FountainBlue’s June 13 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Millennials In Our Mids. Please join us in thanking our speakers for taking the time to share their advice and thoughts and to our gracious hosts at EMC. Below are notes from the conversation.
Our panelists represented a range of tech companies, with leaders from many backgrounds and roles, representing different generations – working with and as millennials, all with experience at many different levels within and outside tech organizations and start-ups and consultancies. They have worked with a range of people, leaders, teams and companies, and have generously shared their wisdom and advice.
We started the conversation talking about what a millennial is and what they had in common. Our panelists agreed that although we should not stereotype millennials or any generation group, and we should not mistake lack of experience with traits of being a millennial, and we should not think that all millennials are equal, millennials do have some similar traits.
- Millennials like to chase ‘bright, shiny objects’, in the work context and outside it. To motivate a millennial on the team, speak about projects so that they are motivated to participate, and allow them to move between and within groups to help retain and develop them within the company.
- Millennials are known by some as the ‘trophy’ generation, where they are used to being winners. When reality hits in the work context, and they are no longer winning at everything, or winning because they show their best efforts, it would take some getting-used-to for them. So, sandwich criticism and help them embrace feedback as learning opportunities while continuing to stroke their egos.
- Millennials creatively problem solve collaboratively with others. Give them big picture descriptions for meaningful projects (focus on the why), and avoid telling them what to do and how to do it.
- Millennials love technology and devices, and communicate and connect differently than those of other generations. So accept that they communicate differently, but help them brand and message who they are and what they do in a professional manner. However, when a millennials’ love-of-devices makes them appear unfocused and un-engaged in meetings, someone should help them understand how he/she is coming across and make different choices.
- Millennials may be more experienced and less fearful of trying new things, especially around technology, so use this to your advantage.
- Millennials have an entrepreneurial streak, and enjoy both technical and business challenges.
- Millennials love to continuously learn and grown. The other side of that is that they need to feel continually challenged in new ways, so they may hop from job to job, role to role. But if you understand that, you can create those roles for them and help them navigate through different jobs within the company.
- Millennials tell it the way it is – they are clear and transparent and direct in general. This is great, but some may need a lesson in strategy or tact, in order to be perceived as a respectful team player.
- Millennials want to know the why of things, and want to see the metrics and the data. Explaining projects with this context will help them understand its relevance and impact.
Our panelists espoused these truisms, regardless of which generation you represent:
- Communicate, collaborate and connect with each other – build a relationship, work as a team.
- Accept other viewpoints and perspectives will help us all learn and grow.
- Customer-focused people, teams and companies win business.
- Find your passion, and work with those who share that passion.
- Communicate and message your brand, what you stand for, in a way that resonates with others.
- It’s all about the attitude – be willing to work with the team, do what it takes, learn as you grow, work with others to make something great.
Advice for getting millennials integrated into your workforce:
- Have millennials do a shadowing visit before they join, so they get to know who’s in the company, what the culture is like, and what the work is like.
- Do cross-generational mentoring, especially if it would help bridge disconnects between engineering and sales, for example.
- Steve Bilbo, Senior Program Manager and Engineer, You Sound OLD! – Stop Saying This at Work (what boomers need to stop saying) and You Sound Too Young!! – Stop Saying This at Work (what millennials need to stop saying)
- Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
- Lynn Lancaster, David Stillman, The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace
Please join us in thanking our hosts at EMC and our speakers for FountainBlue’s June 13 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event, on the topic of Millennials In Our Midst:
Facilitator Camille Smith, Work In Progress Coaching
Panelist Lori Burningham, Manager, University Programs [UP]Community & Learning, eBay
Panelist Kim Chrystie, Sr. Manager, Advertising & Brand Strategy, EMC
Panelist Pegah Kamal, Social Media Marketing Manager, Aruba Networks
Panelist Almitra Karnik Sharma, Senior Product and Solutions Marketing Manager, Twilio, Inc.
Panelist Amy Papciak, IT Project Manager, Cisco