Millennials are the Power! Are we safe yet? You bet we are!

Millennials are no longer happy with the stereotypes attributed to them over the past decade. They and their fast growing Gen Z counterparts have had it with labels.  As a matter of fact, most millennials don’t even want to be called millennials. They are exiting their cocoon of their early 20s and headed towards full-blown adulthood, ready to take us on.  Good for them! We need them.

They have been derided for being entitled and self-absorbed. However, millennials are now a little older, a little wiser, and making their way up the corporate ladder as they become comfortable in their own skin. They are taking on leadership roles as professionals, shedding their student loan debt, buying homes, starting families, and planning for the less-distant future.

What does this mean for the millennial generation and for all of us?  A lot! What defining characteristics of their generation will stay and what will change as they evolve?  And what aspects of their generational culture will they bring with them into their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond?

What Will Stay the Same

Millennials Will Stay Frugal

You know your grandfather who hasn’t bought a new pair of underwear since 1967 and he only bought them because your grandma threatened to leave him if he didn’t? Of course you do, that is almost everyone’s grandpa!

The point is, old habits die hard. And after almost two decades of scrapping their way out of student debt, millennials are sure to bring their frugal mindset that has helped them survive (days of living on Ramen and Oreos) with them into adulthood and beyond.

In their 20s and 30s, millennials have shown that a good deal beats all else. Nothing—not brand recognition, not social cache—will distract them from an opportunity to save a few bucks and not be wasteful. What they do love is customer loyalty programs, price matching, and any other cost-slashing schemes that can provide value to them and to the world.

They hate to waste, like to recycle, always turn the lights off, save water, and care about the future of the world.

Much like your grandfather’s underwear, we expect millennials to proudly take these frugal and waste prevention traits well into their twilight years.

Seamless Work Life Balance

When millennials finally take the reins over the workplace, you can expect work life balance—a la Scandinavian countries–to be a priority. Paid maternity, flexible working hours, working remotely, paid vacations, and child care allowances are only going to become more prevalent as these types of benefits shift from office perks to office requirements.

Employers who are interested in attracting top talent should heed the early signs of this trend now and begin making preparations for the inevitable. What is currently the low grumble of a large minority will soon be the majority of workplaces as millennials expect that their life and work be integrated as seamlessly as possible. Employers who orient themselves in this way will win out, leaving those too stubborn or unwilling to change in the dust.

Experience-Focused

Millennials have never been much for the designer brands and the social cache that comes from spending on material goods. Instead, they have always chosen to spend on experiences.

According to a study conducted by Harris,  3 out of 4 millennials would prefer to spend on an experience than on a material good and 77% report their best memories are from enjoying a live event. That is about a strong a preference as any.

We see this trend of experiential spending continuing into the future. Millennials will continue to use their money for experiences: travel, outdoor adventures, live music, craft beer and coffee, and other experiential spending.

How Millennials Will Change

They Will Become Slightly More Conservative

Like any generation, what starts out as a group of hippies hell-bent on changing the world ends up looking more like an Intel staff photo from 1985. As they get older, generations tend to become a little more conservative, a little less interested in challenging norms, and a little weary of younger generations.

We foresee millennials going a similar route. They will likely reel in their liberal values a bit, staying more liberal than their parents but more conservative than their children’s generation. This will mean that millennials will likely face the same predicament when they become senior staff that Boomers have when facing millennials: large generational gaps…

They Will Have Families… Finally!

With the last student loan payments lifted off their shoulders, millennials will enjoy the sweet, sweet victory of moving out of their parent’s homes… and taking on a home mortgage.

Though millennials are well behind their parents timeline to adulthood, early indications suggest that they will head down more conventional paths. This will, finally, include buying homes, becoming proactive over their finances, and having children.

Reaching the milestones of homeownership and parenthood will also mean millennials will be making equally adult-like purchases. For certain sectors, this will mean 80 million new customers and some sectors are already looking to corner the market. For example, Home Depot has begun providing tutorials focused around first time homeowners. Banks have also caught on, using their brick and mortar locations to provide personalized finance advice to its millennial customers who are realizing the importance of personal finance for the first time.

From Mentee to Mentor

Millennials entered the workforce as a generation that had a unique craving for learning, professional development, and opportunities to glean wisdom from more senior staff. These now young and energetic mentees will slowly replace their mentors. The millennials will become the mentors to Gen Z and the generations that follow. And we expect them to do a good job of it. After all, millennials were the generation that famously placed professional development above salary in terms of workplace perks. We don’t foresee this group pulling up the ladder behind them.

Millennials are a force to be reckoned with as more and more enter full-on adulthood. Such a large group of people hitting adulthood will create incredible opportunity for both businesses and employers, as well as pose a great risk for those not agile enough to adjust to a new consumer market.

Make sure you know how to attract, retain, and engage them as customers and employees.  We do at launchbox365. http://launchbox365.com

Sign up for a free consultation on how to improve your relationships with Millennials and Gen Z.  dannegroni.com/socialconnect

The “M” Word (Millennial): Reverse Ageism at its worst…

We know that making sweeping generalizations about any group of people being “lazy,” “unprofessional,” “unreliable,” or “narcissistic” is repugnant. Unless we are talking about the dreaded “M” word,  Millennials. Then, apparently, it’s okay.    

