Millennial Mindset: Leverage or Squash?

By Adam Wells - July 19, 2019

There’s a tension in the workplace of today between the hierarchical command & control management style of yesterday and the “4 hour work week” of tomorrow. While a formalized organizational chart and a clear functional accountability for each employee is important, the expectations around the  behavior of employees is even more revealing in impact on achieving the business goal.  

Today, Adam Wells with GSTVC shares with us how he and the GST team value people-oriented leadership.

Company Structure & Culture-at odds?

There’s a tension in the workplace of today between the hierarchical command & control management style of yesterday and the “4 hour work week” of tomorrow. 

Organizational Theory, which studies different company structures and their efficacy, would have you believe that company structure and company culture are two very different things-they’re actually much more related than you would think. 

While a formalized organizational chart and a clear functional accountability for each employee is important, the expectations around the  behavior of employees is even more revealing in impact on achieving the business goal. 

Millions of data points around Millennials

  • 3 years ago Millennials became the largest segment in the US workforce, and they’re still widening the gap[1]
  • Millennial Turnover costs the US economy over $30B per year[2]
  • A majority of Millennials across the world believe that the businesses have no ambition beyond making money[3]
  • At companies where managers show sincere interest in Millennials as people, the organization sees an 8x improvement in agility and a 7x increase in innovation[4]
  • Millennials who say they have a great workplace are almost 60x more likely to strongly endorse their company to peers and extended network[5]

[1] Gallup

[2] Gallup

[3] Deloitte

[4] Great Place to Work

[5] Great Place to Work

What the big boys are doing

We all learned the ABCs long ago; beyond the jingle, these continue to be the literal building blocks of how we communicate.  For most of us, the quality of our communication is a direct contributor to our personal historical success and the success of the companies that we lead.  I have a different set of ABCs with an equally compelling result:

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, Chase

These are all massively successful companies with at least one thing in common: a very strong corporate culture which values its employees.  All three of the above companies’ mission statements start out with mentioning their own people and describing them in ways such as “passionate, innovators, owners.”[1] 

This flies in the face of what Millennials believe businesses’ main goal to be: exclusively making money. While you could argue that the mission statements of these companies which are ever so much in the public eye are paying lip service for the sake of image, I would disagree. 

[1] Amazon

What a Millennial Wants

There really is something to culture in the workplace. So what culture will yield the best results, get us furthest along in common goal of the business?  Do we embrace the largest demographic in the workforce or do we take on the uphill battle of willing running into the buzz saw that is employee turnover? 

We should first ask ourselves what do these employees truly want?  Here are a few things[1]:

  1. To be shown the way instead of dragged along (mentors ilo bosses)
  2. To be valued for not only achievement but even more importantly…feedback
  3. To be in an environment where they can develop community (social interactions w/coworkers)
  4. To be able to clearly see the opportunities for expanded involvement, new challenges

[1] Medium

A few questions:

What degree of pivot would your company culture need to make to implement the above in a real and resolute way? 

Are the above core desires of your Millennial employees mutually exclusive to structure, defined goals, workplace expectations and conformity to your distinct company values?

My guess is they are not.  But is it worth it-or should they all just “fall in line.”  I guess to decide if it is worth it, we’d need to understand the potential payoff…what would be the ROI of dedicating time and resources to affecting this change in company culture? 

What's the difference?

Let’s take a break and look at this through a different lens…how important are your customers to the business? 

How well do you know them?  Have you made adjustments to your Customer On-boarding process since version 1?  Do you value Customer Input?  Do you encourage your Customers to know each other?  Do your Customers anticipate additions and improvements in your offerings? 

Do you track NPS (Net Promoter Score) and how have you seen this increase as a result of your efforts to address the needs of your valued customers? 

Conclusion

Back to the ROI question on the employee engagement conversation-sorry for the digression.  Do you see any similarities between what Millennial employees want and what your Customers value? 

By comparison, why track NPS for customers, what is the ROI for this effort?  While NPS is limited in the breadth of what it communicates[1], it does indicate how well your business is meeting the needs of its customers.  When NPS is high, the implication is that your customers will be more likely to strongly endorse their experience with your company which will lead to more customers. 

Please scroll up just a little to the last bullet point of the “Insights” section.  What is the potential ROI for leveraging the Millennial mindset in your company?  …6,000 %

 

Millennial Mindset values Guidance, Feedback, Community, Opportunities

 

[1] Openview

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