Millennial Footprint

The Millennial Footprint on Media and Entertainment

Millennial Footprint

The millennial generation will continue to leave a lasting footprint on American culture.

Every generation leaves their footprint on media and entertainment, and it looks like the Millennials’ footprint is likely to be a big one.

Last week at the ThinkLA conference in Los Angeles, I gave a Presentation on this topic. Attending were over 600 executives in the media and entertainment business. Among this group, there is a growing sense of unease about where it’s all going. Long standing business models have been disrupted overnight. In a recent research paper conducted by Ipsos for the Social Media Advertising Consortium, it was reported that 30% of Millennials’ media time (5 hours/day) is now spent with User Generated Content (UGC) created by their friends and peers. Our own research at LifeCourse confirms this. In a recent survey we conducted for twitch.tv, we found that  93% of Millennials go to social networking sites on their smart phones. This compares to 85% of GenXers and only 52% of Boomers. Conventional media like broadcast television is under enormous pressure to stem eroding market share from emerging media, and Millennials are leading this shift.

History shapes generations. Generations shape history.

To understand how Millennials  influence these new trends and discern where it is all going, we need to go back in time to the formative years of their childhood, and their coming of age experience– their own history. These early experiences shape their values and beliefs that remain enduring and unique, and can give us a glimpse into the future. Every generation is shaped by their place in history. Aristotle said that history shapes generations, and then generations shape history.

Millennials were raised during a time of increasing parental involvement. We’ve all heard stories of helicopter parents, clearing the way for their child’s success and achievement. Indeed, Millennials were raised to feel special and instilled with an ethic of achievement. Surrounded by a team of parents, teachers, coaches, and tutors, the expectation of individualized attention as well as a trusting support network allowing them to grow and achieve has always been part of the Millennials coming of age story. Role models at an early age encouraged teamwork and cooperation. Do you remember Barney the Dinosaur? I love you, you love me, we’re one big happy family… By contrast, GenXers grew up to learn to fend for themselves– it was a time of declining parental involvement. One of the iconic figures of their coming of age experience was a Muppet who lived in a garbage can– Oscar the Grouch!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4Sml5MgOcM&rel=0&w=560&h=315]

 

In my presentation, I’ve identified four shaping criteria that is now influencing, and will continue to influence the direction of entertainment and media usage:

  • Hyper-Socialization

Millennials are a connected generation, but it is more than the technology that allows them to connect. Millennials are social, and they seem to love everybody. They love their parents, they love their friends, and they love the community where they live. 82% of teenagers in 2005 (now Millennials in their late 20’s) reported “no problem at all with any family member”. This compares to 75% in 1983, and 48% in 1974. We all know that Millennials are the “friend” generation. In our 2014 LifeCourse survey, 55% of Millennials agreed with the statement, “My friends are the most important thing in my life”. This compares to 44% for GenXers and 40% of Boomers. But it is not just about being social and liking friends and family… it is about doing things together. Millennials like to work with others and collaborate in teams. In the world of video gaming, long thought of as a lonely geek activity, 72% of Millennials play video games with their friends or family members.

Perhaps the most telling event in recent media history about Millennials’ propensity for hyper-socialization and doing things together was the recent phenomenon called Twitch Plays Pokémon. Here is how it worked: An anonymous gamer from Australia developed a program on one of the world’s most popular live streaming sites for Millennials called twitch.tv. On twitch.tv, gamers input over 112 million commands to vote on how the main character should move. Together, they beat the game in 16 days. Twitch Plays Pokémon is now a regular site feature where users play assorted Pokémon titles together. Furthermore, users have also enhanced the game in ways the creator could not have anticipated, from creating memes in Photoshop to planning Pokémon battle strategies on social media.  In essence, this one game created a thriving community of its own.

  • First Life/Second Life Blend

Unlike Boomer and GenXers, who adapted to today’s technology, Millennials are digital natives. Their orientation is entirely different than older generations. They spend more time in front of a screen (10 hrs per days vs. 8 hrs for Xers and 7 hrs for Boomers), and they are the first generation that feels as much ‘at home’ with their second life on the internet as their first life (their actual real life). IRL is a common acronym going around today– it stands for In Real Life, as opposed to “life” on the internet. The fact that Millennials need to distinguish between the two suggests that there would otherwise be confusion for which is which. This is a remarkable paradigm shift that can’t be overstated. Indeed, in the LifeCourse survey for twitch, 52% of Millennials think that life is like a video game. Millennials quite simply trust technology. It was there with them in their crib, and has always been a dependable partner, so no wonder Millennials gravitate toward this second life of technology.

All of this means that as far as media and entertainment preferences, Millennials are likely to get deeper into interactive media– spend more time and become more engaged on the internet and in their second life, and of course, bringing their friends and family with them.