After years of having their generation smeared by Baby Boomers, Gen X, and the media, Millennials are perceived negatively as professionals at first glance.

Millennials often enter a workplace climate in which it is okay to make negative assumptions about the quality of work they can produce, the professionalism they will display, and their dedication to their job.

It is called Reverse Ageism and it presents a serious hurdle to young talent in your office no matter how capable they actually are.

And the problem is not cost-free. The impact of these negative stereotypes contributes to high turnover rates of Millennials, costing the US economy billions of dollars every year and negatively impact the productivity and culture of individual organizations.  For an organization with 50,000 employees, 40% of which are Millennials, this can be a billion dollar problem annually – billion with a B.

With generational tensions already high, it is important to understand the extent of the negative stereotyping of Millennial professionals and how you can help rid your workplace of Reverse Ageism.

The Problem of Reverse Ageism

Regular stereotyping of Millennial workers in pop culture and offices alike has led to socially acceptable age-discrimination against younger staff. According to a report titled  Discriminating Against Millennials in the Workplace Analysis on Age Discrimination Against Young Adults, Millennials face a perception in the workplace from older staff of being “entitled, hard to train, and uncommitted to their position of employment.”

And this perception has real ramifications for the young talent in your office.

In their paper Too Old or Too Young? The Impact of Perceived Age Discrimination, authors Ed Snape and Tom Redman cite a study which found that “being seen as untrustworthy and being given less responsibility were common” among undergraduate business students. And that is if they are hired at all; experts now cite a hesitancy in employers over hiring younger staff.

Even worse, this is happening at the beginning of Millennial’s careers, right when they need opportunities to learn, develop, and hone their professional skills the most. But too often they are never given those opportunities, forcing them to leave their employer —re-confirming the ‘job-hunting’ stereotype— and continuing the negative cycle at their next job.  

Reverse Ageism Is a Million Dollar Problem for Companies

Ageism isn’t just a bummer deal for Millennials. If you are a mid to large sized company, reverse ageism could potentially be costing you millions of dollars, your most productive employees, and ruining your company culture.

On average, Millennials stay in a role for 1.3 years, which Gallup estimates costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. That’s a ton of coin.

And money isn’t the only loss for companies. Recruitment costs, onboarding costs, loss of productivity from watching colleagues leave, and lower productivity of new hires all negatively affect a company, its culture and its bottom line. Not to mention these young staff that are leaving are often more productive than senior staff and almost universally less expensive to hire, hurting your bottom line even further.

These are real costs to your company, but they are fixable. They require thought, time, investment and a commitment to emphasizing the strengths of your Millennial staff and helping the five generations working together today to bridge the gaps between them and leverage their unique strengths.

Millennials Have Unique Gifts and Gaps

Unlike the other four generations in the workplace, Millennials have a unique set of talents and disadvantages: what they may lack in interpersonal skills they make up for in fast research through collaboration, for example.  They have real strengths as employees. It is certainly true that they may not have the industry knowledge of a 30-year veteran, but that doesn’t mean they can’t bring powerful value to your organization.

For one, while it may be true Millennials lack some essential professional skills, they are happier than any other generation to develop and hone their skills given the chance. Gallup found that 87% of Millennials believe “development is important in a job” and development opportunities regularly score higher than pay when Millennials rank the benefits of a job.

Millennials are also fantastic when it comes to problem solving using technology, are very strong collaborators, and are professionally curious. The point being, while they may not be walking into your office on the first day of work as perfectly polished professionals, they have the eagerness and desire to learn that should allow you to sculpt them into the exact type professional you think will thrive in your organization.

The catch is that they know when they are liked, wanted, respected and valued.

Investment really is the key. Employers who want to put a stop to both the generational tensions in their office and the high turnover rate of Millennials need to take the time to train the enterprise to bridge generational gaps. That process starts with providing Millennials with the training opportunities that develop their professional skills and make them feel that they are valued in the workplace and gives them a sense of progressing as professionals.

We suspect you might even be surprised by what they can do.  

5 Quick Ways to Keep Millennials by Compensating Them the Way they want to be Compensated

The workplace in 2017 is changing at lightning speed. Millennials play a huge role in the major shift that is happening. The way companies conduct business is drastically different than just a decade ago. Millennials, who currently make up half of the workplace, are estimated to be 75% of the working economy in the next eight years.

An eye-opening research study by HUB International called, The Essential Guide to Compensation and Performance Practices: The Millennial Influence, illustrates important findings about what drives this generation.

Why does this matter to you? And how does this affect your company?

If you want to stay relevant, profitable, and affect change, understanding how millennials perform and how they want to be compensated matters…a lot. After looking at the key findings, we highlighted the top 5 ways to compensate millennials based on the success and feedback we’ve received at Launchbox working with over 5,000 millennials. Here they are:

1. Have Competitive Base Pay

Compensation matters to all employees, regardless of age. However, traditional compensation programs don’t motivate millennials. 68% of millennials strongly agree that their company “pays for the value and results I being to the company.”

Millennials actually want to be paid based on the value they bring. A compensation plan that includes value-based increases, instead of annual merit increases, is much more appealing to millennials. 60% of millennials say competitive base pay is the #1 factor for staying with their employer. If your company is not creating value-based incentives and compensation based on individual performance, your millennials will leave.

