Posts

trust, communication and flexibility for Millennial employees

How to Attract Millennial Employees: No Ping Pong Table Required

It seems like the dream of most Millennials — an open, modern office with windows, lounges, ping-pong tables, a smoothie bar and nap rooms.

Thanks to images of excess from some of Silicon Valley’s tech start-ups, a lot of executives come to me worried about their office environment. Will their lack of budget (or space) for a ping pong table put them at a disadvantage when it comes to hiring the best and brightest Millennials?

I tell hiring managers that while “perks” like those offered by giants like Google and well-funded start-ups like may attract Millennials, those cool office features don’t keep Millennials fulfilled in the long run.

Hiring is a serious expense and commitment, and if you want the best Millennials to stay with your company for more than a year, there are other things you can — and should — do.

1. Trust is one of the keys to helping Millennials feel professionally valued in the workplace. Allowing Millennials to manage their own schedules, and providing work-life balance assistance through telework or flexible hours shows Millennials that they are trusted. Although new Milennial employees may need guidance and limits on telework and flex scheduling to ensure the team is supported, Millennials like working for companies that don’t chain them to desks when they can work just as productively elsewhere.

2. Communication is critical — especially with telework and flexible scheduling. Millennials appreciate feeling like they are part of a team and understanding their role in a project or event. They crave engagement and comraderie, and they want to feel that their work and role is contributing to a greater good. Open, honest and frequent communication are key to making Millennials feel engaged at work.

3. Provide professional challenges. Despite the perpetual myth that “Millennials are lazy,” they actually thrive in workplaces that offer them challenging-but- achievable goals and projects. Setting incremental deadlines and targets, and communicating how their project and role fit into the company’s mission, will help Millennials see their path forward.

4. Offer mentorships. Millennials (and all new employees) benefit from and appreciate the value that mentorships provide. Millennials particularly have long-term thoughts but short-term patience spans when it comes to career goals and growth, and mentorships can help them understand how they can get from point A to point B by staying with your company. Mentorships can also help them see what skills they need to develop to get promoted, and companies that simultaneously offer these opportunities for professional growth and development are rewarded with employee loyalty.

Overall, Millennials aren’t looking for the coolest open-concept office or best smoothies at work. They do want an open communication culture and the best opportunities for professional growth. Flexibility with work-life balance will help, too. The companies that are able to show those perks are the ones that will attract the best Millennial employees, and keep them around for the long haul.

insurance recruiting millennials

How to Maximize Millennials in Insurance

The insurance industry is boring. At least, that’s the way Millennials see it.

Research by the Insurance Institute last year revealed that “boring” was the #1 word Millennials associated with insurance. Those with experience in the industry know that is just not true, but how does the insurance industry break this misperception?  And how can agents and brokers change it?

In many ways, Millennials want from their jobs the same things as previous generations — competitive salary, good benefits and meaningful work. However, Millennials have different priorities and expectations of their workplace and require different best practices to be happy and fulfilled in their career.

Insurance agents and brokers should consider re-thinking their activities to meet these priorities and expectations. These three areas are the building blocks, will be able to attract and retain the best and brightest Millennials.

First Impressions: Digital and High Touch

The first area is getting Millennials’ attention. Doing so will take a coordinated combination of a strong digital presence and a personalized approach to recruiting. This includes a website that is clean, uncluttered, shows the insurance company’s connection to the demands of digital media and showcases the company’s mission and value proposition. As digital natives, Millennials’ first impression of a company often comes digitally. This may mean going beyond a company’s website and focusing on career-focused online presences such as Glassdoor, certain social media platforms and more, in addition to being responsive and approachable both online and off.

Workplace Environment: Teamwork and Positivity

According to the Deloitte Insurance Outlook 2017, technological innovation will be key to meeting challenges in the coming years. Fortunately, digital tools can help with the second area ­of focus — creating and promoting a company climate that is positive and team-oriented. Millennials prefer teamwork over competition and gravitate toward conscientious employers who try to make a positive difference. In addition to showcasing this company culture online as a recruitment tool, Millennials will be more loyal to companies that foster their career development, help them achieve their professional goals and publically value their contributions.

