpful in finishing the assignment?
  • Was there anything I could have done to make this project easier for you?
  • Do I have your permission to share an idea I have for improving X?

Be direct, but thoughtful. As you begin to have these newly framed conversations with your mentor, you’ll begin to see common themes or challenges come up and either learn how your mentor overcame a similar obstacle, or use it as an opportunity to brainstorm new ways to tackle it. It’s a great opportunity to build positive and productive interactions between generations.

Now that you have done your prep work, you’re ready to pitch a reverse mentorship program. When you’re approaching the idea of a reverse mentorship to your mentor, remember the Platinum Rule: Treat others how they want to be treated. Make the conversation about them and the organization and not about you. Share your vision of how reverse mentorship will be an effective tool for sharing ideas, identifying more efficiencies, and opening up communication to help everyone in the firm. Come prepared with a thoughtful proposal that will help get your mentor onboard with the idea. Remember that everyone at the firm is busy and free time is a luxury, so make sure to provide the best value in the shortest amount of time.

When making a pitch, we suggest coming up with both formal and informal methods for developing a reverse mentorship program. You could consider enlisting the help of an experienced organization or come up with your own less formal ideas for starting a reverse mentorship. No matter what approach you decide to implement, reverse mentorship benefits everyone and can provide a treasure trove of unique insights that might otherwise go unheard.

Who could argue with that?


by Dan Negroni and Joann Grages Burnett
Originally appeared: American Bar Association

How to Become a True Leader of People

The meme below has been circulating on the internet for a while now and for good reason. In a single image, it illustrates the stark contrast between a boss and a leader.

leader vs. boss meme

The “boss” will look familiar to most people. Like a general in the army, a boss maintains order, doles out instructions, and punishes poor performance. A boss’ relationship with their people is colder; their staff function only out of a sense of duty, following the commands of someone else with more power.

But thanks to Millennials and their need for professional development and authentic relationships, the boss approach to management is slowly dying. In offices around the world, bosses are being replaced by leaders.

Leaders take a my-door-is-always-open to teach, help, guide, and learn approach to management. Being a leader is not about authority, but instead about support, empathy, and maybe even vulnerability. Mistakes and even failure are used as catalysts to teach and learn, staff receive consistent coaching and mentoring ala intentional feedback from their superiors on how they can improve, and workplace relationships are personal and genuine.

The difference between a boss and a leader is crucial. Being a boss may make some feel important, but young talent responds quickly by walking out of the door or giving only the minimal effort required to appease the boss in charge. Both are costly to organizations.

More motivated young talent, greater respect from colleagues, and improved performance for everyone comes with real leadership. I am sure that all sounds great. But how do you actually make the transition from being a boss to a leader?

Making the Transition from Boss to Leader

One of the most important things that we focus on in our workshops at launchbox is teaching people how to become their best self, focused on impacting others, or in other words, an awesome leader that everyone wants to work with. This is an intensive learning process, but there are a few things you can do right now to start making the transition yourself.

Become Self Aware and Realize Authoritarian Management is Temporary

In terms of management style, being an authoritarian hard-ass is the easy way out. It is all emotion, no thought, and it doesn’t require you to come up with any actual solutions or impact.

And that is why the leaders who are most effective, not just with Millennials but as managers in general, present themselves as supportive mentors and coaches to their younger staff instead.

Rather than yell, a leader walks their people through their mistakes, identifies ways they can improve, and helps support others while they try to turn their advice into tools for others’ actions. These are not moments for the leader to exercise power, they are teaching, learning and growing opportunities.

This approach is critical when working with Millennials. Millennials enter the workforce lacking key professional skills, but they are also incredibly eager to learn. The best leaders use that eagerness to their advantage, coaching and mentoring their young talent at every opportunity.

Provide Constant Feedback

The days of solely relying on a yearly performance review are over. In fact, even increasing to quarterly reviews will leave your younger talent feeling forgotten. To truly satisfy their need for feedback, leaders should be providing their Millennials feedback, on average, about once per day/month depending what is needed.  We call it “on-demand.”

That may sound like a lot, but keep in mind, Millennials are also not expecting full-blown official performance review meetings either, they just want I got your back “drive-bys” pardon the politically incorrect reference.

Instead, Millennials want regular, flash-feedback on their performance so they can be sure they are always working towards improving as professionals and are aligned with their leaders. Whether it is a 10-minute exchange on Slack or a cup of coffee on Monday morning, Millennials don’t need an official meeting. They just want to pick the brain of their leader to understand how they can improve and re-establish that both parties are humans trying to do the best job they can. And attain madass skills.

Inspire Through Authenticity

Why are Millennials more interested in what influencers on Instagram are wearing than what massive corporation is pushing via million dollar ad campaigns?

The answer is authenticity.

And authenticity is as critical for effectively leading Millennials as it is for getting them to buy your product.

Authentic leaders create real relationships with their staff. They share their personal story and they listen to the stories of their people. They develop relationships that go beyond the workplace. And they aren’t above letting their people know they appreciate their hard work.

The result is that authentic leaders and their followers begin to understand each other as people with a genuine connection. Their staff wants to do a good job not out of a sense of duty, but because they care about how their actions affect their colleagues and leaders. It becomes about helping people and working together to achieve goals as a team or contribution. And that intrinsic motivation is how you truly get the best out of people.

Becoming a true leader and leaving the boss behind is no easy task: it demands far higher emotional IQ, more depth of thought, learning, vulnerability, other focused disciplines, and more daily effort than being an authoritarian boss. However, those who can achieve the status of a true leader reap benefits that make all the extra effort worth it.