  • The Maker Movement

Like many new movements in the last few years, this one started with geeks in their basements. The whole maker culture represents learning by doing in a social environment. The maker movement is networked, informal, peer-led, and motivated by fun, learning, and achievement. This is quintessential Millennial! We know that Millennials are highly networked to their peers, and we also know that the notion of achievement is very important to them. Schools have increasingly been focused on achievement standards, and Millennials are on track to becoming the best educated generation in U.S. history. Good performance is a source of pride and social capital for Millennials, and the maker culture encourages both.

The rise in Millennials time spend with User Generated Content (UGC) is up to 30%. This is content that is created by their friends and peers. Earlier this year, Disney purchased Maker Studios for a deal worth about $900 million. Microsoft introduced Project Spark to the gaming community, and program that allows players to create their own characters, plot lines, settings, etc. All of these events point to a Maker Movement and this has “Millennial” written all over it.

As to the implications of Maker Movement on Media and Entertainment, expect more Millennials to be using today’s technology tools to advance their education and the their avocation. I predict that the entertainment industry will reshape the education business in America and throughout the world. After all, entertainers know how to grab your attention and keep you engaged.

  • The Barney Effect

The purple dinosaur that millions of Millennials watched as children encouraged teamwork, cooperation, respect, and fairness. Whether it is support for same sex marriage, or support to reduce the income gap, Millennials’ values of equity, respect and fairness were forged in their early years. Millennials are the first generation since the GI’s (pre-WW II) to value a middle class. 72% of Millennials believe the government should work hard to reduce the income gap between the rich and the poor, according to a 2014 CNN poll.

Along with this fairness and equity ethic comes Millennials’ embrace for brands that have a socially conscious element to it. Millennials scored higher than GenXers of Boomers when agreeing with the two statement “having a positive impact on society is important to me” and “It is important to me companies I buy products from support social causes.”

This notion of equity and fairness extends to expectations Millennials have on their participation in how products and brands are developed. This is often accomplished through crowdsourcing, which is second nature to Millennials. Ben and Jerry’s was one of the first companies to crowdsource flavors. According to the LifeCourse publication Social Intelligence, “Millennials expect brands to listen to their feedback and engage in two-way, interactive conversation with them.” Wasn’t it Barney who originally taught them to participate and share?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqfJ1_zjEjA]

The Three Key Words for the Footprint: Participate, Create, and Share

Those that are paying attention to the footprint are finding ways for Millennials to participate, create, and share in their media experience: Participate because Millennials feel that it is important to have their voice heard in the decisions being made, whether it is an ice cream flavor, or privacy policy on Facebook. Create because Millennials are leading the original Maker culture with an active and engaged mindset to learn, build, and achieve. And finally, Share, because Millennials value open transparency and dialogue, and advocate a crowdsourcing mentality. Follow the Participate-Create-Share mantra and watch your audience grow.

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

Coaching Millennials

New Year’s Resolution for Coaching Millennials

Coaching MillennialsCoaching to Millennials’ Strengths, Not Weaknesses

I’ve always believed that you can get more out of an employee by focusing on their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses. This is particularly true for Millennials. Born between 1982 – 2004, Millennials have been treated ‘special’ by their parents, teachers and coaches for most of their lives. Their development has been oriented around positive self-esteem—they are the “we can accomplish anything and overcome any obstacle generation.” Their cultural icons are Harry Potter, the do-gooder wizard who defeats the fantastical evil forces of doom, and more recently, Hunger Game’s Katniss Everdeen, who perseveres through daunting environs overlorded by feckless Baby Boomers. Millennials are ready for big challenges and will rise to the occasion when you focus on their strengths.

But before you focus on their strengths, you have to know what their strengths are! One of the quickest and most accurate ways to do this is introducing them to the StrengthsFinder assessment. This online assessment tool costs less than $10 and your employees can complete the entire assessment in less than 30-minutes. The results are instantaneous and you can start coaching around strengths immediately.

Full disclosure: StrengthsFinder was developed by Gallup and while I was a manager there, I used it successfully for almost 10 years, as did hundreds of Gallup clients.

Once you’ve established your Millennial’s “top five” strengths, spend a half-hour reviewing with them to make sure you are both on the same page. From here, you can build a development strategy for their success around their strengths. This is the kind of mentoring that your Millennials want and need.

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

Coaching Millennials

New Year's Resolution for Coaching Millennials

Coaching MillennialsCoaching to Millennials’ Strengths, Not Weaknesses

I’ve always believed that you can get more out of an employee by focusing on their strengths, not harping on their weaknesses. This is particularly true for Millennials. Born between 1982 – 2004, Millennials have been treated ‘special’ by their parents, teachers and coaches for most of their lives. Their development has been oriented around positive self-esteem—they are the “we can accomplish anything and overcome any obstacle generation.” Their cultural icons are Harry Potter, the do-gooder wizard who defeats the fantastical evil forces of doom, and more recently, Hunger Game’s Katniss Everdeen, who perseveres through daunting environs overlorded by feckless Baby Boomers. Millennials are ready for big challenges and will rise to the occasion when you focus on their strengths.

