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.

About the Author

  • Great post! I'l take a stab at answering a question or two from a millennial's perspective:

    What do I look for in a company: The first thing I ALWAYS look for in a company is culture. Do they have a similar mindset, are they innovative, agile and willing to try new things? Do they allow for a flexible schedule? Are there other quality people that work there that I could surround myself with? Is what I'm doing going to actually make a difference in the company and to our clients? (it better)

  • Great post! I'l take a stab at answering a question or two from a millennial's perspective:

    What do I look for in a company: The first thing I ALWAYS look for in a company is culture. Do they have a similar mindset, are they innovative, agile and willing to try new things? Do they allow for a flexible schedule? Are there other quality people that work there that I could surround myself with? Is what I'm doing going to actually make a difference in the company and to our clients? (it better)

  • Julie

    I am on the leading edge of millennia's being born in 1977- so have been working for awhile-

    What do you look for when trying to find a job?-Flexible schedule, opportunities for growth, encouragement to continue my education, supportive learning environment, collegiality,
    What do you look for in a company?-Mission statement that aligns with my personal values, openness
    What do you look for in a manager?-Fair, direct, mentoring, supportive, interested in me as an individual (rather than just what I can "do" for them), willingness to be flexible with my personal life
    What do you look for in a culture? Realization that work is just one part of life- the culture that work stops and life goes on rather than an "expectation" that only employees who work 60+ hour weeks really care about the company or value their job
    What excites you the most about a company?-That they have a purpose beyond just making money-that the have a mission and demonstrate how they fulfill it.
    What things turn you off about a company? Trying to figure out every backhanded way to squeeze every last cent out of a customer. A "don't offer" unless the customer asks mentality
    What do you want out of your career? I want to be able to grow in multiple aspects/skills by doing new things, having mentors and continuing my education. I want my career to be a meaningful part of my life, not my entire life or what defines me as an individual
    How do you feel about company loyalty? I don't feel loyal to a company. I work where it is the best situation for my family and career at any given point. If something better opens up and aligns with my values, I would change easily to a different company.
    How important is pay? Being paid a fair wage that is in line with comparable jobs in the area is necessary, but not the most important part of the job.
    How important are bonuses? Bonuses are nice, but really aren't an incentive.
    How important is a flexible work schedule? This is the number one key factor in my personal job satisfaction. The ability to have a flexible work schedule allows me to put my priorities in order by having quality time with my family and still work when they are not needing me. This also means that I can participate in other things that are important to me that happen at set times of the year- I can schedule my work around my life.
    How important is it for you to find purpose and meaning in your job? If I don't have purpose and meaning, I can't work. This is required to be able to get up and keep going to work day after day. What does that mean to you? To me this means that what I do improves the lives of those around me-that there is a positive impact as a result of my work.
    What other incentives are important to you? Being able to earn additional time off. Paying for my higher education- master's, doctorate…
    Do you prefer working alone or in groups? Depends- generally I like working in groups because of the synergy and camaraderie. A group can examine things from multiple perspectives and can ask each other questions resulting in unique solutions. A group also holds each other accountable. Also a group allows friendships to grow/be nurtured which improve the work environment.
    What do you want to tell CEOs and executives about working with you? Please value me as a whole person who is giving a part of my life to your company. Please recognize and appreciate my accomplishments and encourage me to continue doing good work. Show that you value me by providing me with mentorship, continuing education and growth opportunities. Please ask me how I am doing and give me regular constructive feedback to help me continue in a good direction. Recognize when I am getting bored and give me new challenges to keep me growing.

    Who are the authors/bloggers you read consistently who seem to “get it”? Marcus Buckingham (Strengths Based leadership), Tom Rath and Jim Collins

  • Julie

    I am on the leading edge of millennia's being born in 1977- so have been working for awhile-

