The Millennial Revolution: An Experiment

This is part 1 in a week-long series titled The Millennial Revolution.
Part 2: Millennials in the Workplace: Lead. Don’t Manage.
Part 3: Millennials in the Workplace: Motivation vs. Compensation

The next five days on this blog are going to be an experiment and I’m going to come right out and ask for your help.

What’s This About?

A couple of days ago, I was approached by my friend Joel Widmer and asked to speak this coming Friday to a group of CEOs, executives and small business owners at a weekly breakfast meeting. Click here if you’re in the Nashville area and are interested in attending.

I was told the topic could be on just about anything I wanted to discuss so I inquired about the demographics of the group. After hearing that the group is made of predominantly people ages 45 and up, I asked if I could speak on the challenges that companies are – and will continue to – face as Millennials (those born somewhere between 1977 and 2000) enter the workplace.

The title will be “The Millennial Revolution: How Companies can Channel the Greatness of a New Generation” – at least for now. I’m open to suggestions.

The Goal

There has been a lot written and discussed that has to do with the “why” of our generation. Most of it begins as a psychological analysis of why we are the way we are then quickly devolves into a lot of complaining about us. People say we’re over-confident, lack work ethic, are too demanding, entitled, blah, blah, blah.

There’s probably some truth to that. However, most of the people saying those things were considered 60’s “radicals” and “hippies” to their parents. So I guess we’re even. Not to mention that most of the people doing the complaining are the same people who raised us to be “this way”.

The point of this talk is not to figure out why we are the way we are because we can’t undo a generation of rearing and parenting. And very few things are ever “all bad” or “all good”. For example, many view our generation as possibly the most innovative and creative generation ever – which sounds quite promising.

My goal is to examine the “how” of working with our generation. As we continue to enter the workplace (some of us have been here a bit longer), companies are facing an enormous challenge: how do you hire and manage Millennials? Many companies are finding that Millennials quit and move to a different company within a year of being hired and they don’t know how to fix this problem.

Companies need the Millennial workforce if they hope to survive and Millennials need the wisdom and experience that comes from the generations above us. We have to figure out how to make this work.

The Experiment

There is so much that can be discussed around this topic. There are a ton of great ideas. I want to open this weeks’ blog posts up to major discussion where we all learn from each other.

And I want to do this before I start sharing my ideas with you. So here’s the challenge:

Each day, I will be writing a little bit more of my talk in the form of blog posts. I will outline my arguments and ideas and then open them up to discussion with anyone who cares to comment. This will help me shape my ideas and (I hope) deliver a talk that is both informative and practical – with real solutions.

With that said, I thought the best way to get started was to open it up with a series of questions for Millennials and a different set for CEOs/Exectives/Managers. Help us all by choosing 1 or 2 and leaving your comments below. Then, please invite others to the conversation. Tweet this, “Like” it on Facebook, or email it to others you think could add their voice – the more the better!

For Millennials:

  1. What do you look for when trying to find a job? What do you look for in a company? What do you look for in a manager? What do you look for in a culture?
  2. What excites you the most about a company? What things turn you off about a company?
  3. How do you prefer to be compensated? Salary? Bonuses? Flex time? Gifts? Something entirely different?
  4. How important is it for you to find purpose and meaning in your job? What does that mean to you?
  5. Do you prefer working alone or in groups? Why?
  6. What do you want to tell CEOs and executives about working with you?
  7. Who are the authors/bloggers you read consistently who seem to “get it”?

For CEOs, Executives & Hiring Managers:

  1. What questions do you have for Millennials?
  2. What things do you think you need to do to attract and retain Millennials?
  3. What has been the hardest part of trying to recruit Millennials into your company?
  4. What do you want to tell Millennials about working with you and your company?
  5. How important is culture to your business?
  6. How do you reward your employees and incentivize them?

Please be respectful. If I feel a comment is inflammatory and doesn’t add to the discussion, I reserve the right to nuke it.