But before you focus on their strengths, you have to know what their strengths are! One of the quickest and most accurate ways to do this is introducing them to the StrengthsFinder assessment. This online assessment tool costs less than $10 and your employees can complete the entire assessment in less than 30-minutes. The results are instantaneous and you can start coaching around strengths immediately.

Full disclosure: StrengthsFinder was developed by Gallup and while I was a manager there, I used it successfully for almost 10 years, as did hundreds of Gallup clients.

Once you’ve established your Millennial’s “top five” strengths, spend a half-hour reviewing with them to make sure you are both on the same page. From here, you can build a development strategy for their success around their strengths. This is the kind of mentoring that your Millennials want and need.

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

5 Terrible Ways to Manage Millennials

When it comes to Millennials, managers need to exercise caution to avoid irreversible errors

When it comes to Millennials, managers need to exercise caution to avoid irreversible errors.

With all the attention on the right way to manage Millennials, I thought I would share some ‘worst practices’ that I have seen in recent months as a way to help managers avoid irreversible errors in managing and coaching Millennials.

Turnover remains high with Millennials, but research still suggests that Millennials would rather work for “one perfect employer” than hop from job to job. So, here it goes… 5 terrible ways to manage Millennials:

1. Practice Tough Love

Most middle managers and even senior managers fall into the Generation X (ages 32 – 51) category. Xers came of age at a time of economic malaise and cultural tension. For them growing up, the world was a dangerous place. Generation X was the latch-key generation. Unwanted pregnancies reached a peak in the US in the 80’s and early 90’s, risk behavior such as drinking and driving and drug use increased. While Boomers practiced ‘free love’, Xers worried about AIDS.

Because of their tough gritty experiences, Xers entered the workforce, fairly successfully on their own with no help from anyone. They were the survivalists and entrepreneurs that embraced risk with a fiercely independent spirit. I see many Xer managers treat Millennials with the kind of ‘tough love’ mentality that they experienced when they entered the workforce.

News flash: Millennials don’t ‘get’ tough love. Their experience was entirely different growing up. They were raised ‘carefully’ by their helicopter parents who surrounded them with teams of teachers, counselors, physicians, and tutors that worked on every aspect of their development. Their expectation for the workplace is the same. You can’t give a Millennial too much attention.

2. Give them the Big Picture on an Assignment

For as empowered and confident as Millennials are, they need descriptions of assignments in detailed clarity. It is not enough to say, “read through this 1,000-page document and create a 3-page summary”. You would need to identify for them exactly how the summary should be developed, what font and format you want, when you want it by, and what resources are available to help them complete the assignment. Millennials prefer step-by-step explanations in as much detail as possible.

3. Take Their Toys Away

A few years ago, I was doing a research project for a U.S. government agency. We were trying to identify the drivers of satisfaction among Millennials. While the top results all had to do with feedback, two elements emerged that were unexpected: they wanted larger monitors or even two monitors on their desks, and they wanted to be plugged into to their social network throughout the workday. Now, I realize there are some jobs where this would not be possible, but consider the two things that have always been a priority for Millennials– cutting edge technology, and ability to connect to their social network. One hotel manager told me, “I tried to stop them from getting on Facebook, but it was impossible.  Instead, I have designated times for Facebook breaks throughout the day, and this really has helped, not hurt productivity and moral.”

4. Don’t Offer/Explain Benefits

One of the most remarkable and unexpected characteristics of Millennials is their interest in benefits like 401k, retirement, health benefits, wellness and flex programs, etc. It was always assumed that young people don’t care about these things– after all, retirement is a long way off, and young people are generally healthy, but according to a study by MetLife, this does not appear to be the case. In fact, Millennials actually value benefits more than older generations! This is a reversal in thinking, as it was always assumed that phase of life would influence attitudes toward benefits. There is also emerging evidence that Millennials are investing a higher percentage of their income into 401k’s compared to older generations. So, don’t assume that Millennials don’t care about these issues, and make sure you provide plenty of opportunities to explain these benefits in great detail.

5. Try to be ‘Cool’, like Them

This is an awful strategy. Millennials expect older generations to act their age. Millennials already have a very positive and informal relationship with authority figures. Studies have shown that Millennials have a far better relationship with their parents compared to Boomers and Xers when they were young. And Millennials also share many of the same cultural interests as their parents– they watch movies together, listen to the same music, and communicate far more frequently than previous generations. But Millennials value interactions with their own generation. Don’t insert yourself into their friend network and start posting stuff on Facebook and Twitter. If you do, you will not be cool, you will be weird.

What are some of the ‘worst practices’ you’ve heard about in Managing Millennials? Better yet, what works best for you in managing Millennials?

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

Millennial Job Interview Tips: Use The 3 “C” ‘s

Interview tips for millennials

When it comes to interviewing be clear, be competent, and be confident.