During our strengths and stories workshops, we hyper focus on how millennials can understand their strengths, improve upon them, and then communicate their value effectively in in WIFTthem (“What’s in it for them?”) fashion, so their employer understands the value they provide. As a millennial coach or manager, make it clear how your millennials can add value to your company, articulate it well, and therefore be paid more as a result.

2. Make Work Interesting and Challenging

Millennials are hungry for growth and development. They value career advancement, learning, and like to be challenged. Millennials, unlike previous generations, don’t see the value in merely “grinding it out” for years, and then rising to the op. They want to see a clear path to the top, and be engaged, challenged, and interested along the way.

As a millennial coach, you can create interesting and challenging work for your employees by tapping into their “intreprenuer.” Almost two-thirds of millennials wish to start their own business. They are hungry to innovate, and this can be a huge asset to any organization. Provide the structure so that millennials can experiment with new ideas and create new solutions within the company. A culture that promotes a healthy balance of structure, freedom, and feedback is attractive to millennials.

Working with thousands of millennials, we’ve found huge success in helping millennials learn to communicate their desire to innovate and improve certain areas in their company. As a manager in the workplace, make sure your millennials are comfortable coming forward with new ideas and feedback. After all, these ideas are will help your company succeed!

3. Show them a clear path to career advancement

It’s not enough to just tell millennials to work hard now and wait for success later. They need to know and be shown the opportunities available to them if you want them to stay with your company. Almost half of the HUB survey respondents said they were likely to leave their job within the next six months. The cost of this turnover is insane, and takes a heavy toll on your company.

A value-based compensation plan that rewards individual performance is a great way to appeal to millennials. It shows that they matter, and lets them understand that the sky is the limit. The more value they bring and communicate, the more money they earn. Then they get more responsibility, and more opportunities come their way. What business leader wouldn’t be excited by this?

4. Show the Connection Between Personal Impact and Success

Your millennials could be helping millions of people and earning your company millions of dollars. But if they aren’t seeing the connection between their results and the success, they will leave. Social impact and personal development are important to millennials. When they don’t feel the connection between the work they’re doing and the results they’re achieving, they feel dissatisfied. They start looking for other jobs. They leave

The cost of this disconnect and lack of engagement costs a whopping $30.5 billion to the U.S. economy.

Over half of millennials rated understanding how their own personal job directly impacts the success of the company as “very important.” Make sure your millennials can see the direct impact they are having in your company. By engaging your millennial employees in entertaining, challenging, and interesting work, they will find the purpose and challenge they are seeking. As a millennial coach, it’s up to YOU to make sure this happens…and make sure they know it’s happening.

5. Be Transparent about Compensation, Performance, and Feedback

Traditional compensation, annual merit increases, job/grade bands, and equity adjustments are NOT cutting it in 2017. As a leader in the workforce, you must change the formula if you want to succeed, and make it 100% clear to your millennials that they will be rewarded based on the value they bring to the company.

By having a transparent compensation and performance program in place from the get-go, you eliminate any confusion. Millennials need feedback. And they expect it quickly and in real time, just how they operate outside of work with social media. As a millennial expert, make it your job to engage with them regularly. Annual reviews won’t cut it. By having a clear plan in place, they will understand how their actions are direct related to their results, both personally (pay) and as a whole (company impact and success.)

Without frequent communication, millennial engagement levels drop to the floor. Over two thirds of millennials rank feedback directly from their manager as most valuable. Engagement plummets to 20% for millennials who don’t have regular meetings with their managers. As a millennial coach, make sure you are continuously engaging with your millennials and improving your relationship with them. Millennials want feedback in real time, not a month later. The quicker you can give them feedback, the better. Be real with them and give it to them straight. They appreciate tough love, as long as you show that you care.

The ways of the past aren’t working to engage and retain millennials in 2017. If you want to stay relevant, attract the top talent, and keep your successful millennial workers, compensate them the way they want to be compensated. Have competitive base pay. Have a clear compensation and performance plan in place from day one so millennials know they’ll be rewarded based on the value they bring to the company. Keep them engaged in challenging, interesting work by tapping into their “intreprenuer” and creating the space for them to excel within your company. Show them the exciting career path that lies ahead. Allow them to see and feel the impact they are directly having on both the company and the world. Be real. Be authentic. Communicate openly and often with your millennials. This is how you WIN and create kickass results.

Be the Best Millennial Coach by Balancing their “Big” Dreams with “Big” Business Realities With These 3 Methods

If you listen to cultural and workplace sound bytes, millennials are lazy, entitled, disloyal, and wimpy. They don’t work hard. They expect everything to be easy and handed to them on a silver platter. Go ahead, just search “Millennials are…” on Google, and the perception of millennials speaks for itself…

Millennials are...

Really? What’s the big friggin deal? Are millennials that different from other generations in their youth? Almost 2,500 years ago, Socrates said the following:

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”

The truth is millennials are the same as other younger generations from years past. They want to get stuff done, prove themselves and learn and grow! They want to be adults and meet their Big Dreams. Millennial leaders have learned differently. They’ve just grown up in the digital age and experienced their own set of life experiences that shape them as a generation.