    What do you look for when trying to find a job?-Flexible schedule, opportunities for growth, encouragement to continue my education, supportive learning environment, collegiality,
    What do you look for in a company?-Mission statement that aligns with my personal values, openness
    What do you look for in a manager?-Fair, direct, mentoring, supportive, interested in me as an individual (rather than just what I can "do" for them), willingness to be flexible with my personal life
    What do you look for in a culture? Realization that work is just one part of life- the culture that work stops and life goes on rather than an "expectation" that only employees who work 60+ hour weeks really care about the company or value their job
    What excites you the most about a company?-That they have a purpose beyond just making money-that the have a mission and demonstrate how they fulfill it.
    What things turn you off about a company? Trying to figure out every backhanded way to squeeze every last cent out of a customer. A "don't offer" unless the customer asks mentality
    What do you want out of your career? I want to be able to grow in multiple aspects/skills by doing new things, having mentors and continuing my education. I want my career to be a meaningful part of my life, not my entire life or what defines me as an individual
    How do you feel about company loyalty? I don't feel loyal to a company. I work where it is the best situation for my family and career at any given point. If something better opens up and aligns with my values, I would change easily to a different company.
    How important is pay? Being paid a fair wage that is in line with comparable jobs in the area is necessary, but not the most important part of the job.
    How important are bonuses? Bonuses are nice, but really aren't an incentive.
    How important is a flexible work schedule? This is the number one key factor in my personal job satisfaction. The ability to have a flexible work schedule allows me to put my priorities in order by having quality time with my family and still work when they are not needing me. This also means that I can participate in other things that are important to me that happen at set times of the year- I can schedule my work around my life.
    How important is it for you to find purpose and meaning in your job? If I don't have purpose and meaning, I can't work. This is required to be able to get up and keep going to work day after day. What does that mean to you? To me this means that what I do improves the lives of those around me-that there is a positive impact as a result of my work.
    What other incentives are important to you? Being able to earn additional time off. Paying for my higher education- master's, doctorate…
    Do you prefer working alone or in groups? Depends- generally I like working in groups because of the synergy and camaraderie. A group can examine things from multiple perspectives and can ask each other questions resulting in unique solutions. A group also holds each other accountable. Also a group allows friendships to grow/be nurtured which improve the work environment.
    What do you want to tell CEOs and executives about working with you? Please value me as a whole person who is giving a part of my life to your company. Please recognize and appreciate my accomplishments and encourage me to continue doing good work. Show that you value me by providing me with mentorship, continuing education and growth opportunities. Please ask me how I am doing and give me regular constructive feedback to help me continue in a good direction. Recognize when I am getting bored and give me new challenges to keep me growing.

    Who are the authors/bloggers you read consistently who seem to “get it”? Marcus Buckingham (Strengths Based leadership), Tom Rath and Jim Collins

    • Julie, this is so incredibly valuable!

      I apologize for just responding right now! For some reason, I missed it while looking through the comment system. Thank you for taking the time to put all of this down. Your answers should be given to every single hiring manager from every company. I love the answer to the question of what you would tell CEOs. This sums up what so many Millennials seem to be telling me and what so many of them see as the problem.

      My deepest gratitude for your time and your answers.

    • By the way, great list of authors who "get it" – each is one of my favorites.

  • I'll throw my hat into the ring as well. As far as compensation goes, I'm not all about the money. Don't get me wrong, money is good and all that jazz, but if I feel comfortable in my lifestyle and don't have to worry about money or salary, I tend to work better. I DO NOT like commission-based, crank-and-grind sales positions because there is no room for creativity or flexibility. I also can't stand when I feel like I'm being micromanaged. I feel if I am delivering the results you want/need, let me do it however works best for me because then I might even bring something along that you didn't expect.

    I'm not sure where this comes from, but I get the feeling a lot of millennials have a deep connection with a sense of freedom. I think Julien Smith (@julien) as a great grasp on that idea. We all want to be free to grow and be the best that we can be, but that may not necessarily follow the same path someone else took to be the best they could be. We move around a lot because we don't like to simply be a cog in the machinery and most companies are structured that way. Like Joel said above, an innovative culture and an agile mindset are very important.

    • Great thoughts, Joey! You've hit on some big ideas I'll be diving into over the next couple of days. Most Millennials hate the reward structures that are setup in companies. You've also used some really important words that get to the heart of how most companies operate: creativity, flexibility, micromanaged, results, freedom. Those words have incredible power and opportunity for people looking to hire and retain Millennials.

  • I'll throw my hat into the ring as well. As far as compensation goes, I'm not all about the money. Don't get me wrong, money is good and all that jazz, but if I feel comfortable in my lifestyle and don't have to worry about money or salary, I tend to work better. I DO NOT like commission-based, crank-and-grind sales positions because there is no room for creativity or flexibility. I also can't stand when I feel like I'm being micromanaged. I feel if I am delivering the results you want/need, let me do it however works best for me because then I might even bring something along that you didn't expect.