I typically work with businesses that need assistance in understanding and coaching their Millennial employees. But last week, I had the chance to coach my own Millennial, my son…

Last week he called me on the phone to ask me for advice on a job interview. “Dad”, he said, “I have a job interview on the phone in 90-minutes. They want me to do  a 5-minute sales pitch. Can you help?” Thinking out loud I said “Um, well, probably not– 90-minutes might not be enough time.” There was a pause, and then, thinking of all the cramming session in school over the years that we’d done together that worked out, I said in a measured, Dad-like manner, “Yea, sure, I can help. Let’s do this.”

This was a logistics company that had grown from $1M in 1997 to over $1.3B in 2012. One look at the website and it’s clear that the company has a sale driven culture that takes great pride in the quality of their salespeople and ability to deliver quality to their customers. I never had heard of them before, but this looked like an impressive company!

Nick, had already done much of the preliminary work, scouring their website and Google for relevant information on the company. He had all the raw features and benefits nailed down. He has always been naturally persuasive, charming and sociable. I was not worried about his ability to “connect”, but wanted to make sure there was a framework, or structure to his sales pitch.

Here is what I told him, and perhaps it can be helpful when your Millennial is interviewing for a sales job, or any job, for that matter. Follow these basic principles to coach your Millennial job seeker. They are the three “C”‘s of a job interview:

Be Clear

In a job interview, you must be clear about three things: 1) Who you are (your qualifications and interests), 2) How you fit the role (a list of your skills and knowledge matched to the position’s requirements), and 3) What you know (a solid understanding of the company’s mission, strategy,operations, culture, etc.). Have a plan. Practice what you are going to say. Make it clear and logical. Weave a narrative that makes sense. Tell them why you are in front of them, what lead you to be here, and exactly how you can make a difference in their company based on your unique contributions. Practice you pitch.

Be Competent

These days, there is no excuse for not doing your homework on the company you are interviewing with. Aside from studying their website, make sure to spend some extra time spend doing an article search, search for public filings,review financial statements, and check out the company on sites like Glassdoor.com. Set up Google Alerts with the company’s name and key words revolving around their business. And study. Then, study some more, and write down notes. Millennials are the most educated generation in US history, graduating from high school and college at record rates. This is another homework assignment. Prepare for a job interview like you prepare for a term paper. Have a main argument or thesis, make an outline, and fill in supporting evidence.

Be Confident

It’s hard to prepare for this one. Some applicants are more naturally confident than others, and it is not something you can turn on or off at a moment’s notice. That said, when an applicant is not confident in his or her abilities, the interviewer will pick this up immediately, and prospects for getting the job are hugely diminished. Millennials are well-known for their confidence– it is typically not in short supply. But be genuine and authentic and demonstrate how your confidence can help their company grow. Of course, if this is a sales pitch… make sure you ask for the order! Ask, “what are the next steps?”, and “I’d like to know, how did I do, and would you consider hiring me for the job?” When you ask these questions, it shows that you have initiative and you can ask for the sale, but without being too pushy.

I talked to Nick about an hour after the interview and he told me it went great. They would like him to take the next step for another interview. I was thrilled to hear that.

You’ve been coaching your Millennial throughout their entire life. Don’t stop now.  Just a few simple tips can help him on his way to a better job and the start of a better career.

Millennial Job Interview Tips: Use The 3 "C" 's

Interview tips for millennials

When it comes to interviewing be clear, be competent, and be confident.

I typically work with businesses that need assistance in understanding and coaching their Millennial employees. But last week, I had the chance to coach my own Millennial, my son…

Last week he called me on the phone to ask me for advice on a job interview. “Dad”, he said, “I have a job interview on the phone in 90-minutes. They want me to do  a 5-minute sales pitch. Can you help?” Thinking out loud I said “Um, well, probably not– 90-minutes might not be enough time.” There was a pause, and then, thinking of all the cramming session in school over the years that we’d done together that worked out, I said in a measured, Dad-like manner, “Yea, sure, I can help. Let’s do this.”

This was a logistics company that had grown from $1M in 1997 to over $1.3B in 2012. One look at the website and it’s clear that the company has a sale driven culture that takes great pride in the quality of their salespeople and ability to deliver quality to their customers. I never had heard of them before, but this looked like an impressive company!

Nick, had already done much of the preliminary work, scouring their website and Google for relevant information on the company. He had all the raw features and benefits nailed down. He has always been naturally persuasive, charming and sociable. I was not worried about his ability to “connect”, but wanted to make sure there was a framework, or structure to his sales pitch.

Here is what I told him, and perhaps it can be helpful when your Millennial is interviewing for a sales job, or any job, for that matter. Follow these basic principles to coach your Millennial job seeker. They are the three “C”‘s of a job interview:

Be Clear

In a job interview, you must be clear about three things: 1) Who you are (your qualifications and interests), 2) How you fit the role (a list of your skills and knowledge matched to the position’s requirements), and 3) What you know (a solid understanding of the company’s mission, strategy,operations, culture, etc.). Have a plan. Practice what you are going to say. Make it clear and logical. Weave a narrative that makes sense. Tell them why you are in front of them, what lead you to be here, and exactly how you can make a difference in their company based on your unique contributions. Practice you pitch.

