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How C-Level Executives Can Relate Better To A Millennial Workforce

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Ah, the mystery of the millennial.

In recent times, companies have had a hard time attracting younger workers to their firms, citing them as becoming bored and restless after a few months. Additionally, due to the current financial climate, many workers across the board have become invested in ‘the gig economy,’ which soon will encapsulate over 74% of the workforce. While these jobs don’t necessarily look promising for employers looking to hire long term, they’ve been somewhat attractive to the younger workers.

Yet, despite current conditions, millennials can be one the most valuable assets of a senior level employee. Their ambition, drive and motivations behind their work can humble even the most seasoned vet, and even spark a new sense of innovation. Believe it or not, millennials do have respect for the current model of how things work. It just takes a little bit of meeting halfway to build a successful relationship with them.

1. Know And Display The Culture And Values You Want To Build

Millennials have a strong desire to work in a place that has a deep value system and culture. Make no mistake; this isn’t as easy as throwing some motivational posters on the wall or some snacks in the break room. It also isn’t shelling out for trendy amenities like a Ping-Pong table or keg.

The first thing millennials seek out in a workplace is an environment to collaborate in openly. They want to create meaningful work, something with a spine that feels like it’s making an impact on the world around them. More, they want a sense of freedom and flexibility to take breaks, have fun, and work in different environments. And believe it or not, this new way of thinking has proven some great results when it comes to productivity.

While it requires a lot of tough conversations with yourself about what your business is about and how it runs, the result will benefit not only your workspace but your brand’s culture and story as well.

2. Tell Them A Story

Millennials can smell B.S. from a mile away. No longer do they live in the P.T. Barnum “A sucker is born every minute” world, but rather one that respects a genuine and honest approach to why a company is in existence.

According to Qamar Zaman, founder of Submit123PR, you can see the stark contrast in this by their approach to the #1 thing older generations try to have an understanding of: social media. While many brands try to ‘figure it out’ by using practices they know as tried and true (data, analytics, etc.), the most successful brands run by millennials do what they’ve already done best.
Not only has this approach worked wonders for their success, but it also is the core foundation for reaching millennials: being authentic.

3. Have Team Building Activities That Your Team Sincerely Wants To Take Part In

No one wants to dread what’s supposed to be something fun, and as it’s been said before, team building activities are essential to building a sense of community.

To honestly engage with millennials, you have to design activities that they genuinely want to do. Gone are the days of walking on hot coals or sitting in a circle and saying “one interesting fact about yourself.” These younger generations view those as cheesy and trite.

[qz_share]In order to figure what events or activities you want to take part in, the first step is paying attention to what your team’s interests already are. Perhaps you have a group large enough that would enjoy a hiking trip or maybe they’d rather drink beers and play Super Smash Brothers instead. For example, Eberstein Witherite, was named “A Top 100 Workplace For 2016,” partly because their employees felt they were a part of something meaningful through regular engaging activities.[/qz_share]

Whatever the case may be, take the time to ask everyone and gauge these things as a group. As stated above, millennials love collaborating and what you all do together should be no different.

4. Remember That You’re Trying To Change The World

At some point or another, you’ve thought about how your business could impact the future. Whether you were a young, ambitious kid with only a few dollars to their name or a well-established professional fed up with the way your industry has been, it’s important to tap into that inspiration to reach millennials.

While it may seem high-minded, it’s one of the most important aspects of hiring younger generations. More than ever, millennials put changing the world as one of their top priorities.

Despite criticisms of “not understanding the business world,” these motivations make them some of the most advantageous people you could hire. After all, these folks can bring an immense amount of new ideas that push the bar in terms of what your company can offer.

5. If You’re Not Willing To Learn, Then They Probably Won’t Either

As much as people like to describe the innovations that millennials could bring to the table as “out of their element” hardheaded, entitled, or whatever other buzzwords we like to use to characterize young people, millennials actually have an incredibly strong desire to learn as much as possible.

It’s a core value to their perspective on leadership. Rather than having a ‘climb your way to the top’ mentality of yesteryear, they view becoming a leader as more of a step-by-step learning process. So, if you’re willing to learn from them, they’ll do the same with you as well.

Even though current trends tend to suggest that millennials are this crazy, mysterious creative class of individuals, they are some of the most beneficial hires to getting back to the core of why you’re in business in the first place.

After all, having a business is having a living, breathing organism: one with a personality and vision that’s constantly changing and adapting to learn from. And who else better to help you tackle this than those that best understand the story of not only where you are, but how you get here…and most importantly, where you want to go.

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