The SESCO Report – October 2016
Managing Millennials — The Largest Generation in the American Workforce
When I speak across the country on various topics to include managing millennials, I often refer to my own personal life in that my children are 26 and 22 years of age. Thus, I feel I have some basis for understanding millennials. However, as with my children, millennials are tired of getting a bad rep. They are sick of being called lazy, entitled, spoiled or high maintenance. Of course, we all must take ownership as those who played on Tee-ball teams got a trophy, received toys when they didn’t ask for them and most millennials have grown up drenched in a constant stream of praise from us, their parents.
That was years ago. Now millennials are working, starting families — all in the face of an economy that hasn’t grown in more than a decade and those who have gone to college and obtained a four-year degree or even a Master’s are are disenchanted because of the lack of opportunities. Those who are working continue to struggle to move up the corporate ladder while older workers delay retirement and hold tight to the reins of power. Millennials want to be recognized for their contribution to their employers, despite measly starting salaries and zero job security. They yearn to work for managers who treat them fairly and respectfully, to form positive connections with colleagues and feel proud of what they do and its impact on the world.
Although it has taken some time, employers are now listening. Managers have to listen simply because this segment of the workforce is growing fast and will soon overshadow the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers combined. Millennials are the 54 million adult Americans aged between 18 and 35 and now make up one-third of the American workforce, the largest generation at work. These workers grew up in the shadow of September 11 and the great recession, and are well adapted to change, are technologically savvy and are poised to unleash innovation — when given the opportunity.
The wrap on millennials, "They will be the most high maintenance workforce in the history of the world, they are narcissistic, disloyal, can’t interact face to face," but this generation will also be the highest performing and when properly understood, can be turned into extremely valuable employees.
Companies don’t have to change tradition. We all understand that rules, policies, operation practices and procedures — the way we run and operate our successful business has worked. However, the method in which Gen Xers and Baby Boomers have worked is not a reality for the millennials — and frankly rightly so. Many Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are "married" to their job and they believe the more hours that they spend at work, the more successful they’ll be. Sometimes this is true but maybe it’s because these generations haven’t learned to work smart and are not as efficient in utilizing the tools and systems available in the marketplace today that the millennials have already mastered. Additionally, who is to say that those individuals who worked long and hard hours — workaholics — would have been successful regardless of the hours of work. Certainly organizations must adhere to basic employment systems and managers must define and articulate the roles of every position and the expectations of good performance. It is then up to the employee to work within these basic parameters and if they can do so without working 55 hours a week, then good for them. The bottom line is that employers don’t have to break the way they have run a successful business, but do need to be open to millennials’ strengths and needs.
In a recent Fortune article, ranking of the 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials standout for their ability to engage this generation (communicate), recognize their talents and give them a significant role where they can make a difference. The companies that were rated the highest, pay, profit sharing and promotion decisions are executed fairly; everyone gets a shot at special recognition; and workers have a say in decisions that affect them.
So what’s a manager to do? Quite simply, we need to lead millennials instead of managing them. Gone are the days of micro managing how employees work, where they work, what they can say, who can approach leadership in the hierarchy and mind-numbing communication red tape.
Millennials are looking for leaders (both as a leading company in an industry or profession and leaders within the company) who place the most emphasis on employee well being, growth and development instead of controlling the work experience of each and every employee including mandatory long hours of work. They believe that an organization’s treatment of its employees is the most important consideration when deciding if it’s somewhere they want to work. Right, wrong or indifferent, to the millennial generation, being a good leader means you must:
- First and foremost, show them respect: listen to their ideas and complaints, and show that they have value by doing more than giving lip service. Create processes that allows for the consideration and implementation of ideas. Simply, millennials want to know their voice is heard — management does not have to adhere to every idea or consideration, but listen.
- Give them attention: millennials have been given attention all of their life. Anything that smacks of a lack of attention can be seen as a form of disrespect or being taken for granted. While they don’t want to be micro managed, they do want their work and efforts to be noticed and lauded if they’ve done a good job. Unlike previous generations, you generally cannot drop a project in their lap and not follow through the process for feedback.