Be Competent

These days, there is no excuse for not doing your homework on the company you are interviewing with. Aside from studying their website, make sure to spend some extra time spend doing an article search, search for public filings,review financial statements, and check out the company on sites like Glassdoor.com. Set up Google Alerts with the company’s name and key words revolving around their business. And study. Then, study some more, and write down notes. Millennials are the most educated generation in US history, graduating from high school and college at record rates. This is another homework assignment. Prepare for a job interview like you prepare for a term paper. Have a main argument or thesis, make an outline, and fill in supporting evidence.

Be Confident

It’s hard to prepare for this one. Some applicants are more naturally confident than others, and it is not something you can turn on or off at a moment’s notice. That said, when an applicant is not confident in his or her abilities, the interviewer will pick this up immediately, and prospects for getting the job are hugely diminished. Millennials are well-known for their confidence– it is typically not in short supply. But be genuine and authentic and demonstrate how your confidence can help their company grow. Of course, if this is a sales pitch… make sure you ask for the order! Ask, “what are the next steps?”, and “I’d like to know, how did I do, and would you consider hiring me for the job?” When you ask these questions, it shows that you have initiative and you can ask for the sale, but without being too pushy.

I talked to Nick about an hour after the interview and he told me it went great. They would like him to take the next step for another interview. I was thrilled to hear that.

You’ve been coaching your Millennial throughout their entire life. Don’t stop now.  Just a few simple tips can help him on his way to a better job and the start of a better career.

Quantified Self: A Movement Built by GenXers, Adored by Millennials

Quantified Self

The Quantified Self movement is an example of utilizing technology to track everything from daily mood to heart rate.

Quantified What?

FitBit, Daytum, Mood Panda—you’ll be hearing a lot more about these self-monitoring devices that track your daily experiences in life, measuring everything from heart rate to number of steps taken to sleep patterns. This new biofeedback technology is part of the quantified self movement (also called self-tracking or body hacking) which uses technology to gather data on all aspects of a person’s daily life.

How Big Will It Be?

Apple is so convinced of the demand for these devices, they’ve developed  and entire suite of Apps. Their new App, Digifit,  is strapped onto your body to record your heart rate, pace, speed and cadence of your running, cycling and other athletic activity. PricewaterhouseCoopers has predicted that the worldwide market for mobile health care devices and communications will jump from $4.5 billion in 2013 to $23 billion in 2017.

How Generations Play a Role

What is the generational angle on this? Typical of emerging consumer movements , there are often two generations at play: one that sets the conditions, and one that adopts and consumes. Both Generation X and Millennials play a role here.

Generation X (born between 1961-1981) was the first generation to embrace measurement as it relates to performance. Choice, behavior incentive, and market incentives defines this generation contribution to the business world. While the Boomers were off accomplishing their ‘mission’ (perhaps some ill-defined utopian state) GenXers were quietly measuring impact of activity on performance. GenX Google founders Sergy Brin and Larry Page turned the advertising world upside down by introducing a pay-for-performance model of advertising. Now GenX has found a way to bring measurement and performance to personal human behavior. Most leaders in the Quantified Self movement, first defined by Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly in a 2007 Wired Magazine article, are born in the 1970’s, while the consumers and enthusiasts are born in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Millennials say… Monitor Me, Please

While early wave GenXers and Boomers may be wary of this self-monitoring due to privacy concerns and technology adoption reluctance, Millennials can’t wait to get their hands on this stuff.

Clearly technology adoption plays a role in Millennials’ acceptance of this movement, but it is the culture of Millennials that assure body-hacking is here to stay. As I pointed out in previous blogs, Millennials are much more comfortable sharing their personal information over web, so sharing even intimate details on sleep patterns is not a concern. Furthermore, as Neil Howe points out, Millennials are an achieving generation. They’ve grown up in an environment where test scores matter and there are measured goals (achieving GPA and SAT scores to get into college, etc. ). At the heart of self-monitoring devices is the ability to measure so you can improve. Millennials will accept this challenge with gusto.

Finally, Millennials have grown up in a heavily monitored environment, so there is something comforting about the idea of monitoring their well being. This was the first generation whose parents had the monitor listening devices in their room, so they could hear every peep from the crib. Remember—Millennials trust technology. Technology is their friend.  I can easily see a 24-year old posting her heart rate results on Facebook to the adoring comments from friends and parents “Way to go!” and “Good job!” This positive feedback– the essential motivator for Millennials– encourages better results, of course. And with their close relationship with parents, it is easy to see how texting their results to their parents will be the norm.