Managing Millennials: Mentoring and Coaching

Once your insurance organization has recruited and hired these top-tier Millennials, managing them on a day-to-day basis with close but nurturing supervision, mentoring and coaching. Millennials desire more hands-on interaction with and more frequent feedback from their supervisors than older generations. Good relationships are key to keeping Millennials engaged, and they are attracted to open and honest leadership that encourages input and collaboration.

To learn more about attracting, recruiting and retaining the best Millennials to your insurance company, get on the list (by providing your email address in our Newsletter sign-up box) to receive a notification when the report, Maximizing Millennials for Insurance Agents and Brokers, is released later this year from the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB). The report will include examples from insurance companies large and small that have found success in this area and specific action items your agency or brokerage can take to engage Millennial employees.

 

job interview files

Hiring Millennials: 5 Questions to Ask a Millennial Job Candidate, and the Answers that May Surprise You

Millennials place different priorities on what they are looking for in a job. And its not always the priorities you would think.

They place a high value on professional development opportunities; they want to work for companies with values aligned with their own; they like to be trusted that the work will still get done, despite the flexible scheduling opportunities; and, they appreciate transparency, authenticity, and open-door policies in regards to communications and frequent feedback.

With these Millennial expectations and professional desires, it’s imperative that hiring managers ask the right questions to ensure the best fit for both the new Millennial employee and the company, and listen carefully for the answer they might not expect.

The following are some questions hiring managers should consider asking Millennials who are applying for jobs, and the answers they’re likely to get.

Questions to Ask a Potential Millennial Employee

  1. What are your biggest motivators?

Millennials are motivated by more than salary.

While making enough to live comfortably, pay off student loans and save for a home and retirement is important, Millennials are also motivated by the opportunity to grow professionally. They seek out employers who offer well-defined challenges and guidance on meeting their goals. They appreciate mentorship programs and developing meaningful professional relationships. Plus, they are attracted to employers who make they feel like they’re part of something bigger and help them understand how they’re contributing to the greater good in the world.

  1. Describe your ideal work environment.

Millennials may surprise you here. While the stereotype leans toward no dress code, ping-pong tables, free smoothies and lattes and the like, Millennials don’t need those things to be happy. For many Millennials, an ideal work environment goes back to the value they place on teamwork, open-door policies, and transparency and honesty from higher-ups.

  1. What do you value in a job?

The best Millennial employees will tell you they want the things they value — again, teamwork, achievable and well-defined goals, structure and frequent feedback. All of those things loop back to professional development, which Millennials say is a key component in whether they stay with a company or leave.

  1. How do you like to receive feedback?

The stereotype about Millennials is that they are digital addicts who shun in-person communication. But it’s not true. Studies have repeatedly shown that Millennials appreciate in-person communication and want up-front honesty from their colleagues and bosses. A Fortune/IBM study revealed that Millennials prefer face-to-face interaction and in-person coaching and mentoring when they are learning a new skill.

A common answer from a Millennial to this question might be “Frequently.” Companies that rate highly at attracting and keeping top Millennial talent are doing away with the traditional annual review and building feedback cycles into the workflow. (An MTV Millennials in the Workplace survey showed 80 percent of respondents said they liked to receive “real-time feedback” more than getting “more traditional” (often annual or semi-annual) performance reviews. From frequent testing in school to extracurricular activities, Millennials have grown accustomed to knowing how they’re doing at any given point and don’t like the uncertain feeling that comes from waiting for feedback.

  1. What types of things do you want in a boss?

This is a key question. Millennials were raised by a community of parents, coaches, teachers and neighbors — who believed in them, cheered them on, gave them participation trophies and sometimes acted more like friends than authority figures. Millennials may expect a similar relationship with their bosses — friendly, approachable and caring. Millennials want their bosses to look out for their best interest they way their parents did.

Understanding what Millennials want from their professional relationship with their boss — and knowing how likely the boss is to meet that expectation — can go a long way toward ensuring a mutually good fit in the workplace.

 

 

Millennials Leading the Way to a Gig Economy

More than one-third of Millennials don’t have a “traditional,” full-time, 9-to-5 job with benefits. Instead, this generation is leading the rise of the “gig economy”. In this new post-recession environment, Millennials are trying to make ends meet and build a career through a variety of freelance and part-time contract jobs.

