Millennials in the Workplace: Attracting Talent

Millennials in the workplace is a hot topic right now. Recent conversations that have come up around peer advisory groups have caused frustration. The main issue was how to attract millennials to the workplace. And how to keep them. An ongoing joke is to get a ping pong table or a smoothie machine. Because this will make millennials stay in your organization, right? Of course, that’s not the case. It’s a little more complicated than that. The key is that millennials are looking for a purpose. They’re looking for only work-life balance which was the focus of the baby boomers.

Millennials want an integrated life and work situation where it all flows together. And so, let’s look deeper beyond the ping-pong table. Let’s make sure that we connect to the “why” for our organization.

  • What’s the deeper purpose in what we’re creating and what we’re making?
  • How do we actually help employees to engage?
  • How do we help them to reach their life goals?

Baby Boomers vs Millennials

I know for some baby boomers, this can be frustrating. And with a team to brainstorm and collaborate as we have. I will say that I’ve seen huge progress. I have seen companies actually bring these principles to life. And afterward, they’re appreciative that the millennials have brought this to the workplace. Similarly, they like that it’s a real, sustainable, lasting change in an organization. This change is the fruit that all benefits get to benefit from.

It’s important for business leaders to understand millennials because they are inevitable. There are a huge number of them that are coming into the workforce as the boomers start to retire. And it’s critical to understand the motivation. To understand what will attract them to your organization. And what will keep them in the organization? As you know, turnover is expensive. Being in denial is expensive. So, get involved with:

  • Q4 Leaders
  • Another peer group
  • Receive coaching
  • Read books

Do something to help you get out of this sort of feeling like you can work around this change that’s coming. The change is coming. It’s underway. Get on board with it and use it to level up your organization. Great outcomes can come from that.

Entering the Workforce: A Millenial’s Perspective

I have two daughters. One is entering the workforce and one has been in the workforce for a couple of years. What they tell me about what motivates them versus what motivated me is interesting. They’re looking for a life and work integration that, I could not have expected. And it’s something that they’re not willing to settle for. They at least want the ability to work and play somewhat on their schedule.

Millennials in the Workplace

And the myth’s going around aren’t true. Many believe that they don’t bring huge value. Or the myth is that they’re not hardworking. Or that they’re not gonna contribute in the same way that the baby boomers have contributed. And I haven’t seen that to be the case. What I’ve seen to be the case is that for the right cause, the right purpose, the right team, they will work on the weekends. They will work on and off hours. They will text and call customers when it’s not within the nine to five boundaries.

This because part of their social life is through their workplace. And part of their travel plans often ties into work plans. My daughter is in Paris right now, she’s visiting one of her clients while she’s there. She’s also gonna play for three days while working on her laptop four hours a day. So, it’s a whole different paradigm. And it can work if we’re not close-minded to it. In conclusion, if we’re open to facilitating that type of shift in our thinking, and in our organizations.

Millenials Hunger for Accountability

The other thing that’s key about this is accountability before flexibility. If you become very flexible in your organization around work hours. And around this sort of work-life integration. Consequently, if you don’t have good accountability, and you don’t have good delegation skills. Without objectives, it can become a big mess. It can become a disaster and then you get to say, “See, I told you. It doesn’t work.” But if you have accountability before flexibility it can work and it can lead to great outcomes. So, get with a team that can help you to figure that out, or a coach that can help you understand how to put that together. And then millennial’s will be a great part of your workforce.

Building a Culture of Millennials in the Workplace

To build a culture that will attract millennials. And any other generation for that matter. Takes some stepping back and first of all, taking stock of where things are today. That can be difficult, but the starting point is necessary to understand the end point of where you won’t end up. It’s necessary to understand and then between the two, you have a gap. So, how do we fill the gap between where we are today and the destination? What I’ve done in the past is I’ve gone into organizations. I’ve sat with the complete team, we’ve spent a day together pondering where the culture is today? What words describe our culture? What stories describe our culture? How do we do things around here? And we paint a picture that may or may not be ideal. Oftentimes, it’s not.

Sometimes, there are a lot of gaps and things that are missing. But when there’s trust in the room, we can speak to what’s going on. Then we spend some time saying if you were working in an organization where you loved the culture. If it were something that you would show up to one hundred percent engaged, what does that look like? What does that feel like? How do we create that? And then we start to realize between the two, there’s an action plan that we can put in place. I’ve taken companies through that action plan. Have had teams involved in actually making it happen. And the results are phenomenal.

Millenial Desire For Culture

There are tons of books on the subject of culture. For instance, we’ve had a speaker come into Q4 Leaders, Dr. Gustavo Brzezinski, who speaks on this. You may have seen him on YouTube and TED Talks. Similarly, You can watch his videos talking about culture. He says culture trumps everything. Culture eats strategy. I mean, it is the number one job of a leadership team and a CEO. In addition, “Double Double,” is another book I like a lot. It talks about culture, very practical.

Cameron Harold came and spoke to an executive summit to 600 local CEO’s here in Orange County. The talk concerned how to take this from aspiration to reality. And the results that he talks about are wonderful. Above all, it’s an exciting project to take on. One that confuses leaders and CEO’s to some degree because it seems very nonlinear. But when you understand that there are steps and processes that put into place. And there are ways to measure it and there are desirable outcomes, it’s an exciting project.

One of the important things to know about millennials is their desire. This is the desire for involvement. Therefore, you must understand that they are making a choice of someplace that they will need to:

  • Show up on a daily basis
  • Have work they feel passionate about
  • Be engaged as part of a team
  • Feel like they have people that care about them

How Millennials in the Workplace Choose the Best Environments

My younger daughter graduated from USC, she’s got a master’s in organizational psychology. She wants to move to New York and is looking for a job right now. So, I asked her, I said, “How are you going about finding a job in New York?” She said, “I’m not looking for a job, Mom. I’m looking for a company where I want to be a part of their team.” So, she’s doing research on organizations in New York. Companies that have an environment that she wants to be a part of every day.

I have 30 companies that I work with on a monthly basis through Q4 Leaders, boards, and coaching. Of those 30 companies, four of them fall under Orange County’s Best Places to Work. Those organizations are receiving more applications than organizations that don’t have those designations. This because millennials will go out and seek those titles and then they want to work there. They want to be on those teams. So, those types of things are important. And working with a group, a coach, a team can help you understand the steps you can take to get there.