    I'm not sure where this comes from, but I get the feeling a lot of millennials have a deep connection with a sense of freedom. I think Julien Smith (@julien) as a great grasp on that idea. We all want to be free to grow and be the best that we can be, but that may not necessarily follow the same path someone else took to be the best they could be. We move around a lot because we don't like to simply be a cog in the machinery and most companies are structured that way. Like Joel said above, an innovative culture and an agile mindset are very important.

    • Great thoughts, Joey! You've hit on some big ideas I'll be diving into over the next couple of days. Most Millennials hate the reward structures that are setup in companies. You've also used some really important words that get to the heart of how most companies operate: creativity, flexibility, micromanaged, results, freedom. Those words have incredible power and opportunity for people looking to hire and retain Millennials.

  • Ok – here's the hiring boomer's perspective – I would like to see Millenials be more strategic – think long term in terms of their gifting and what they can contribute as opposed to 6-12 months. What would it take to get you to commit longer term to our compamy if you're a rising star?

    • This is a great question, Nancy! I'll be addressing some of this in my post today. In the meantime, do any of the Millennials want to answer the commitment question?

  • Ok – here's the hiring boomer's perspective – I would like to see Millenials be more strategic – think long term in terms of their gifting and what they can contribute as opposed to 6-12 months. What would it take to get you to commit longer term to our compamy if you're a rising star?

    • This is a great question, Nancy! I'll be addressing some of this in my post today. In the meantime, do any of the Millennials want to answer the commitment question?

  • Niles, this is such an incredible, though-provoking analysis of how companies need to evolve to meet the needs of a new era of workers! You hit on something that I want to highlight here because I think it's critical:

    The challenge every organization faces today is to engage each individual according to their skills (to benefit the company) AND their passions (to benefit the individual AND the company). One without the other leaves both parties wanting, and the relationship is short-lived (but you might get a twitter marketing campaign out of it). This provides both a challenge and an opportunity for organizations. Those that get this balance right will have a far more loyal workforce, will attract employee referrals, project a positive corporate image in social media, and have opportunities to couple company culture with world-changing opportunities and organizations. The hard work consists of building relationships with EVERY employee, not just the perceived top talent, and not just because it is a checklist item, but because it creates a bond that a pension no longer makes. This relationship building takes a lot of listening, it takes asking meaningful questions, and pressing in to find the passion that each "Millenial" clings to. it takes time. In fact, I suspect that EVERY person has these passions, these dreams to save the world, and it is up to us, the business leaders, CEOs, and Executives, to listen, encourage, inspire, and lead.

  • Niles, this is such an incredible, though-provoking analysis of how companies need to evolve to meet the needs of a new era of workers! You hit on something that I want to highlight here because I think it's critical:

    The challenge every organization faces today is to engage each individual according to their skills (to benefit the company) AND their passions (to benefit the individual AND the company). One without the other leaves both parties wanting, and the relationship is short-lived (but you might get a twitter marketing campaign out of it). This provides both a challenge and an opportunity for organizations. Those that get this balance right will have a far more loyal workforce, will attract employee referrals, project a positive corporate image in social media, and have opportunities to couple company culture with world-changing opportunities and organizations. The hard work consists of building relationships with EVERY employee, not just the perceived top talent, and not just because it is a checklist item, but because it creates a bond that a pension no longer makes. This relationship building takes a lot of listening, it takes asking meaningful questions, and pressing in to find the passion that each "Millenial" clings to. it takes time. In fact, I suspect that EVERY person has these passions, these dreams to save the world, and it is up to us, the business leaders, CEOs, and Executives, to listen, encourage, inspire, and lead.

  • Culture is so important to our generation, Joel. If we're going to invest a third of our lives for a period of time at a company, why shouldn't we generally enjoy that time and like the people we work with? Why can't we make friendships with our teammates? And why don't we get to work with people we enjoy more often? How come teams always seemed to be picked for us instead of with us?

  • Culture is so important to our generation, Joel. If we're going to invest a third of our lives for a period of time at a company, why shouldn't we generally enjoy that time and like the people we work with? Why can't we make friendships with our teammates? And why don't we get to work with people we enjoy more often? How come teams always seemed to be picked for us instead of with us?