So, how can companies take advantage of this new self-monitoring movement, and what implications can this have to your healthcare? Stay tuned for my next blog post for some ideas…

-Warren Wright
@MillennialCoach

http://www.CoachingMillennials.com

New Poll: Millennials' Tirade on Transparency

Millennial Document Leaks

Recent “data leakers” are all Millennials.

In last week’s blog post Millennials: Full Disclosure or Bust I reasoned that it was no coincidence that three high profile “data leakers” (Snowden, Manning, Swartz) were all Millennials. Now along comes Pew Research with a new poll working in conjunction with USA Today that clarifies once and for all the dramatic attitudinal differences between Millennials and older generations on the contentious topic of technology transparency.

“60% of Millennials think that Edward Snowden’s release of NSA classified data serves the public interest”

According to Pew, 60% of Millennials think that Edward Snowden’s release of NSA classified data serves the public interest, while less than a majority (46%) of older generations believe this. Among those over 65, only 36% are in agreement. Equally as interesting, Obama’s approval ratings have been nose-diving (64% approval in April vs. 54% in June) for the younger generation over the past couple of weeks, in part, I believe, because of this transparency issue. The IRS scandal and now the NSA leaks have been a wake-up call for Millennials that our leaders (especially those over 50) — whether Republicans or Democrats– are all the same when it comes to sequestering information intended for the public.

What’s a leader to do?

It is important to realize that when it comes to Millennials, their formative years with technology are something us older folks have never experienced. And this experience has shaped their attitudes– probably permanently. In other words, this is an attitude that they will not “grow out of.” This is not a “young person thing.” This is not something they will learn their way out of. This is for keeps.

For them, technology has always been free and always been transparent. Millennials don’t like double standards. They grew up with Barney, the community-minded purple dinosaur that put sharing and fairness at the top of his to-do list. If they are going to share all of their secrets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), they expect everybody to share their secrets as well. Quid pro quo.

For Millennials, they do not have a problem with the government watching them, they just want the government to be honest about it, or at least have a sensible policy in place with checks and balances. It is not about privacy, it is about transparency. There is no expectation of privacy, but there is an expectation of transparency.

If you are in HR, I would recommend arranging some professionally-facilitated focus groups around this topic with your Millennial population. Find out what’s on their minds. It is better to hit off a potential problem before you get whacked like the U.S government did. And don’t expect the whacking to stop anytime soon. This is the tip of the iceberg.

My parting words of action: Don’t get whacked. Get smart about Millennials now.

Warren Wright

http://www.coachingmillennials.com

New Poll: Millennials’ Tirade on Transparency

Millennial Document Leaks

Recent “data leakers” are all Millennials.

In last week’s blog post Millennials: Full Disclosure or Bust I reasoned that it was no coincidence that three high profile “data leakers” (Snowden, Manning, Swartz) were all Millennials. Now along comes Pew Research with a new poll working in conjunction with USA Today that clarifies once and for all the dramatic attitudinal differences between Millennials and older generations on the contentious topic of technology transparency.

“60% of Millennials think that Edward Snowden’s release of NSA classified data serves the public interest”

According to Pew, 60% of Millennials think that Edward Snowden’s release of NSA classified data serves the public interest, while less than a majority (46%) of older generations believe this. Among those over 65, only 36% are in agreement. Equally as interesting, Obama’s approval ratings have been nose-diving (64% approval in April vs. 54% in June) for the younger generation over the past couple of weeks, in part, I believe, because of this transparency issue. The IRS scandal and now the NSA leaks have been a wake-up call for Millennials that our leaders (especially those over 50) — whether Republicans or Democrats– are all the same when it comes to sequestering information intended for the public.

What’s a leader to do?

It is important to realize that when it comes to Millennials, their formative years with technology are something us older folks have never experienced. And this experience has shaped their attitudes– probably permanently. In other words, this is an attitude that they will not “grow out of.” This is not a “young person thing.” This is not something they will learn their way out of. This is for keeps.

For them, technology has always been free and always been transparent. Millennials don’t like double standards. They grew up with Barney, the community-minded purple dinosaur that put sharing and fairness at the top of his to-do list. If they are going to share all of their secrets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), they expect everybody to share their secrets as well. Quid pro quo.

For Millennials, they do not have a problem with the government watching them, they just want the government to be honest about it, or at least have a sensible policy in place with checks and balances. It is not about privacy, it is about transparency. There is no expectation of privacy, but there is an expectation of transparency.

If you are in HR, I would recommend arranging some professionally-facilitated focus groups around this topic with your Millennial population. Find out what’s on their minds. It is better to hit off a potential problem before you get whacked like the U.S government did. And don’t expect the whacking to stop anytime soon. This is the tip of the iceberg.

My parting words of action: Don’t get whacked. Get smart about Millennials now.

