millennial bs

3 Ways the Millennial Generation Can Be Your Company’s BS Meter

As a species, humans love to complain, and we seem to really love to complain about the younger generations. However, it’s time to give the kid-bashing a rest and look at the ways that working with the Millennial generation (18-30 years old) helps us be better leaders and build better companies.

Overall, I love working with Millennials. Where some see entitlement, I see self-confidence. Where some see a lazy work ethic, I see a respect for work-life balance. Where some see an unwillingness to get with the program, I see people who want meaning in their work. Who doesn’t want self-confidence, work-life balance and meaning? We all do; this is just the first generation to have the guts to ask for it at the outset.

The biggest gift I believe Millennials bring to the workplace is that they’re a great BS meter to help you and your business stay real and connected to the market and the employee base.

Even though I admire these things about the younger generation, they’re not the main reason I enjoy working with them. The biggest gift I believe Millennials bring to the workplace is that they’re a great BS meter to help you and your business stay real and connected to the market and the employee base.

Why do you need a BS meter? Everyone needs a BS meter! It’s all too easy for the “adults” running the business to get out of touch with what’s going on with customers, front line employees and “the way things really work around here.” Just in managing the typical overwhelm of the average workplace, most of us give up trying to weed out the BS. It becomes easier to believe our own press and reward a culture around us that doesn’t challenge us to do more, be more and innovate. Too often we find ourselves doing things because we’ve done them before, not because they still make sense.

Millennials really don’t like doing stuff because it’s the way it’s always been done. Because they’re still newbies, they see things with fresh eyes. And – because they were told they mattered growing up – they have opinions about how things could be done better. Because they’re sophisticated consumers, users and media junkies many of their opinions are worth listening to.

Case in point. One Millennial left his job because he was asked to spend a half a day filling out paperwork to purchase a stapler. The glass-half-empty manager says that individual needs to get some humility and find a work ethic. The glass-half-full manager says, “why are we wasting half a day of anyone’s time doing paperwork for a stapler?!”

Working with Millennials can be a blessing and an opportunity to run a better business, but to take advantage of them you have accept that there is some BS in your system and set your intention to clear it out.  Here are three simple steps to help you do this.

1. Ask their opinion and listen to their thoughts.

Really, how hard can it be? You don’t have to DO everything they suggest. Just listen and absorb non-defensively. Millennials love to give feedback. (They also love to receive it.)

2. Watch what they enjoy.

If consumers vote with their dollars, Millennials vote with their time. Where they spend their time and energy is what they consider valuable and meaningful. If it’s not what you want them to do, look for the BS in the “what you want them to do” system (see #1). Once you understand the BS there, seek to get rid of it or replace it (see #3) with something important.

Working with Millennials can be a blessing and an opportunity to run a better business, but to take advantage of them you have accept that there is some BS in your system and set your intention to clear it out.

3. Try to retain them.

The manager who’s stapler lost him a Millennial employee failed this test. Millennials want to understand how their work connects to something important. If you can’t help them see what it is, then you may lose them. Think this sense of purpose and meaning in your work is a luxury? Your Millennial employees are the canaries in the coalmine for the rest of your workforce. The fact is that everyone wants to have meaning in their work and they work better when they have it. Solve the problem for the Millennials and you’ll be solving the problem for your entire workforce. Solve the problem for your workforce and you’ll run a better business.

There are many more benefits the Millennial generation brings to the workplace. Join a video panel of Millennials and organizational development thought leaders to explore some of these themes on July 16th. Register here!

 

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up HERE and receive The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!

Copyright: elwynn / 123RF Stock Photo

Dana Theus is president and CEO of InPower Consulting, reframing leadership to help high-achieving women and enlightened men find their voice and create change. Follow her also at www.InPowerWomen.com, www.InPowerCoaching.com, Twitter (@DanaTheus)

  • reply Bill Benoist /Leadership Heart ,

    I’ve been thinking a great deal about being bound by Golden Handcuffs and more specifically, why I had never really heard about the term before. My dad never complained about being shackled to his job. But I realized something after reading your post. Maybe we (us Baby Boomers) are envious of the Millennial’s respect for work-life and search for meaning in their work.

    We see the Millennial generation expecting more and we want it to. But there is the difference: Expect versus Want. The Want tightens the cuffs. Those who Expect have no cuffs – they have confidence they can find it elsewhere and easily walk away.

    Great post, Dana. You got me thinking!

    • reply JacobShriar ,

      Really well said. As a millennial, I’ve never fully understood why we got so much attention. I always assumed that boomers want the same things, so why all the attention? The expect versus want is really interesting, I never thought about it like that.

      Leave a comment

      one × = 3

      • footer-logo

        There’s a more human way to do business.

        In the Social Age, it’s how we engage with customers, collaborators and strategic partners that matters; it’s how we create workplace optimism that sets us apart; it’s how we recruit, retain (and repel) employees that becomes our differentiator. This isn’t a “people first, profits second” movement, but a “profits as a direct result of putting people first” movement.

      • Contact Us



        email: connect@switch&shift.com
        1802 North Carson Street
        Suite 206
        Carson City, NV 89701


        Terms & Conditions  |  Privacy Policy

      •  

        3 + = four