The term “gig economy” was first coined in reference to the days of 1920s jazz music, where musicians hopped from gig to gig, backing up singers and bands whenever they could to afford to keep playing music and stay on the road traveling. Today, it’s not just musicians performing gigs.

Why Gig?

Three main factors have pushed Millennials toward the gig economy: The economic/political climate, technology, and lifestyle preferences.

On the economic side, it’s all about the continued lack of job growth for Millennials. In the fourth quarter of 2015, Baby Boomers and older Gen-Xers were the ones that added the most jobs (around 378,000), while Millennials and younger Gen-Xers’ jobs shrunk by at least 35,000. Millennials were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. To add insult to injury, many Baby Boomers are delaying retirement, which contributes to fewer jobs available for Millennials.

The Great Recession in the early 2000s occurred just as many Millennials were attempting to enter the workforce, which meant dismal job prospects and the delayed launch of Millennials’ careers. “The result has been a sizable population with no choice but to turn to whatever ‘gig’ comes their way in order to make ends meet,” according to a 2015 Fischer Phillips/Pew Research Center report.

A tiny bright-spot for Millennials was the passage of the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010. This allowed Millennials to stay on their parents’ health plans till age 26. Sure, this is nice, but most Millennials would rather have a full time job and their own insurance, thank you very much.

Technology has also played a role in elevating the gig economy. Mobile connections and wifi have untethered workers from their desks, while social media and project management systems like Slack and Asana, online time tracking and remote desktops have made it easier to stay connected from afar. Combined with the growth of relatively new job markets like Upwork and Contently, which cater to freelancers and contract workers, it’s easier than even for Millennials to find remote work and be productive from anywhere. Millennials are quick adopters of new technology and are used to working from non-traditional offices and working on their own schedule.

Finally, for some Millennials, the lifestyle that a gig provides fits a type of lifestyle preference. Millennials famously value flexibility in their schedule and work environment — two things that gig economy jobs can provide. According to Millennials, the perks of being a full-time freelancer or relying on a series of contract jobs include freedom and independence that they believe a more traditional job may not provide, gaining a wide diversity of experience, having more chances to learn new skills on the job.

Why Not Gig

Despite the short-term benefits that a gig-job provides, most Millennials, given a choice, would rather have a full-time job with a salary, benefits, and an employer that invests in their personal and professional development. In fact, Millennials are more likely to prefer one employer that provides these benefits than start over every time with a new employer or gig. But for now, out of necessity, many Millennials are embracing the gig.

 

Busting Myths about Millennials: Job Hopping

The ongoing narrative is that Millennials are serial job-hoppers—ungrateful and unloyal. “Why bother hiring them,” managers say, “if they only stay 6 months?”

But new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests this narrative is just not true. It turns out that Millennials are no more likely to “hop” than previous generations when they were young.

The BLS study shows that the average job tenure for 20-somethings (many current Millennials) is the same today as it was in the 1980s, when the oldest members of Generation X were in their 20s, and that how long a young employee stays in a job is more a factor of youth than of generation.

An older study by BLS also revealed job-hopping is largely due to younger employees’ search for their professional strengths, interests and best career path. “Of course, there is significant job movement among young workers, both in terms of employers and types of work. Still, once they settle into a career path, employees become considerably more stable in terms of their work than is generally thought,” according to the study.

The same is true today. Overall, job-hopping tends to stabilize more after age 28 for the majority of workers—and job-hopping seems to happen less for those with higher levels of education, according to BLS data from 2016.

But consider this: For young professionals, job-hopping may have benefits. Trying different jobs at various companies can help them grow professionally, learn about themselves and attain new skills quickly. Further, studies show they may make more money moving from company to company than staying with one company long term: A job change can yield a 10 percent or more increase in salary, whereas the average annual raise is just 3 – 4.5 percent.

What Managers Can Do to Keep the Best Millennial Employees

Staying with one company for an entire professional career is not a “thing” now like it was for previous generations. It just doesn’t happen.

As a manager, it’s important to recognize that Millennials have no qualms about staying with a company long-term — they would just rather do so for a company that values their growth and development the way their parents did as these Millennials grew up.

To do this, managers should show a genuine interest in their younger employees’ career development and long-term goals.

In addition, cross-generational mentoring programs can keep Millennial’s engaged and provide a unique chance to learn more about career development at your company and envision themselves at that company well into the future.