Warren Wright

http://www.coachingmillennials.com

Millennials: Full Disclosure or Bust

edward_snowden_millennial

Edward Snowden, seen here in an interview with The Guardian newspaper, told the newspaper he was the source of a series of leaked documents from the National Security Agency. (The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras)

The headlines are awash with emerging details on a 29-year old whistleblower named Edward Snowden, who disclosed classified secrets in order to expose the “surveillance state” of the U.S. government. In his role as an analyst for the National Security Agency (NSA), Snowden had access to classified material on a government program named PRISM that gave the government nearly unlimited access to every U.S. citizens’ emails and web-browsing activity.

Snowden, a Millennial, was well aware of the risks he was taking in exposing this top-secret NSA program. It is no coincidence that he and the soldier arrested for passing on classified material to Wikileaks’ Bradley Manning (25-years old), are both Millennials. Earlier this year, Aaron Swartz, age 26, committed suicide after felony charges relating to hacking into MIT’s computer system in order to download some academic journals.

Is it just a coincidence they are all Millennials? Not a chance. What do their actions tell us about Millennials in the workplace, and what do employers need to know about managing this new generation?

Here are 3 things employers should know about Millennials in the workplace:

1.    Technology is a Millennial’s best friend, and best friends don’t cross you

Navigating the web, finding new apps, downloading new software programs—

Millennials have a kinship with technology that we have not seen in any previous generation. According to a recent survey by Generations consultancy, LifeCourse Associates, 93% of Millennials use social media for personal reasons, compared to 80% of GenXers and 61% of Boomers. As long as technology is Millennials’ best friend, there is an expectation that this friend, or those responsible for the technology, will not double-cross you.

When Sergy Brin and Larry Page started Google (both GenXers), they came up with a company slogan that they still use today: “Don’t Be Evil.” Little did they know, they created an expectation for an entire generation. Millennials trust technology, in part because technology has been an enabling partner with them from an early age—a source of entertainment, a way to stay close with friends and share things with them, even a way to help them with their school work. Their parents, whom they also trust, gave them their first smart phone in order to stay in touch. Technology is not just a lifeline for Millennials, it is their life.

Millennials don’t mind that you may be watching them, but they do mind if you are doing it secretly. Companies should be clear about their privacy laws, and they should be upfront that, yes, they do have the ability to access employees’ emails, but they are, in fact not evil, they only do it for good reasons.

2.    Millennials’ Tolerance for Self-Disclosure is very low

When Baby Boomers were young, their biggest fear was oversight from big brother. George Orwell’s 1984 (written in 1949) was the guidebook for civic distrust of large institutions. Protecting privacy, particularly from the subversive forces of a centrally-controlled government or institution resonated with an entire generation. These days, Millennials gladly put cameras in their own room, and post the most intimate details of their daily activities for all to see. Yes, they will share almost anything, but they have an expectation that everyone else is sharing as well. The Millennial quid pro quo is… “I’ll be transparent, but I expect that you will be transparent too”. Yes, even in the case of the U.S. government, large institutions, or their employer. Our recent Millennial Minute on Salary Sharing speaks to new topic of interest or managers and HR directors: Millennials routinely sharing their information on salaries.

So when there is a perception that an institution is being nothing short of 100% transparent, Millennials will often push back. Lesson? Be transparent. Of course this does not go for the U.S intelligence community, but most employers will do good to go out of their way to be as transparent as possible about the decisions they make. Re-evaluate what you disclose to employees, and consider loosening the reins on information that does not entirely compromise your company’s mission. And if there is information that you cannot share, be explicit about why. For Millennials, honesty will trump secrecy all day long.

3.    Save the world now, fat paycheck later…maybe

Millennials have very different priorities than their GenX counterparts. When GenXers were graduating from college in the 1980’s and 1990’s, a common route to a career was an MBA or law degree, then onto the highest paying job possible. Millennials are different. Far more college graduates today (and there are more of them) are going into professions in the non-profit world, and those that accept employment at for-profit companies prefer that the company practices long-term sustainable practices that are good for society.  A 2011 Deloitte survey found Millennials who participated frequently in company-sponsored volunteer work are far more likely than their non-volunteering peers to rate their corporate culture as positive, to be proud to work for their company, to feel loyal, to recommend their company to a friend, and to be very satisfied with their employer and with the progression of their career.  Millennials are dedicated to corporate social responsibility, and not recognizing this dynamic can lead to Millennial disengagement and may even prompt them to challenge their employer on issues where they disagree.

What’s an employer to do? Employers need a way to scratch that itch that Millennials have. Make sure your social responsibility programs are not just ad-hoc after thoughts, but are integrated into the company’s core strategy and purpose. And allow Millennials to do social responsibility work on company time. This is worth the investment, as they will be much more likely to work longer hours on the project that you need them to do. Not only can you attract and retain  the most talented Millennials, but you will build a bond of trust that will pay big dividends in the future.

BOTTOM LINE: Get to know your Millennials, understand where they are coming from and why they think the way they do. Be sensitive to their hot spots, and start to work toward a more transparent, authentic operating style that clearly explains what your company believes and why they believe it.

– Warren Wright

http://www.coachingmillennials.com

It's the Long Weekend: Set Your Millennials Free!