- Don’t be a wet blanket: millennials grew up in a society with parents who told them they could do anything. Encourage them instead of being discouraging (even if you think you are being a realist) on their ideas or passion. Help them develop confidence by giving them opportunities to taste true success as well as pick themselves up from failure and try again.
- Talk to them face to face: millennials are no different from other workers. They want to communicate about their work and possible career advancements in person. While it is tempting to think millennials prefer digital communication because they grew up with it and are adept at it, they are no different than other generations in prefering in-person communication in these areas.
- Understand the team: respect the team concept, get comfortable working with the team and focus on leading and guiding teams instead of managing from top down.
- Adopt a conversational style: millennials are going to question leaders and management. This is not out of disrespect. The best response isn’t shutting them down or giving them orders, but having a conversation. Most of the time, millennials just want more information and want to learn.
- Be decisive and strategic: millennials want leaders who possess strong social skills, but that doesn’t mean leaders can be weak in more traditional areas of leadership. Having vision, passion and being decisive are still valued and needed.
- Provide structure: there might be a general sense that millennials want some kind of free-for-all where they can do what they like when they like, but this is not the case. Organizations still have productivity expectations for the work that has to be done, meeting times, project deadlines — millennials understand this. Think of it like a race horse; the track is there, it has rails along the outside and a start and finish line, but you have no jockey and no bit. Provide the necessary structure, but let millennials work to the end without micro managing.
Perhaps in reality, managers and organizations have been missing the boat on this one, but maybe all generations would like more flexibility in how and where they do their work. One key difference between the generations on this aspect, however, is that millennials view this desire for flexibility in a peculiar way. They do not see productivity as something you can measure by how many hours a person is working in the office, but instead, by what a person actually does. In the end, millennials are positive-thinking with an entrepreneurial and hard-working spirit who want their lives to matter, believing they can change the world. They are a fantastic addition to any team, and perhaps, more importantly, a huge workforce that will help you succeed and reach your individual as well as company goals.
SESCO Proudly Announces The John Maxwell Team Certification
Jamie M. Hasty, Vice President, SESCO Management Consultants is now a certified Teacher, Coach and Speaker with The John Maxwell Team. Jamie holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Human Resources and has successfully served SESCO’s valued clients throughout the country for over ten (10) years.
SESCO now offers workshops, seminars, keynote speaking, and coaching, aiding in personal and professional growth through study and practical application of John Maxwell’s proven leadership methods. Utilizing The John Maxwell Team six (6) core learning systems of " Leadership Goals," "Put Your Dream To The Test," "Becoming A Person Of Influence," "The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth," "How To Be A Real Success," and "Everyone Communicates, Few Connect", SESCO can customize presentations to fit your individual or team’s needs and budget which include:
• 10 minute briefing
• "Lunch and Learn"
• Keynote speech for your company sponsored event
• Half day and full day workshop/seminar
• In-house corporate training
• Executive and personal retreat
• Partnership Summit
• Individual Coaching
• Group Coaching
SESCO is available to aid in reaching your personal or organizational purpose and goals through an intentional plan of development. Working together through accountability, we facilitate positive and profitable change, improve productivity and create the atmosphere that is necessary for effective leadership. Please contact Jamie M. Hasty at firstname.lastname@example.org or (423) 764-4127 for additional information on content, structure and fees.
Managers — You're Not Responsible For Your Employees — Only To Them
Is your team fully engaged? Surveys tell us that only one-fifth of employees are engaged. How can you improve this sad statistic?
1. Communicate/remind employees of the goals and vision of the company.
2. Employees must trust in management and their commitment to realize the goals and vision.
3. Employees must believe that their direct manager will support them and help them succeed.
It has often been said that employees rarely quit companies. Instead, employees quit their managers or supervisors by leaving the company. Engagement lives and dies on the front line of your business.
