FountainBlue’s June 14 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Millennials in Our Midst. Below are notes from the conversation.
We were fortunate to have a wide range of perspectives on our panel, and that our panelists shared their insights, suggestions and advice with poignant humor and candor. They speak from a broad range of perspectives, learnings, trainings and experience.
Our panel has a breadth of experience working with the connected generation – as managers, as recruiters, as trainers, as colleagues, as reverse mentors, as advocates. From their various approaches and perspectives, they are working toward highlighting the magic of this generation, breaking down generational gaps, particularly around communication and stereotypes, sometimes in a structured way, working in alignment senior management and leadership, and sometimes in an ad-hoc way, impacting the culture, openness, and receptivity on all sides. They believe in these fundamental truths about this connected generation:
- The integration of this youngest generation in today’s workplace, this ‘connected generation’, into the company is imperative as it has workforce benefits, customer benefits, and leads to greater diversity overall within and outside the company.
- The drive and intensity and productivity of the connected generation can be mis-interpreted as ‘entitled’, but managed well, these inherent qualities of millennials can lead to productive, collaborative and creative results and fresh, near ideas.
- The desire of this connected generation to make an impact provides positive stimulation to the workforce in general, and raises the bar for all to find meaningful work.
- The education of managers about millennials and their preferred methods of doing work and communicating, particularly the need for regular feedback and check-ins, their affiliation with technology, and their phenomenal productivity, will help managers work and communicate more successfully with the millennials on their teams, and adjusts many perceptions these managers may have about the millennials on their team.
- Conversely, helping millennials to understand the needs and perspectives of executive leaders and managers, and communicating their desires in the context of tasks and projects to be done will greatly impact the probability of success for these projects, programs and tasks.
- Welcoming their input and ideas will likely lead to more creativity, more collaboration, and more adaptation of solutions.
- Millennials would prefer getting regular positive and constructive feedback, in a format they feel most comfortable, whether it’s face-to-face, via e-mail or text, etc.
- The connected generation is committed to continuous learning, and constantly stretch themselves in new ways.
- They do not feel a sense of entitlement that others accuse them of having. Rather, they want to earn promotion earn the respect of others, doing meaningful work and contributing greatly to a cause or project/product.
10. Titles and money play a long second place to worthwhile work which helps them grow, expand, connect and contribute.
Below is advice provided by our panel on how to work with millennials:
- Leverage the magic of the millennials to benefit themselves, their teams and the organization overall
- Connected (with communities of others and to each other)
- Ask for their input on how to reach global customers who are their age, using the latest mobile solutions, for example
- If you as a manager feel threatened or frustrated by millennials, consider that:
- They are more likely to seek self-improvement than the next rung on the corporate ladder;
- Their productivity is more an indication of their desire to perform rather than their desire to show up others;
- Their desire to do something in a different way is less likely a critique of what-worked-before, and more likely a desire to improve processes and communications and scalability so that all can benefit;
- Many embrace risk and view failure as a lesson learned;
- Their requests for continual feedback is not about lacking confidence and needing approval, but more about ensuring that they are in synch with you and others.
- Communicate with them using tools they feel comfortable using, including social media tools.
- Ask for their input on how a solution could be solved, starting with a blank slate.
- Give them flexibility about how and when things get done, and let them choose to do things on the side as well.
- This generation is wired to play outside the rules AND add value to their team and organization.
- Millennials are great for adding an intuitive interface and a human touch to technology – the pleases and thank yous and apologies and status reports added to current solutions will improve communications from and affinity to an organization.
- Proactively coach them to find their best fit, leveraging their skills, talents and passions, interwoven with the needs of the company and market overall.
10. Get their input on how to push the technology envelope and market opportunities in these and other emerging areas:
- Video collaboration (they grew up with YouTube)
- Mobility (they are inseparable from their phones and know what they want from their phones)
- Social Media (their online community means so much to them)
- User experience (they want to integrate all of the above)
- Crowd-sourcing (let the customer speak and define success)
- Real-world adaptations of technology (think Google Glass and beyond)
In conclusion, our panel made it crystal clear that the millennials in the workplace are that connected generation that can benefit any organization in a host of ways. They are working with other generations to transform the workplace, indeed, how business works, for many generations to come.
- Cisco Hires Millennials for User Experience IT Jobs, Rachel King, Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2013, http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2013/05/27/cisco-hires-millennials-for-user-experience-it-jobs/
- “Is Gen Y Entitled?” by Melissa Stanger |May 29, 2013, featuring an interview with Joanna Bloor http://www.levoleague.com/office-hours-recaps/is-gen-y-entitled
Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s June 14 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Millennials in Our Midst:
Facilitator Pat Cross, Consultant, Trainer, and Co-Founder of CrossApps.net
Panelist Joanna Bloor, VP of Sales Operations, Pandora
Panelist Monique LeFors Edmondson, Manager, IT, Cisco
Panelist Jen Lamorena, Sr. Manager of University Programs and Youth Innovation, eBay
Panelist Julia McConaughy, Director, Channel Operations, Aruba
Panelist Ilene Rafii, Virtual Systems Engineer, Cisco
Please join us also thanking our gracious hosts at Aruba.