  • soulhangout

    Ditto!!! Travis, thank you for naming the historical moment as Indeed a revolution. I apologize on behalf of my generation. I have published every article and study about Millennials and the work force in my blog. I am an advocate for Millennials. What strikes me the most is the complete inability Boomers have to step on your shoes and see the world WE created and are leaving behind through the eyes of YOUR experience. You are mirroring us. Is not like we are leaving a paradise world behind us. Shame on us for not taking responsibility for our actions and our cowardice to step out of comfort zone denial. After all, we showed you our illusion of the American dream in real time. I can hear you thinking with so much reason and justice. "Yes you had your malls and your SUV's and your picket fence house and you acquisition addiction and your beloved corporation that sucked the life out of you transforming your humanity into a number, enslaving your time away from your family. The American dream that turned Health Care, education and war into the most profitable businesses in the world and all of us in guinea pigs. The American dream that turned the economy into a giant speculating casino…and you want me to be a part of that? Are you kidding me? I saw you suffer through it and I experienced the painful abandonment of your presence. Your attention. Thank you very much but I don't like your world. It doesn't make sense to me". Here is the thing. We were the first and thank the gods most likely the only generation that fell for the carrot hanging from the stick in front of the donkeys nose. Most women went to work because society decided work was more important than being with our children. We took it also because the times demanded a second salary to sustain a family. We fell frivolously in the trap of devoting much more time to our corporation than to our children. How can we blame you for refusing to be part of such a mess and being so clear about your priorities. You are right, this is so fascinating that we need to be having the conversation. I will re-post this in my blog. Spread the word. There is a lot more to say about the amazingly clear thinking you
    Millennials have developed through your unique (scientifically supported) experience. We are in this together and we need to support you to create the world you envision in cooperation, co-creativity, critical thinking, community collaboration and transparency. It is time to leave behind the mindset of competition and separation. It is just not sustainable any more.

    • Thanks for sharing this! You're absolutely right that our generation's priorities have shifted. It's not that we don't want to be successful and have nice things. It's that we're not willing to sacrifice our lives on the alter of a job. We want to work and work hard. We just want purpose and meaning behind what we do. Our priorities are much different than our parents' generation.

  • soulhangout

    Ditto!!! Travis, thank you for naming the historical moment as Indeed a revolution. I apologize on behalf of my generation. I have published every article and study about Millennials and the work force in my blog. I am an advocate for Millennials. What strikes me the most is the complete inability Boomers have to step on your shoes and see the world WE created and are leaving behind through the eyes of YOUR experience. You are mirroring us. Is not like we are leaving a paradise world behind us. Shame on us for not taking responsibility for our actions and our cowardice to step out of comfort zone denial. After all, we showed you our illusion of the American dream in real time. I can hear you thinking with so much reason and justice. "Yes you had your malls and your SUV's and your picket fence house and you acquisition addiction and your beloved corporation that sucked the life out of you transforming your humanity into a number, enslaving your time away from your family. The American dream that turned Health Care, education and war into the most profitable businesses in the world and all of us in guinea pigs. The American dream that turned the economy into a giant speculating casino…and you want me to be a part of that? Are you kidding me? I saw you suffer through it and I experienced the painful abandonment of your presence. Your attention. Thank you very much but I don't like your world. It doesn't make sense to me". Here is the thing. We were the first and thank the gods most likely the only generation that fell for the carrot hanging from the stick in front of the donkeys nose. Most women went to work because society decided work was more important than being with our children. We took it also because the times demanded a second salary to sustain a family. We fell frivolously in the trap of devoting much more time to our corporation than to our children. How can we blame you for refusing to be part of such a mess and being so clear about your priorities. You are right, this is so fascinating that we need to be having the conversation. I will re-post this in my blog. Spread the word. There is a lot more to say about the amazingly clear thinking you
    Millennials have developed through your unique (scientifically supported) experience. We are in this together and we need to support you to create the world you envision in cooperation, co-creativity, critical thinking, community collaboration and transparency. It is time to leave behind the mindset of competition and separation. It is just not sustainable any more.

    • Thanks for sharing this! You're absolutely right that our generation's priorities have shifted. It's not that we don't want to be successful and have nice things. It's that we're not willing to sacrifice our lives on the alter of a job. We want to work and work hard. We just want purpose and meaning behind what we do. Our priorities are much different than our parents' generation.

      • soulhangout

        Amen to that . We compromised our integrity and you guys are not willing to do it. I commend you for that. We the boomers have to pass the torch of sustainability to you. You guys are totally prepared to handle it all you need is a little support. Her is an e-Book by my friend Scott Degraffenreid. He is the person who has done the most mathematical accurate study. The e-book is free. Feel free to pass it around. It is and amazing document of acknowledgment. http://bigbusinesszoo.com/millennials.php
        A big hug my friend!

        • I just downloaded that e-book. At the end of the week, I'm going to include a list of additional resources. I'll take a look at his book and possibly add it to the list. Thanks for sharing it!

  • soulhangout

    Amen to that . We compromised our integrity and you guys are not willing to do it. I commend you for that. We the boomers have to pass the torch of sustainability to you. You guys are totally prepared to handle it all you need is a little support. Her is an e-Book by my friend Scott Degraffenreid. He is the person who has done the most mathematical accurate study. The e-book is free. Feel free to pass it around. It is and amazing document of acknowledgment. http://bigbusinesszoo.com/millennials.php
    A big hug my friend!

    • I just downloaded that e-book. At the end of the week, I'm going to include a list of additional resources. I'll take a look at his book and possibly add it to the list. Thanks for sharing it!

  • I will answer a few questions as a Millennial:

    What do you look for in a company?
    I look for companies that are excited about what they are doing and that have a similar philosophy as I do regarding customers/clients. I look for companies that do not provide the same mechanical process for every customer/client as every client is unique – and when you start providing customized solutions to individual clients, creativity can flourish and new ideas arise. Finally, I look for companies that are flexible (are they open to telecommuting – not everyone produces their best work in an office setting or from the hours of 9 – 5) and that will value me for MY skills and passion versus the hours I log on a time sheet or the face time I put in with the c-level.

    What do you look for in a manager?
    Easy, someone that is willing to let go and that WANTS new ideas, that is happy when his/her employees' provide suggestions and that is not afraid to admit his/her way may not be the best way. I love when managers encourage their employees to contribute and foster collaboration – this is exciting and how the best ideas come to fruition. I think employees are happiest when they believe they are contributing to a company's growth and purpose, not just mass producing work.

    I have worked for all types of companies, from strict corporations to "happy times" Yahoo! and I will say I was always at my best when I had a manager that supported creativity. Y! was great in that the company never fixated on set schedules and remained flexible to its employees. That is why employees stayed so loyal and produced the most amazing technologies. The minute that flexibility was taken away, things became too process driven, etc. the talent left the company – they either went to MySpace/Facebook or started their own companies.

    Finally, want to echo the thoughts another person posted earlier – people are no longer afraid to leave "jobs" when they are not fulfilled with their work. We are a generation that takes risks, that likes movement and will pursue our passions.

    • Amber…you make my day every time you comment. 🙂

      You just hit a great point that I don't think companies are realizing: if they don't change, not only will we jump ship to another competitor, we may actually become their competitors. This is actually more dangerous to their survival than us just running to a competitor.

      So much of what you mentioned focuses on those "culture" issues that are intangible and much harder for companies than just throwing a wad of cash at us. Companies think they can buy our loyalty and happiness even though what we really want is creativity, flexibility, autonomy and purpose.

      Thank you as always!

  • I will answer a few questions as a Millennial:

    What do you look for in a company?
    I look for companies that are excited about what they are doing and that have a similar philosophy as I do regarding customers/clients. I look for companies that do not provide the same mechanical process for every customer/client as every client is unique – and when you start providing customized solutions to individual clients, creativity can flourish and new ideas arise. Finally, I look for companies that are flexible (are they open to telecommuting – not everyone produces their best work in an office setting or from the hours of 9 – 5) and that will value me for MY skills and passion versus the hours I log on a time sheet or the face time I put in with the c-level.

    What do you look for in a manager?
    Easy, someone that is willing to let go and that WANTS new ideas, that is happy when his/her employees' provide suggestions and that is not afraid to admit his/her way may not be the best way. I love when managers encourage their employees to contribute and foster collaboration – this is exciting and how the best ideas come to fruition. I think employees are happiest when they believe they are contributing to a company's growth and purpose, not just mass producing work.

    I have worked for all types of companies, from strict corporations to "happy times" Yahoo! and I will say I was always at my best when I had a manager that supported creativity. Y! was great in that the company never fixated on set schedules and remained flexible to its employees. That is why employees stayed so loyal and produced the most amazing technologies. The minute that flexibility was taken away, things became too process driven, etc. the talent left the company – they either went to MySpace/Facebook or started their own companies.

    Finally, want to echo the thoughts another person posted earlier – people are no longer afraid to leave "jobs" when they are not fulfilled with their work. We are a generation that takes risks, that likes movement and will pursue our passions.

    • Amber…you make my day every time you comment. 🙂

      You just hit a great point that I don't think companies are realizing: if they don't change, not only will we jump ship to another competitor, we may actually become their competitors. This is actually more dangerous to their survival than us just running to a competitor.

      So much of what you mentioned focuses on those "culture" issues that are intangible and much harder for companies than just throwing a wad of cash at us. Companies think they can buy our loyalty and happiness even though what we really want is creativity, flexibility, autonomy and purpose.

      Thank you as always!

  • Eric Pardue

    Travis – I have found this very interesting so far. Thanks for leading this!

    In business, the single most difficult thing is communication. Sometimes there is a lack of communication, but most of the time it is not seeing eye to eye. Even though different generations might be using the same words and phrases, they aren’t the same signposts for everyone. Different words mean different things to each person. For example, to some people being “on time” means… 15 minutes early. And to others it means… well, being on time.

    Just as communication is a challenge for different generations, so is defining expectations. Often times, employee expectations are not clearly defined and sometimes not defined at all. An employer may view an employee as not meeting expectations when the employee doesn’t even know exactly what the expectations are.

    So my point is… in order for different generations to successfully work together, expectations have to clearly be defined, understood and agreed upon.

    • Great points, Eric! Communication is a huge key to success as is setting clear expectations. One of the things I tell my clients is to "clearly define what success in a given position looks like." I want them to focus on how it will be measured and determined. It should be clearly communicated in a "position contract" where both parties agree to those terms. Then, I believe, the employee should ONLY be judged on those factors. After all, if success is measured by hitting those targets, who cares about the rest? More on this later today in my next post. Thanks for sharing!

  • Eric Pardue

    Travis – I have found this very interesting so far. Thanks for leading this!

    In business, the single most difficult thing is communication. Sometimes there is a lack of communication, but most of the time it is not seeing eye to eye. Even though different generations might be using the same words and phrases, they aren’t the same signposts for everyone. Different words mean different things to each person. For example, to some people being “on time” means… 15 minutes early. And to others it means… well, being on time.

    Just as communication is a challenge for different generations, so is defining expectations. Often times, employee expectations are not clearly defined and sometimes not defined at all. An employer may view an employee as not meeting expectations when the employee doesn’t even know exactly what the expectations are.

    So my point is… in order for different generations to successfully work together, expectations have to clearly be defined, understood and agreed upon.

    • Great points, Eric! Communication is a huge key to success as is setting clear expectations. One of the things I tell my clients is to "clearly define what success in a given position looks like." I want them to focus on how it will be measured and determined. It should be clearly communicated in a "position contract" where both parties agree to those terms. Then, I believe, the employee should ONLY be judged on those factors. After all, if success is measured by hitting those targets, who cares about the rest? More on this later today in my next post. Thanks for sharing!

  • Julie, this is so incredibly valuable!

    I apologize for just responding right now! For some reason, I missed it while looking through the comment system. Thank you for taking the time to put all of this down. Your answers should be given to every single hiring manager from every company. I love the answer to the question of what you would tell CEOs. This sums up what so many Millennials seem to be telling me and what so many of them see as the problem.

    My deepest gratitude for your time and your answers.

  • By the way, great list of authors who "get it" – each is one of my favorites.

  • soulhangout

    Amen to that . We compromised our integrity and you guys are not willing to do it. I commend you for that. We the boomers have to pass the torch of sustainability to you. You guys are totally prepared to handle it all you need is a little support. Her is an e-Book by my friend Scott Degraffenreid. He is the person who has done the most mathematical accurate study. The e-book is free. Feel free to pass it around. It is and amazing document of acknowledgment. http://bigbusinesszoo.com/millennials.php
    A big hug my friend!

  • As an X-er, I completely agree with “… many view our generation as possibly the most innovative and creative generation ever – which sounds quite promising”

    • Thanks, Craig! We really have been raised to explore and ask questions. It will be interesting to see how we continue to utilize that in our career choices and what we do to shake up the status quo.

  • Yea, I totally agree -“For example, many view our generation as possibly the most innovative and creative generation ever – which sounds quite promising.”

    I am a young guy, and don’t fail to see that. What I see though is the inability in this generation to get something going. Or they’re very few or the many masses out there…

    Communication doesn’t seem like a problem nowadays, but need to know how to handle it effectively. The article lists some very good questions for any business or individual who has a business started.