As a Millennial Expert looking to bridge the generational divide in the workplace, I see a similar story among millennials. They want to get on with it and contribute…they just don’t know how to bridge Big Dreams with Big Business Realities. And that’s ok, because we can teach and guide them there.

As the ultimate millennial coach, you ask me how. Here’s how… be real: Big Dreams take Big Work.

They sometimes misunderstand that, the pace might not be as fast as swiping right for a date and along with dreaming big and pursuing enticing new tasks, there are boring, unsexy aspects of business that are fundamental and cannot be neglected.

As a millennial leader, how can you coach millennials to want, admire, and go after the “new and exciting,” but also take care of foundational work that is essential to running a business? Here are three things you can do to balance millennials’ Big Dreams with Big Business realities at your company or home.

Teach and Create a Strong Value System

The values that you live and uphold for yourself and at your company are essential to engaging millennials through thick and thin…both during the fancy and boring times and tasks. From the get-go, train your millennial leaders to understand the importance of working hard and learning what needs to get done first and foremost. Emphasize that fundamentals and groundwork precede being able to do fun, inspiring, and creative work. Do it by (i) telling stories and (ii) questioning what they really want and are about! Go long term with Big Dream Hunting

“Entrepreneurship is easy to dream about, but very hard to do.”
U.S. News and World Report          

Growing up with Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, millennials are used to 24/7 feedback and the ability to voice their opinion at the snap of their fingers. In a world of instant gratification, Simon Sinek explains to Millennials that “deep meaning and satisfaction can only be derived from patience and perseverance.” Take the opportunity to mentor your millennials about the prerequisites to satisfaction and success: hard work, consistently showing up, doing what needs to be done, mastering the fundamentals, etc.

Being relevant is a great way to demonstrate the values you want your millennial workers to adapt. Show them quotes and videos from their current heroes and role models. For example, this statement by comedian Kevin Hart, who is relevant to the millennial generation, embodies an important truth:

“Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work. I live by that. You grind hard so you can play hard. At the end of the day, you put all the work in, and eventually it’ll pay off. It could be in a year, it could be in 30 years. Eventually, your hard work will pay off.”

Teach Them How to Contribute and Grow

Almost two-thirds of millennials “strongly agree” that career advancement is important, according to The Millennial Influence Report by HUB. The report above shows that half of millennials expect to change jobs within the next six months, due in part to “a lack of career opportunity and interesting work.” While it’s great that millennials appreciate and strive for development, the problem many millennial coaches face is that their workers will job-hop if they don’t feel they are contributing.

Expert millennial coaches can solve the issue of millennial retention by being invested in the development and foundation of your millennials growth and success. Teach them how to contribute and be of value to the company. How? Make sure they know it’s not how you get paid what your worth but that you flip it to be worth what you’re paid.

Create opportunities where millennials have to take responsibility and can demonstrate their value on a micro level before taking on more significant roles on a macro level. By guiding your millennial workers while simultaneously giving them the chance to prove their skills, responsibility, and innovative abilities, they will experience growth and the fulfillment that comes from completing a job well done.

Give Them Tough Love. They Want It… and Need It

When your millennials do a great job and succeed, let them know! In the age of helicopter parenting, social media, and close parental involvement, millennials are accustomed to receiving feedback…and they appreciate it. Feedback is essential to being a great millennial leader. As a millennial coach, it’s up to you to keep millennials engaged and inspired. Text them and congratulate them in person for a job well done—let them know you care by showing you care.

However, the same must be true for when millennials mess up. When they experience a failure or make a mistake, you have an opportunity to make it a learning lesson. Don’t berate and condemn your millennials. Yet don’t baby them either.

In order for them to learn and grow, be firm and provide constructive criticism. Be strategic and balance both negative and positive feedback. This allows you to give tough love. Describe the problem or mistake specifically, and involve your millennial in being a part of the solution. Establish a follow up to ensure your millennial worker understands the lesson, and can learn from the experience. This is where the magic happens—growth, personal development, and contribution.

Millennials have big dreams and desires. As the Best Millennial coach, you can help teach and instill the right mindset and realities so millennials understand that it’s not glitz and glamour 24/7.

Be vulnerable people. Don’t just preach your company values. Live them. By demonstrating the values you want your millennials to adapt, they will understand that they can get the cake and trophy… but only after putting in the hard work and learning the fundamentals.

Teach them to show up, take responsibility, and provide ways for them to contribute and grow on a micro level. This will instill fulfillment, a feeling of belonging, and the desire to continue experiencing success on a macro level. Provide feedback—both through expressing appreciation and constructive criticism. Give it to your millennials straight. They will appreciate your tough love and transparency.

Are you finding it hard to engage and maintain your millennial workers? We can help with that! Check out some of our results-driven solutions that can help you build strong millennial leaders and retain top talent!

How to Use FOMO to Inspire Millennial Leaders

From Facebook to Email, Instagram to YouTube, and Snapchat to LinkedIn, the average U.S. millennial spends over three hours a day on his or her cell phone.[i] On top of that, millennials check their phone a whopping 157 times a day, and over two-thirds of them check social media on a daily basis.

Millennial Experts note that the nature of social media displaying people’s best moments has created a mass “highlight reel.” Millennials are bombarded with snippets of the good life, from snap chats of parties, Instagram posts of tasty meals and drinks, and Facebook photos of vacations in Cabo. The constant exposure to picture perfect moments, which are highlighted all over social media, has created a culture of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) among millennials.