Millennials are most interested in working for companies that help them see the “greater good” in what they do on a day-to-day basis. Managers who make it clear that the work the company does make a difference in people’s lives and makes the world a better place are more likely to have happy employees and lower turnover. Offering volunteer opportunities and community-oriented professional development is also key to keeping these valuable employees around.

Lastly, be transparent and be authentic. Millennials crave honesty and follow-through from their professional leadership on the health and well-being of the company, and the company’s mission, vision and goals. Fostering a culture of openness can help prevent Millennials from getting nervous and looking for new jobs based on false or incomplete information, as they fear layoffs just like their parents did.

Seven years after the great recession, the economy is still in recovery and morphing to a new economic paradigm called the “gig economy”, where Uber driver jobs might be plentiful, but meaningful work with benefits is scarce. If you are an employer that has meaningful work, can provide a growth and development plan, and an openness to skills that young professionals can bring, you have a good shot at stopping the hopping.

workaholics

5 Ways to Get Millennials to Want to Work for You

Ping pong tables, latte machines, free kale smoothies, a nap room — sounds like a paradise workplace for Millennials, right? Maybe — but maybe not.

It turns out that “perks” like this do not make young professionals feel fulfilled at work for the long term.

The first Millennials were graduating college and entering the workforce just a few years after the dot-com bubble burst. Even after that economic collapse, however, many companies were trying to attract young, tech-savvy employees with Silicon Valley-style perks from free food to activities designed to make work “fun”. But these things aren’t what Millennial employees really want at work.

1. Millennials want to work for organizations that offer ways for them to feel engaged and emotionally connected to their jobs, according to research from Gallup. They want to feel good about the impact their role has on their workplace and on the community.

Managers can do this by talking more about why the company’s mission is meaningful to the community and the world at large, and by communicating how the employee fits into that mission. Volunteer opportunities can also make employees feel more connected and engaged at work. (See “3 Ways Millennials are Changing the Workplace” for more on this.)

2. Millennials want to work for companies that have an open and honest communication culture, including frequent check-ins, constructive feedback, defined responsibilities and goals that are achievable with proper support.

Managers can do this by focusing on being authentic, approachable coaches, being a role model and setting up Millennials with a structured and productive mentoring program.

3. Millennials want to work for companies that offer them professional challenges, opportunities for growth and show an interest in their short- and long-term success.

Managers can do this by talking about long-term goals, career path and development and future opportunities. “They want to get on the perfect career track right away, despite their job-hopping reputation, data show that most would prefer to stay with one company that will help them achieve their professional goals,” according to Neil Howe.

4. Millennials will be attracted to companies that integrate their work and their life. This does not mean they want to work 80 hours per week. They don’t want work to become their life, but they do like working hard and taking on professional challenges.

The way they do this is different than previous generations. For Millennials, being chained to a desk can be frustrating, and many Millennials want the flexibility to work outside the standard 9-to-5 schedule. “When Millennials say they want ‘balance,’ they don’t mean work less. They mean work differently and more flexibly. There’s a big difference,” mentioned Cali Williams Yost in a piece for Fast Company.

Managers can do this by allowing some telecommuting and alternative work schedules, while keeping expectations high and communication frequent.

5. Millennials will want to work for companies that offer stability and job security. The oldest members of the Millennial generation were just starting to look for their first full-time jobs when the Great Recession happened and they witnessed (and experienced) high unemployment rates.

Managers should emphasize the long-term prospects of the company’s success and the sustainability of their business model. Millennials have long-term horizons when thinking about their career goals. They would rather have a meaningful career with a sold, stable company, rather than hop from job to job. In fact, the idea that Millennial employees “job hop” more than previous generations is a myth. To the extent that they do job hop, it’s because they are working to gain skills to advance themselves in their career. You don’t want to be that company where they are gaining skills so they can move on to the next company. Managers should be clear that their company provides opportunities for professional growth and development.

Overall, Millennials are looking for good coaches in the workplace who are honest, say one thing and do that thing (not do another); they want CEOs who admit mistakes and are open about the company’s health; they want to understand their role with a company that is making a positive difference in the community and in the world.

The way to attract and keep the best Millennial employees is not with free food.

 

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.