Coming off my last week of looking at Millennials in the workplace, I want to tackle the idea of “working for” vs. “working with.” Understanding this concept will be critical to attracting and retaining Millennials.
Millennials Don’t Want to “Work For”
Working for someone or something implies that your time and ideas are not your own. Instead they are owned by the person you do the work for. Your work is not your own. It implies they control many things about you: when you show up, when you leave, what you do, who you do it with, where you do it, when you do it, etc. It implies obligation not cooperation.
Millennials Want to “Work With”
Almost everyone wants to be part of something greater than themselves. But how can you feel like you matter when you feel like you’re owned? You can’t.
When you work with someone, you matter. You aren’t controlled by people you work with – you’re included. When you work with people, you share common goals and values that you all want to see accomplished. You partner. You share in the highs and lows.
Most Consultants and Companies “Work With”
Have you ever noticed that most companies in the service sector will talk about the clients they “work with”? Rarely will they say, “We work for Google,” or, “We work for Coca-Cola.”
Why? Because they want to be viewed as peers. They don’t want to be viewed as the lesser-valued parter in the relationship.
Those same companies will then turn around and refer to the employees that “work for” them rather than “work with” them. I would argue that any company looking to create a culture that Millennials (and truthfully anyone) would love to work for, needs to focus on shifting this perspective. Value them the same way you value your clients.
Leading vs. Managing
Remember my post on leading versus managing? Leaders work with you. Managers expect you to work for them.
Work with your employees; don’t let them work for you.