How to Help Millennial Employees Thrive

Millennials have been cast as feeling entitled and lacking ambition, but research shows they work hard and are eager to learn and grow. Early-career women in particular are looking for opportunities for advancement. It’s the top trait these women seek in an employer...

 

Opinion: How to Help Millennial Employees Thrive

 

By 
Joan Toth, CEO, NEW

 

Millennials make up more than one-third of the U.S. population, and the success of the convenience industry depends on attracting and keeping them as employees (and customers). Millennials have been cast as feeling entitled and lacking ambition, but research shows they work hard and are eager to learn and grow. Early-career women in particular are looking for opportunities for advancement. It’s the top trait these women seek in an employer.

Today’s c-store industry is not a leading destination for millennial talent. High-potential young women are going elsewhere. So ask the millennials on your team what they want in a workplace and what their career goals are. Then ask yourself how you can develop young professionals to leverage their insights, experiences and talents.

I had such a conversation with Ashley Martina, 28, who recently joined the promotion management firm Pep as a marketing and communications executive.

Q: What about the retail, consumer goods and services industry appealed to you?

A: I’ve read countless articles about millennials’ desire for instant gratification. This typically carries a negative connotation, but I think it can be a positive. This industry is appealing because it’s so fast-paced. You find out almost instantly if a product or campaign is or is not successful, which makes it crucial to produce something great at the onset.

“We’ve always done it this way and it’s worked for us” is a red flag for millennials.

Q: How does Pep cultivate a workplace attractive to millennials?

A: Pep is extremely accommodating to the millennial workforce. They promote work-life balance by offering flexible hours, the opportunity to work from home once a month and two-hour passes to leave early or come in late, among other benefits. They recognize that working a 10-hour day doesn’t necessarily mean you accomplished more than the person working eight hours. Pep also provides a mentorship program that begins day one with the company. It is also a certified MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) with the National Minority Supplier Development Council and has dedicated initiatives for diversity and inclusion.

Q: Work-life integration seems very important to you. Sometimes corporate America interprets the desire for balance as “lazy” or “not interested in working hard.”

A: At this point in my life, I don’t have children and I’m not married, so putting in rigorous hours is not a concern for me. That being said, I do appreciate the option to come in late and stay late, or vice versa. I very much value being able to take vacation time.

I manage a work-life balance by trying to be mindful of my time. If I am at work, I strive to be focused and productive, but once I leave, I take time to relax and detach so that I can be fully present when spending time with friends and family. Mindfulness is key!

Q: Can you share an experience when you’ve thought, “This company doesn’t care about cultivating the next generation of leaders”?

A: One of the worst things you can ever hear from an employer is: “We’ve always done it this way and it’s worked for us.” This is a red flag for any millennial hoping to make an impact in an organization; it’s very deflating. We understand that what you’ve accomplished has been successful, but if you don’t keep looking forward you’ll get left behind.

Q: What other advice do you have for leaders of millennials?

A: Be open-minded. Some say millennials are lazy, sheltered, want everything handed to them, etc. I would argue that millennials are some of the most creative, forward-thinking, driven people. Give them a chance and you won’t be disappointed.

Also, we want to know what you expect so we can go above and beyond that. If we’re missing the mark, help us realign. Clearly define how we can progress to the next level.

We value a meritocracy. Millennials appreciate being rewarded and recognized for good work. This motivates us to work even harder and continue earning that appreciation. Create an environment of flexibility. The people you want working for you will not abuse it.

 

 

Full article can be found here.

 

Marks Take:

 

Eagerness to learn and grow. Particular skills needed to advance.  Ask millennials what kind of workplace they are looking for and then ask yourself how you can make that happen.   Professionally leverage their insights, experiences and talents.  From instant gratification carrying a negative connotation but rather this fast paced reflection and change of work model can help analyze and change for the better an overall work experience.  Being focused is being productive.  A touch of relaxation and time to detach allow you to more fully indulge in your work when the time is right strike when the iron is hot.  Worst things is the mentally of "we've always done it this way and its work for us" Successfulness will not come with out looking forward you will be the one left behind.  Give them a chance and you won’t be disappointed.  Also, we want to know what you expect so we can go above and beyond that. If we’re missing the mark, help us realign. Clearly define how we can progress to the next level.  We value a meritocracy. Millennials appreciate being rewarded and recognized for good work. This motivates us to work even harder and continue earning that appreciation. Create an environment of flexibility. The people you want working for you will not abuse it.