In the previous two articles (part 1 and part 2), I wrote about how millennials seem to have such a bad rap from so much misunderstanding, and then dove into just what their best talents are and how to utilize them. Many people seem to have issues with how this generation seems to clash with previous generations trying to work together in the same place.
In this article, I intend to pull all the first two parts together to show how we can integrate certain practices into the culture of the business to support the best interests and profitability and everyone, including millennials. I’ll show how these interests, at first glance, seem to be misaligned when in fact they are perfectly compatible with each other and the best interests of all concerned.
We'll take a few pages of study from some of the well-known companies like Netflix, Zappos, Google, Apple, and others who have the same challenges everyone else has, and are perfect examples of very successful, highly productive, and very, very profitable companies. Knowing that significant populations of their staff are millennials begs the question: How did they do that so successfully?
New Era in Restoration
We are facing a new era of restoration. We have the opportunity and need to reinvent, repurpose, and rethink the traditional ways of being in business. If you keep doing it the same old way, you are going to get what you already have, not something new. It is a new day, with new technologies and new generations, requiring new solutions, new thought, and new practices.
Let’s start with the milestone characteristics of millennials, the challenges, misunderstandings, and how each one fits in with both the needs of the business and with other generations to create a win- win for everyone.
This is not a problem for millennials. Other generations may have some trouble though. In particular, older generations may have trouble relating to the younger generations.
Solution: Use your senior staff to mentor younger staff. Millennials are very open to that, in fact value it, and having a system of in-house training is very good for your business. Millennials see value in being mentored by older, more experienced co-workers. They see it as a fast-track to gain valuable education that furthers their career development, and career development that lays a pathway for career advancement is very important to them.
Millennials don't chose their career just based on how much money they can make. Their career choice aligns what they do with who they are. That means their choice of career and work is very much an expression of who they are and needs to be consistent with their values. This is a very different way of approaching work from previous generations. Previous generations make career choices based on income potential and/or the type of work they want to do. And if you go back far enough, you will see that people got whatever kind of work they could get, and it paid what it paid, and they had to make that work.
As an example: Millennials will choose to perform sales of restoration services because restoration services are aligned with their commitment to serve their communities and the way they want to make a difference in the world. They place almost equal value on how much they are paid, who they work with, the business culture they work in, and the company’s ability to offer opportunities for growth and development towards career advancement. In many polls, compensation comes in as low as the sixth most important value, and in others, its way down at the 12th.
Turned Off by Rigid Corporate Culture
Doing things because that’s the way it has always been done without context, without the freedom of much communication, and/or the freedom of cross cultural inter-office teamwork is counterproductive to millennials.
Corporate environments that place the corporation first and the person somewhere else really doesn’t work for this generation. Despite the misunderstandings, millennials have a strong relationship to ownership and accountability as well as embracing the communication and resourcefulness that drive that accountability. Their values of ownership, accountability, and development fit perfectly in the work they perform and every one of those values supports the success of the company.
Netflix is a great study as one of several companies that have done a brilliant job of demonstrating an integration of cross-generational values into a current business model in a way that celebrates breakthrough levels of performance and productivity, and is highly profitable. They have also generously contributed the publication of their 124 slide power point culture deck, a powerful document that has been shared over 16 million times, and has been said to be the most important piece of written work to come out of Silicon Valley.
Check out these Netflix values:
- You accomplish amazing amounts of important work.
- You demonstrate consistently strong performance so colleagues can rely on you.
- You listen well.
- You treat people with respect.
- You say what you think even if it risks being controversial.
- You seek to understand.
- You seek to do what is best for Netflix rather than what is best for yourself or your team.
- You share information openly.
- You make time to help colleagues.
In addition, they say, "Responsible people thrive on freedom and are worthy of that freedom. Netflix seeks to increase employee freedom while maintaining the practice and values of each person getting a massive amount of work done…this is not only a value consistent with millennials, but a winning formula for a successful and profitable company."
In summary, build practices of mentoring, strengthen accountabilities, give employees a great deal of freedom, measure for the highest levels of performance, challenge and support them to achieve massive amounts of work, embrace straight-talk coaching with open and honest communication, and then acknowledge and reward them for their achievements. In doing so, you will have an incredibly successful business culture with breakthrough levels of performance, and a highly profitable company with help from every generation.