You are reading part one, of a four part blog series I will be doing to explain the steps our firm’s Executive Committee took to speak to the millennial generation. Also known as Generation Y, Millennials are defined by researchers as those who vary in age, having birth years ranging from early 1980’s to the early 2000’s, Millennials represent more than 75 million people today and are making their mark on the business world as avid entrepreneurs and savvy professionals. They’re confident, creative and extremely comfortable with technology, and now we are learning to leverage their talents.
After many nights of long brainstorming sessions with multiple members of our team, ranging from the baby boomer generation through the millennial generation, we developed four strategic initiative groups. These groups are comprised of the key areas we defined as critical important to the future sustainability of our firm. The combination of generations allowed for us to think differently while still leveraging prior experience and vetted knowledge. Our strategic Initiative groups, SIGs, as we call them, focus around the following four areas:
1. Process and Improvement
2. Training and Development
3. Marketing and Communication
4. Recruiting and Retention
The latter is where I shall begin; about our people, our culture, recruitment and retention strategies. Some will say this is the fun stuff, the easy stuff, the social events, the activities, the benefits and more. While it may seem easy, making changes in this area is actually really difficult to dissect. You have to view it from all sides, top down, bottom up, and consider all the variables while keeping an eye on the ball for the business to succeed.
We want to better understand our culture, be able to define what it is, and ensure we were heading in the right direction, while striving to encourage opportunities for growth and sustainability. To do this we surveyed our Millennials and asked them to rank the importance of the following areas in the workplace: Access to clients, benefits, career growth, culture, giving back to the community, life balance, salary and technology.
What we discovered was that flexibility ranked the highest, followed closely by career growth and culture. Of least importance to our team was technology.
Then we asked them why? And then we asked them how? We challenged our team to consider how we could deliver in these areas of high importance while remaining as profitable as we have been in the past, with the goal of becoming even more profitable in the future. What we found is our team became very engaged in the process. They have a high level of energy and want to make a difference. Make no mistake about it, there are frustrations to be had along the way, there are learning curves that we are experiencing, and cooperative attempts for proposing plans, and countering explanations. This approach has an element of synergy to it. It provides the basis for building trusting relationships in a small group setting with a focus that is bigger than one individual, but rather on our firm as a whole.
Great leaders teach leadership skills. We have some work to do in this area. Leadership is not about being in charge, it’s about taking care of those in your charge. Leaders give us the chance to try, to fail and to succeed. A great leader inspires confidence. Those who inspire, create a following of people who act for the good of the whole not because they have to, but because they want to. When we trust people to get the job done, we get Leaders!
What is your organization’s purpose? Why not ask your people to help define these areas to better understand your culture and build a stronger future together. Go ahead, take your own poll, and ask your people to provide solution based recommendations, with positive outcomes, that improve your home away from home!
References & quotes taken from:
Simon Sinek https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hER0Qp6QJNU
Sinek, Simon "Start with Why"
Note: If you are looking for a good leadership skill development read for your team, consider Start with Why; I highly recommend this for individuals wanting to learn the secrets of leadership and also would serve as a great book for a group discussion.