You will thank me for this advice. It’s Friday of Memorial Day weekend, the official start of the summer.  All those projects that are piling up? They will just have to wait.

Just because you, as a Boomer, or an early wave Xer like me, grew up in a “Work Is Life” culture, does not mean Millennials feel the same way about work.

All Work, No Play?

In the 1980’s, Boomers changed the definition of work. Work used to be punching time cards from 9 to 5 in factory-like precision. Remember when the work whistle went off for Fred Flintstone—Yaba Daba Do! But in the Boomer world of work, it was in early, out late. Once they were through their rebellious adolescence, Boomer adult took work seriously, some would say too seriously. They shattered the 9 to 5 paradigm and put meaning to the term ‘workaholic’.

BOOMERS on work: Work-Centric

The Ends Trump the Means

In the 1990’s Generation X redefined the work environment once again with a pay for performance mentality. For a GenXer, it didn’t matter how long you worked, it mattered that the job got done. These techno-literates used their creativity and adaptability to find new way to solve problems. And still find time for work/life balance. GenX Google founders Larry Page and Sergi Brim personified this ethic and built their $50 billion tech juggernaut.

GEN-X’s on work: Work/Life balance

Ummm… I just want a Life

Now here come the Millennials and once again, they will be redefining the work environment (but probably not until over 50% of them are over 30 in the 2020’s, replacing GenXers in management positions). In the meantime, what are their priorities on work and what is best way to motivate them?

First, recognize that family and friends always come first for Millennials. Their parents are BFF and their friends are their lifeline to… life—companionship, entertainment, activities, romance, etc. This does not mean that work is unimportant, but it does mean you have to understand their priorities.

Second, meaningful work is a meaningful life. Millennials want to do work that has an impact on the world around them. Can you connect the dots between their work and how it improves the lives of others? Barney & Barney, a successful insurance broker in California, has a thriving Foundation that contributes to the communities they serve. This really attracts the Millennials and they will put in the extra hours if they know it has meaning.

Lastly, and this is my GenX voice talking, define the goals you want them to achieve, and don’t meddle in the means to get there. Be clear about the goals, check in frequently on their progress (be positive and constructive) and give them the tools they need, but don’t make them stick around on a Friday if they can manage to finish the work on Thursday.

Millennials on work: Work-life Integration

Don’t stress out you Boomers… there’s always Monday… or in this case, Tuesday.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZclddLcOYYA]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZclddLcOYYA

It’s the Long Weekend: Set Your Millennials Free!

You will thank me for this advice. It’s Friday of Memorial Day weekend, the official start of the summer.  All those projects that are piling up? They will just have to wait.

Just because you, as a Boomer, or an early wave Xer like me, grew up in a “Work Is Life” culture, does not mean Millennials feel the same way about work.

All Work, No Play?

In the 1980’s, Boomers changed the definition of work. Work used to be punching time cards from 9 to 5 in factory-like precision. Remember when the work whistle went off for Fred Flintstone—Yaba Daba Do! But in the Boomer world of work, it was in early, out late. Once they were through their rebellious adolescence, Boomer adult took work seriously, some would say too seriously. They shattered the 9 to 5 paradigm and put meaning to the term ‘workaholic’.

BOOMERS on work: Work-Centric

The Ends Trump the Means

In the 1990’s Generation X redefined the work environment once again with a pay for performance mentality. For a GenXer, it didn’t matter how long you worked, it mattered that the job got done. These techno-literates used their creativity and adaptability to find new way to solve problems. And still find time for work/life balance. GenX Google founders Larry Page and Sergi Brim personified this ethic and built their $50 billion tech juggernaut.

GEN-X’s on work: Work/Life balance

Ummm… I just want a Life

Now here come the Millennials and once again, they will be redefining the work environment (but probably not until over 50% of them are over 30 in the 2020’s, replacing GenXers in management positions). In the meantime, what are their priorities on work and what is best way to motivate them?

First, recognize that family and friends always come first for Millennials. Their parents are BFF and their friends are their lifeline to… life—companionship, entertainment, activities, romance, etc. This does not mean that work is unimportant, but it does mean you have to understand their priorities.

Second, meaningful work is a meaningful life. Millennials want to do work that has an impact on the world around them. Can you connect the dots between their work and how it improves the lives of others? Barney & Barney, a successful insurance broker in California, has a thriving Foundation that contributes to the communities they serve. This really attracts the Millennials and they will put in the extra hours if they know it has meaning.

Lastly, and this is my GenX voice talking, define the goals you want them to achieve, and don’t meddle in the means to get there. Be clear about the goals, check in frequently on their progress (be positive and constructive) and give them the tools they need, but don’t make them stick around on a Friday if they can manage to finish the work on Thursday.

Millennials on work: Work-life Integration

Don’t stress out you Boomers… there’s always Monday… or in this case, Tuesday.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZclddLcOYYA]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZclddLcOYYA