Lazy. Entitled. Narcissistic.
At both the popular and academic level, those three terms pretty well sum up their own problems with millennials. But why stop there? Theyre job-hopping, promotion-expecting, still-living-at-home-with-their-parents, social-media junkies whose simply shared fervour seems to be the vague longing for renown. Oh, and theyre also insecure( so if you could not call attention to those inadequacies, thatd be great ). Of course, its one thing to identify their own problems its another to go after the solution.
The question is: How? To find out, I connected with five leaders at the helm of successful and millennial-dominated companies. Their lessons all indicate powerful insights that are far more about how to produce millennials than about merely lamenting whats wrong.
1. Raise the bar
With 620,000 adherents, a podcast garnering one million monthly downloads, and over $100 million in sales through his fitness brands last year, Andy Frisella is more a army of nature than a CEO. In fact, the name of his podcast and website make that phase clear: The MFCEO.( You can guess what MF expressed support for .)
However, Frisellas passion for millennialswhich comprise all but five of his 130 employeesstems from a surprising source: empathy. There are these children out there who want to be successful, Frisella told me, but their entire life theyve never had to work to be successful. They dont understand reality. Everyone likes to puppy millennials like theyre not as good as previous generations, but the truth is that its not millennials who have failed. Its the people that elevated them. Its us.
That kind of ownership is why, instead of lowering the bar, Frisella elevates it: They come in at 19 years old; many stay, but patently some move on. My aim during that time is to induce them so good through the challenges of operate that they come back and say, That is the best thing that ever f ****** happened to me.
Pushing back against the participation award culture most millennials grew up in, Frisella makes anticipations clear. Encouragement is earned, never dedicated. The ensue is an culture that elevates young laborers while also constructing self-confidence simply in a job well done.
2. Cultivate a common passion
In 2005, Jones Soda was a bonafide pop-culture phenomenon. Features in Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc. chronicled the manufacturer’s iconic bottles along with their 30% year-over-year revenue growing.
Then, everything fell apart. Over the next decade, Jones wouldnt insure a single profitable one-quarter, downsize by 63 percentage, and eventually get delisted from NASDAQ. As the fifth CEO in as many years, thats the landscape Jennifer Cue entered in 2012.
The situation, Cue recalls, demanded creative problem solving and a squad that shared a common entrepreneurial spirit.
So, with a 60% millennial workforce, she led by example. In addition to coming in as CEO at a very low salary offset by equity, Cue invested $680,000 of her own fund into the company. More crucial still, she played to her squads strengths regardless of their titles and responsibilities.
The lesson: Rely and empowering millennials by providing challenges and opportunity for growing have contributed to an incredible appreciation of fulfillment. Its important not to generalize and not to categorize squads by age or demographic. The great thing about Jones is that we all share a common fervour for what were doing.
3. Dedicate up control
Handing over the management of 750,000 adherents to a college intern sounds like a recipe of natural disasters. Especially during your companies most busy day of the year. And yet, thats exactly what Candice Galek founder and CEO of Bikini Luxe does every summer. With ecommerce, you always have to be on your toes, the Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient explains, and having a creative squad whos eager to read, experiment, and try material out is crucial.
Even riskier is the fact only 8 of Galeks 48 regular the workers and 10 seasonal interns work in the same location she does. Why roll the dice?
In Galeks terms, Weve learned to desire the creative mindset and flexible of our mainly millennial squad members. Trying to control everything for the sake of quality and branding doesnt merely kill creativity, it crushes the spirit of the people who work for you regardless of their age.
Plenty of organizations pay lip service to employee liberty. Committing your people the flexibility to select where and when they work is a step in the right direction. But the real test comes from giving up control over what the hell are you post, write, share, and even create. This doesnt mean weak leadership, but it does entail committing millennials the tools they need to grow and then letting them.
4. Bring work and play together
Since launching in 2014, Studypool a 500 Startups-backed reading portal thats elevated $2.5 million in venture capital has built their vision becoming the Google of academics a reality. Numbers like 40,000 online instructors and over thousands and thousands of student reports prove it.
Twenty-three years old, CEO Richard Werbe credits has become a millennial as part of the reason hes been so successful: While people may assume that my age is a discouraging to my ability lead, its actually the contrary. Like its platform, Studypools culture embraces a worked very hard, play hard attitude. I know the importance of continuing my squad passionate about their work and aroused to come to come into the agency every day.
While they might sound like small things, Werbe streams music, affords a pantry full of snacks, doesnt enforce a dress code, and furnishes a game room in the agency to blow off steam. He likewise promotes his team to work remotely whenever possible. Theres no phase in pushing my team to the point where their chore becomes something they resent, Werbe notes, being close in age to my employees makes me particularly aware of the well-being of my squad and how to best keep them focused and enthusiastic.
5. Help them plan for whats next
Headquartered in Northern California, Azazie is on a mission to interrupt bridal way through affordable customization. With an average employee age of 27, theyre by millennials, for millennials. Whats their secret?
The same tailor-made approach theyve applied to 300,000 dress, they likewise apply to staff. As Rachel Hogue an early customer services rep became senior administrator told me, Its about specifying individual objectives and playing to individual strengths.
Rather than major on quotums, Hogue fulfils one-on-one with each employee monthly to incorporate their passions and future schemes into daily work. By fostering kindness and open communication, Hogue promotes an environment is built around cooperation: Each of our employees is unique. Its my job to ensure they seem comfortable to step up, share an idea, and spearhead new initiatives.
If 300% sales growing in 2017 is any clue, that approach pays off handsomely because when your employees are happy, theyll induce your patrons happy.
Leading millennials is about leadership
In the end, whether you agree or disagree with the mainstream belief on millennials isnt the point.
So, what is? Perhaps Simon Sinek put it best in the closing lines of Millennials in the Workplace: We now have a responsibility to make up the deficit and assistance this amazing, idealistic, fantastic generation build their confidence, learn patience, discover the social skills,[ and] find a better balance between life and technology because quite frankly its the right thing to do.
Even if millennials are their own problems its leaders like you who can offer the solution.
Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent and a regular contributor at Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Fast Company, Business Insider and more. Connect with him about content marketing( and bunnies) on Facebook or Twitter .
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