Millennials see images and videos of experiences that look cool, so they desire to experience them as well. 69% of millennials experience FOMO when they can’t attend something that their family or friends are going to.[ii] In other words, millennials want to be a part of the action. All the time. They don’t want to miss out on anything exciting.

As a manger (aka Millennial coach), you can tap into millennial’s FOMO and use it as an advantage. You can use FOMO to benefit your company, your millennials, and your leadership.

How?

Create a kickass company culture and corporate leadership program that millennials want to be a part of and will have FOMO on what your company has to offer them.

Be the Best Boss Millennial Coach You Can Be

In order to leverage millennials’ FOMO to your advantage, coach them by understanding what they need and want in the first place. The old-style boss obsessed with command and control is a thing of the past. Millennials want managers who can provide leadership development and coach them, teach them valuable skills, and help them grow. Millennials want managers who genuinely care about them and their professional development.

How are you showing up as a manager? Are your millennial workers comfortable communicating with you and speaking up? Do they know you care about them?

Make an effort to coach and mentor millennials by creating one-on-one meetings. Actively engage with them by asking questions and giving routine feedback. Expert Millennial coaches know more that interaction leads to better engagement. Take the initiative to foster the relationship and don’t wait for them to come to you (hint: they won’t come to you unless you take action first…they’re scared to ask for feedback. [iii]) By proactively providing learning opportunities and by being there for your millennials, they will know you care.

Create a Lean In Culture

Millennials desire professional collaboration and development. Understanding this as a manager, you can create a culture that fosters intreprenuership within your company so millennials can take initiative and be inspired to innovate within your company. Give them the tools so they can grow and actively be and feel a part of your company’s development.

Millennials want to be a part of everything, especially the “next best thing.” As a manager, create the space for millennials to do so within your company. This will make them feel more connected with your company and mission, as well as empower them and increase their desire to be there.

Show an Alluring Long Term Vision

Millennials are the most likely generation to switch jobs.[iv] Why? Part of it is due to “destination syndrome.” If their current job isn’t satisfying them, they’ll hop to a new job in hopes of attaining satisfaction there. They are scared of “missing out” (“FOMO”) on all the opportunity they feel is available to them with an amazing corporate development program where young people can learn and grow.

To solve this gap, be the best millennial coach you can be. How? By being transparent and painting a clear picture of what millennials will gain from being with your company. What career skills will they learn? Will they be able to create a social impact/purpose  (and see it and feel it tangibly)? What mobility and opportunity do they have to become leaders and innovate within the company?

Entrepreneurship, collaboration, growth, mobility, and purposeful work are important to Millennial leaders. By showing how millennials can have and do these things at your company, they will want to stay and be fearful of missing out on such amazing opportunities.

Time spent online and on social media is only going to increase in the coming years. FOMO is a natural byproduct from our social media culture, and it’s up to you as a manager to use it to your advantage.

Coach your millennials and show them that you care. Engage and interact with them often. Design a lean in culture that encourages intreprenuership and growth—a culture millennials want to be a part of. Demonstrate the value, success, and opportunity millennials will gain from staying with your company over the long term. Do this, and millennials will have FOMO on the amazing chance they have to be a part of your company.

Interested in learning more about engaging millennials and inspiring them to become leaders of the future? Check out the related article “Employee vs. Entrepreneur: 4 Great Ideas to Foster Millennial Entrepreneurs Within Your Company

    

 

 

 

[i] https://thejournal.com/articles/2015/12/01/study-millennials-spend-more-than-3-hours-a-day-on-mobile-phones.aspx

[ii] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237566

[iii] http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/192038/managers-millennials-feedback-won-ask.aspx

[iv] http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/191459/millennials-job-hopping-generation.aspx

Maximize Your Millennials As Next-Generation Leaders

This article was originally published on Forbes by Tony DiCostanzo



 

Author and launchbox founder Dan Negroni says millennials aren’t the problem; chances are, the trouble is with how you’re managing them.

By now you probably heard the rumor: The reason the workplace is in deep trouble is because of millennials—you know, those young folks that are frequently maligned as entitled, disloyal, lazy, disinterested, and who make terrible employees.

But is that really true? Are millennials a problem that need to be solved or an opportunity that should be embraced?

Leadership coach and author Dan Negroni suggests the latter. In his book, Chasing Relevance: Six Steps to Understand, Engage, and Maximize Next-Generation Leaders in the Workplace, Negroni argues that it’s high time we start valuing millennials for their fresh viewpoints and strengths, including intelligence, innovation, curiosity, and an entrepreneurial spirit.

This isn’t just a feel-good exercise. As the largest generation in our history, millennials make up 2.4 billion of the world population. They represent 40 percent of today’s workforce (and over 73% of BookPal’s employees), growing to 75 percent of the workforce in the next 10 years. They are the biggest and most powerful customer group today. They are our kids, our workers, and our future.  So if you want your business to succeed, you need to figure out how to bridge the gap to attract, engage and retain the next generation of leaders.

The good news is that closing the generation gap will not only benefit your millennials, Negroni says, but it will help you, your business, and all of your employees thrive.

I had the opportunity to sit with Dan to discuss his top six strategies for getting started.

1.  Stop whining and start caring

People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. So care! It is a basic human tenet. We need to focus less on complaining and ffinger-pointingand focus more on building relationships.

The Harvard Study of Adult Development, conducted over the course of 75 years, concluded that if done right, relationships are essential to human happiness and “will positively affect your health, longevity and quality of a successful life, including your economic success.”

Millennials understand this, but they just haven’t been taught how to best develop these relationships, especially in the workplace. 60 percent consider themselves entrepreneurs, with 90 percent recognizing entrepreneurship as a culture in itself. Almost 67 percent of millennials want to own their own business someday. Yet the rest of us are saying, “I don’t get it. How can we all be the boss, and, if so, then who will do all the work?”

We have to remember that there is magic where youth and experience meet, and that magic has existed since the beginning of time. It doesn’t have to be a power struggle in which we expect millennials to conform to outdated modes of working. If we start busting myths about millennials and understand what they individually want, we can start building the solid relationships that lead to success.

2. Be authentic and stand for something unique

All great brands and companies stand for something distinctive. Millennials want to be a part of greatness. Employers like Nike, Google, and Uber get that. Millennials want to work for companies that reflect who they are. It’s no surprise that Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign widely resonates with millennials.

It’s imperative that we figure out how our business values match those of our millennials. We have to be authentic, because millennials are smart and they see right through the fluff.  At BookPal, we established a Cause Committee, comprised of employees from all departments to clarify the company’s purpose.  Clearly defining BookPal’s cause has united the staff in new ways and given them purpose beyond just selling books.

Millennials are deciding which businesses live or die: Consider Blockbuster versus Netflix, or the shopping mall versus Amazon, or hotels versus Airbnb.

Economists predict that 75 percent of the S&P 500 will be replaced over the next 10 years. It’s companies like Google, Starbucks, Nike, Apple, Disney, Levi’s, and other brands that tell and sell powerful stories that attract both customers and employees. These companies know who they are and how to communicate that to the world, thus sustaining and growing their business models.

3. Own your stuff

One of Dan’s favorite sayings is “What happens to you is because of you.” Real power comes from teaching an overindulged and “trophied” generation that they too should take responsibility for their actions. How? By example. To make your relationships with millennials stronger, you need to make yourself stronger first. Fulfill your duty to be the best manager possible and take accountability for yourself, your actions and your results.

4. Make them opt in

Today’s business climate is extraordinarily tough and competitive, requiring more creativity, innovation, and better leadership than ever before. Remember that millennials want to be their best. They want responsibility and to help in a purposeful and meaningful way. Hold millennials to their own standards. While setting clear expectations, remind them that they control the trajectory of their career. Allow them to test concepts and fail without judgment, giving constructive feedback along the way, but only if they want it. If your millennials are truly uninterested in doing the work, let them go. Encourage and demand the opt-in, all while demonstrating that the relationship is a two-way street.

5. Get on the same page

Define and align your purpose transparently and create individual, team, and company-wide goals. Communicate and regularly revisit these goals and why they exist. Millennials need to understand “the why” to be inspired. Yes, they like to celebrate successes like all of us, but also like all of us, they just want to know, as best as possible, what road they are on, where it’s going, and what is expected of them.

Involve your employees in ensuring that everyone in your organization is on the same page. Every time you want to open your mouth to tell them what to do, instead pivot, asking them what they would do. Collaborate. Understand that we learn more about relationships from asking questions than any other method. These same techniques are also required for good marriages and successful parenting. It’s no different in the workplace.

6. Mentor like a coach

Coaches learn early on that each individual is unique, and if they want to lead, bond, and win as a team, they must respect each individual’s differences. Whether it’s your salespeople, engineers, or accountants, all of whom have different purposes, they all share the same desire to be recognized for their individual strengths along with the strengths of the team.

How often do you even think about your team and how to get results from each individual on his or her terms? Chances are not enough. The more you work on leveraging the strengths of your individual team members, the better your employees will respond.

Launch Your Plan Now

Studies show that 30 percent of organizations lose 15 percent or more of their millennial workforce annually, and it can cost companies up to $25,000 to replace each millennial. And only 22.9 percent of organizations have a plan in place to engage millennials and future generations. It’s time to step up.

By creating genuine connections in your workplace, you’ll foster a collaborative environment that empowers your employees to be accountable, focus on results and deliver value.

We know our ability to attract, train, manage, and retain this next generation of leaders is critical to the future success of our businesses. Let’s create results by caring more—not being careless.

 

Interested in learning more about bridging the gap between millennials and managers? Here’s your chance! Grab your copy of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

Start Attracting Millennials like these LinkedIn Top 40 Attractors (Companies) Do…

LinkedIn recently released its first ever Top Attractor’s list: a list of the 40 most sought after employers in America. Here are the three common themes, which reveal why millennials love to work and buy from these companies.

1.) They are technologically and progressively relevant to the future economy

It’s no surprise to see Google, Facebook and Apple among the top 5 most attractive companies to work for. They played a significant role in the lives of millennials growing up, and continue to do so. “Google” has become a synonym for “search.” Apple, for anything including iPhones and MacBook laptops, and Facebook are used daily among millennials. The remarkable technological abilities, coupled with their relevance to the progression of how our society will advance, make these companies extremely attractive to generation Y.

Airbnb and Uber broke the top 10 also, and these companies are not even 10 years old! Airbnb and Uber have revolutionized the way the world, and millennials, view technology as a means to do business. These companies have disrupted and decentralized the taxi and hotel industry, changing the flow of billions of dollars into the hands of a new shared economy, which is attractive among millennials.

 2.) They are stand for something visible and are uniquely differentiated

Salesforce came in at #2, which might seem surprising at first glance. However, Salesforce, whose mission is to help you “connect to your customers in a whole new way,” is transparent about who they are and what they stand for. They have an entire sustainability section on their website, detailing how they are saving the environment (while being tech savvy) through their cloud computing model. A win-win for millennial workers and customers.

Starbucks also broke the top 40, which is no surprise considering they’ve made the World’s Most Ethical Company list the past 10 years in a row. Starbucks is not only an attractive employer to millennials, but also an attractive hangout spot where they can connect by drinking their lattes, talking with friends and getting work done.

3.) They care! About both their employees and customers

A fun brand with generous benefits and great learning potential is the perfect combo that millennials find irresistible. Pandora, coming in at #16, provides various employee recourse groups and gives each employee 40 hours of paid time off to volunteer. McKinsey, coming in at #23, has a “Take Time” program, offering 5-10 weeks each year for employees to pursue interests and passions. Ingrained in these companies is a commitment to the wellbeing, personal growth, development and learning of their employees. Gallup finds that this major perk engages their employees and makes these companies most desirable among millennials.

Box, a tech company coming (#25 on list), offers free lunch and weekly yoga classes. LiveNation, the live event and ticketing company, offers employees the opportunity to attend live sporting games, concerts and festivals, a surefire plus to any millennial. These special perks are great and make it evident these companies aren’t just fixated on work, but that they also integrate fun and wellness into their culture. It’s more than just the freebie when you peel the layers—these perks also communicate, “we care about you and want to help you learn and grow personally and professionally.”

Integrate these 3 themes into your workplace today to attract top millennial talent like linked in’s TOP 40 Attractor’s List today!

 

 

Chasing Relevance by Dan Negroni

Interested in learning more about bridging the gap between millennials and managers? Here’s your chance! Grab your copy of  Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

Celebrating Independence TODAY: Empower Your Team to be Interdependent

On this day 240 years ago, thirteen colonies broke away from Great Britain, forming a new nation, the United States of America. The earned independence and freedom we celebrate today is what makes the U S so incredible. Like the founding fathers, launchbox views independence as a necessary trait for next generation leaders.

The problem is that millions of millennials may not really understand independence. It’s not their fault. Think about it: although they ooze independence they may not actually get it. Here are some of the astounding facts:

  • for the first time since 1880, young adults ages 18 to 34 are more likely to live with a parent than in any other arrangement.[1]
  • 25 percent of people ages 25 to 29 live with a parent, up from 18 percent a decade ago[2]
  • 43 percent of millennials aged 30 to 33 are still financially dependent on their parents[3]

In his international best seller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey brilliantly describes the process of maturation: dependence  → independence   interdependence.

  • Dependence is the stage where we are reliant on others to take care of us, a state of weakness and powerlessness. Called childhood.
  • As we grow into adulthood and learn to do things on our own, we become capable of taking care of ourselves and start becoming independent. Called young workforce (millennials).
  • Once we learn independence, we then become ripe for working at the highest level where the greatest human achievements occur: interdependence. This is where independent, capable individuals come together as a team to achieve a common goal or purpose. Like the connection of Youth and Experience. And this is where the magic happens. Called teams.

But before any group of individuals or organization can achieve interdependence, all members of a team must first learn to be independent. So let’s be grateful this 4th of July and demonstrate it by giving. Giving the commitment to teach our young millennials in and out of the workforce how to become a become confident communicators, and as a result, independent rock stars that deliver for the Team.

1.) Teach them how to communicate by using the WIFThem method

When I first heard that millennials were bringing their parents along for job interviews, I almost lost it. But this sad truth reveals that many millennials simply don’t know how to communicate. They don’t know how to showcase their skillset in a manner both relevant and valuable to whomever they’re speaking to.

At launchbox, we use the WIFThem approach. WIFThem stands for “What’s in it for them?” In other words, effective communicators understand how to deliver information in a way that’s relevant and important to the person they’re speaking to. Here’s an example of a statement without, and then with, WIFThem:

Average communicator: “I can analyze a spreadsheet.”

Vs.

WIFThem communicator: “I can process complex, quantitative data and info to help leaders give detailed advice to clients and managers.”

See the difference? By teaching millennials to use the WIFThem approach, they learn to communicate how their attributes will be of meaning and value. Let’s do us all a favor and make sure no more parents are attending their millennial (adult!) kid’s interviews.

2.) Show them how to deliver their story

We all must be in the story business. The best speeches and business books present ideas and lessons through stories. The best commercials and advertisements convince us to buy certain products because the stories they tell resonate with us on an emotional level.

At launchbox, we ask three important questions that help people of all ages identify who they are so they can communicate their story effectively and powerfully:

  1. Who am I?

  2. What is my experience?

  3. What value do I bring?

The answer to these questions can manifest in a variety of ways. But regardless of the answer, these questions will help someone uncover their identity and core. By answering these questions (however that looks for you personally) you are already on your way to delivering a powerful story.