Here are SESCO’s tips to get managers and supervisors started in focusing on ways to improve engagement (and to be better managers).
1. DON’T get angry. Getting angry is easy. Anyone can do that.
2. DON’T be cold, distant, rude or unfriendly. Especially in difficult times, employees take cues from their immediate supervisors and need to hear from them.
As such, your team will judge you by your action, moods, and behaviors, not by your intent.
3. DON’T send mixed messages to your employees so that they never know where you stand. Keep your message simple, focused and prioritized. Too many messages and initiatives just confuse and alienate people.
4. DON’T BS your team. This includes saying things that you don’t believe in. This includes hiding information and just plain lying.
5. DON’T act more concerned about your own welfare than anything else. Your success will come through the success of your team.
6. DON’T avoid taking responsibility for your actions. You are the boss. As such, you are accountable and the buck stops with you.
You are trying to develop accountability throughout your company. So, lead by example.
7. DON’T jump to conclusions without checking the facts first. A few years ago, I watched in horror as a colleague of mine started screaming at an employee of his who had missed an important meeting that morning. After several minutes, the employee responded, "I apologize and should have contacted you. But, I just got back from the hospital as my mother has been diagnosed with terminal cancer."
Now here are the do’s, which are even more important than the don’ts:
8. DO what you say you are going to do and when you are going to do it. There is no better way to communicate the message that you are accountable for your promises and that everyone in your company should be accountable as well.
9. DO be responsive (return phone calls, emails). As a manager, your team can be considered to be your customer. You want your sales team to punctually respond back to customer requests, so you should do the same.
10. DO publicly support your people. Your disagreements and disappointment with your employees can be communicated later and in private.
Nothing appears so hollow as your attempt to blame your team for failures.
11. DO admit your mistakes...and take the blame for failures.
12. DO recognize your team. You can never underestimate the power of simple recognition for a job well done.
13. DO ask and listen. "The manager of the future will know how to ask rather than how to tell." (Peter Drucker)
Some of the most dangerous words for a manager to ever say include "But, you just don’t understand..." "Because I said so..."
14. DO smile and laugh. Have some fun. But, be genuine; programmed fun and faked laughter is worse than doing nothing.
SESCO specializes in leadership development, team and individual coaching and organizational development.
SESCO Client Feedback
"Hi there, Bill! I just wanted to say thank you for your visit last week regarding new overtime regulations. I appreciate your taking time to review with us our companies and positions. With so much information and misinformation available in the past few years (and currently) on this topic, we truly needed guidance!! Thanks again!" ~ Rhonda Davidson, Human Resources Manager — Blevins, Inc. — Corporate
"The harassment training Joel provided made sure we were up to date with any new regulations. We can always call SESCO and get help. SESCO is great." ~ Virginia Settle — Gillie Hyde Auto Mall
Special Thanks to New SESCO Clients!
Mazda Subara of Winchester
Thomas Jefferson EMS Council
Hardee’s of Southwest MO
Posey Funeral Directors
North Augusta, GA
Meat Commodities, Inc.
SESCO's Wage-Hour Compliance Manual
There are few federal regulations which have as profound an impact on business operations as the Fair Labor Standards Act. Originally enacted in 1938, virtually 100% of all non-supervisory employees in America are now covered by the FLSA, which has been amended frequently by Congress after the first federal minimum wage was established at $.25 an hour.
In addition to trying to keep pace with the statutory amendments, employers have had to adjust to a multitude of precedent setting decisions and new regulations. One of these new laws that employers must comply are the new overtime regulations effective December 1, 2016. The DOL suggests that over 40 million employees will be impacted.
To aid your business in understanding and complying with Wage-Hour regulations, SESCO Management Consultants has developed this manual, customized to our industry, to aid you with your compliance posture.
Contact SESCO at 423-764-4127 to order your copy.
Industry versions available: dealerships, funeral profession, retail/service, automotive service, healthcare, plumbing/HVAC contractors