Effective communication is key for a person to become independent and any company to become interdependent. As you celebrate the independence of the United States of America today, utilize these concepts in your home or workplace to develop independent, high performing millennials today!

Chasing Relevance by Dan Negroni

Want to learn more about how to communicate effectively, deliver your story and become an independent all star? Grab a copy of Chasing Relevance: 6 Steps to Understand, Engage and Maximize Next Generation Leaders in the Workplace.

 

[1] Clair, Ben St. “Seven Habits Study Guide/Paradigms and Principles.” – Wikibooks, Open Books for an Open World. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.

[2] 2 Clair, Ben St. “Seven Habits Study Guide/Paradigms and Principles.” – Wikibooks, Open Books for an Open World. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.

[3] Henderson, J. Maureen. Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.

 

The Era of Millennial Multi-Tasking

Known as “digital natives,” millennials are known for being tech-savvy both in their personal and their professional lives. While this may come as a benefit in many situations, some employers worry that this dependence on technology can impair a candidate’s ability to prioritize their work and effectively multi-task without becoming distracted or side-tracked. Is this concern warranted, or does the millennial connection to technology make them better multi-taskers?

The Effect of Technology

Unlike previous generations, millennials grew up with a heavy emphasis on technology, both in school and as a source of entertainment. As a result, they developed a habit of doing several things at once—whether that’s IMing their friends, responding to emails, or browsing the web.

Given the ubiquity of technology in their lives, this comes as no surprise. Many millennials listen to music while they work, or leave a television on in the background. Even more have multiple browsers open and several programs demanding their attention as they work.

However, this practice doesn’t seem to affect their ability to concentrate. In fact, studies show that younger generations are more comfortable with multi-tasking than their older counterparts. They can perform complex tasks with a variety of ambient distractions, including music and nearby conversations, and can bounce back and forth between different activities without feeling distracted or overwhelmed.

As a result, millennials are particularly adept at careers in IT, communications, or marketing roles. They’re able to manage heavy workloads, fast-paced environments, and energetic workplaces that might distract non-tech focused employees.

The Harm of Multi-Tasking

Millennial candidates do need to keep in mind that there is a right time and a wrong time for multi-tasking. For instance, during assignments that require a high level of concentration, accuracy, or attention to detail, it’s best to eliminate other distractions and focus on the task at hand. In other instances, multi-tasking may involve social media or personal conversations with friends or family that can derail your focus and result in poor work performance.

Effective multi-tasking demands a balance between periods of intense concentration and periods of responsiveness to the demands of different tasks. To control your attention span, know when to close out of instant messengers or put your phone on “Do Not Disturb.” You can always take a temporary break from technology if you feel that it is becoming too much of a distraction during your work day.

Multi-tasking is a skill that many millennials possess, and it allows them to dedicate their attention to a variety of tasks at any given moment. However, if you find yourself facing distractions, take the time to step away from technology and focus on the task at hand. If you can identify your biggest distraction, you’ll be a more effective multi-tasker and a more productive employee.

Less Personal Space at Work

We live in an era of the cubicle worker, with each employee isolated in their own personal space. Rather than increasing productivity, however, this practice stunts creativity and collaboration in the workplace. Fortunately, millennials are fighting back against the culture of isolation and demanding more flexibility and mobility in their work space. Here are the upcoming changes and their impact on personal space in the office.

1. Collaborative Spaces

Not only is the new generation of workers changing the way we work, but they are changing the physical spaces we work in. Rather than dividing an office into cubicles, forward-thinking companies are developing collaborative, shared work spaces for their employees. This may be an open area in their office or a rented space for remote workers to gather and share ideas. Large desks, whiteboards, projectors, and other collaborative tools are becoming more common in the workplace.

2. Telecommuting

We’re incredibly connected as a culture, and as a result, companies are starting to see the appeal of a remote workforce. Employees can have the same level of engagement, but without the overhead of office spaces or the stress of a morning commute. This structure satisfies the millennial’s need of flexibility, while maintaining a strong connection with their peers through the use of technology. Because of this, companies may have work forces scattered all over the country (or the globe), increasing their ability to share ideas and establish a creative think tank.

3. “Gig Culture”

Not only are employees more interested in picking up freelance work in addition to their full-time jobs, but companies are starting to see the benefit of hiring contract workers for projects both large and small. As a result, the regular staff will have exposure to new and interesting coworkers, encouraging the sharing of ideas and techniques that they may not encounter on a daily basis. This can be a great learning opportunity for full-timers and freelancers alike.

4. More Technology

Each of these developments demands an increased use in technology. Telecommuters and freelancers need video conferencing software, instant messengers, and project management tools to stay on track, while collaborative spaces require the ability to share screens and ideas in a constructive, effective way. As a result, companies will begin investing more time and money in new technology, and employees will spend more time interfacing with these technologies.

Millennials are taking the working world by storm, and in many ways, the changes they cause are beneficial. The working environment is more creative than ever and it fosters a sense of collaboration that makes the development of great ideas possible. For millennials, this is a very exciting time to be developing a career, as you have the very real opportunity to change the way your company works. So embrace these new changes and look forward to the new opportunities and challenges to come.