SoCap talks with Devon, Dr. Liz and Nancy
SoCap co-founder and chief visionary officer Devon Kerns sits down with two 20-year veterans of the human resources field to discuss the misconceptions, the challenges, and the promise of millennials in the workplace.
Nancy Holmes (PHR, CCP) of Newman Holmes Consulting, LLC, and Dr. Liz Selzer, founder and CEO of VP Mentoring Initiatives, talk to Devon about some of the myths surrounding millennials, who now make up 35% of the workforce. Both agree that the biggest myth is that somehow all millennials are interchangeable, want the same things, act the same way, have the same work ethic, etc. Putting all millennials in a box is perhaps the most damaging approach employers can when recruiting, managing, developing, and engaging with millennials.
To date, companies have struggled to engage with and retain millennials, whose average tenure is just 2.5 years. This turnover comes at a high price for employers, who must spend more time, energy, and resources to constantly find replacements, train them,and bring them up to speed, only to start the process all over again in a couple of years. Both Dr. Liz and Nancy advise establishing a culture of open communication, in which expectations are clear, leadership skills are fostered, and work is meaningful.
Welcome back to SoCap Talks, helping innovators build tomorrow, today. Now here’s your hosts, Devon Kerns and Eric Sutfin.
Devon: Welcome back to SoCap Talks, this is Devon Kerns and we are here on the Social Capital Integration Series, and I’m here with Dr. Liz and Nancy. How are you guys doing?
Liz and Nancy: Good, very good.
Devon: Awesome, awesome. So, a little background on all of us, I’ve got 20 years in leadership development, sales training, and really on the um, branding side of how do you go and recruit and how do you pull people into your company, and Dr. Liz tell us a little bit about yourself.
Liz: Well, I’ve got about, well over 20 years of experience working with mentoring initiatives and leadership development initiatives across a number of different kinds of industries, and also around the world. I’ve actually done that on 6 continents so, um, it’s been a great 20 years.
Devon: Awesome, and Nancy, tell us about you.
Nancy: I’ve got about 20 years experience as well, uh primarily in a corporate environment of human resources. Anything from, uh benefits manager, compensation analyst, uh business partners, and now um really cater to taking the pain out of the process for small business owners. So, whether it’s helping them from their day to day, getting some structure and implementing, um, all the different things to help make them more efficient to those occasional problem employees.
Liz: *laughing* occasional
Nancy: Once in a while, yeah.
Devon: So glad to be sitting here with you guys and everybody else that’s tuning in, thank you for tuning in. Let’s get to today’s topic. So, Dr. Liz, I know you’ve been focusing in on a couple articles over the last couple weeks, what is today’s topic.
Liz: Well so today’s topic we just wanted to look at the millennials, and uh, you know it seems like every time I go to a conference, that’s what everyone is talking about. What do we do with the millennials? How do we work with the millennials? How do we make them successful? How do we put up with them? I mean, whatever it is, I mean it goes anywhere from being super negative to just trying to figure out how to figure out the problem. So um, I think that would be a good thing for us to talk about.
Devon: The millennials and the title of your article is what?
Liz: Um, ‘Debunking the Millennial Mill-ays”
Devon: Mill-ays, I don’t know that I’ve ever heard that word before.
Devon: It just reminds me of mayonnaise.
Liz: *laughing* yeah
Devon: *inaudible murmur* …quite visual here. Um, so in the news what, what kind of things have you seen out there, Nancy, around millennials or conversations in terms of HR? I know HR’s always a fun topic, and we were actually sitting here a few minutes ago before going live um, and you brought up something really interesting about the potential sensitivity in the HR world. With not just millennials but conversations that are taking place across the board today.
Nancy: Absolutely. So, my take on a, on what I’ve seen and and some of the clients that I’ve been working with is such a sense of um, a desire and a need to be recognized as a professional. Uh, to feel like they are making an impact verses coming to work, getting that paycheck, and not having an intimate passion about what they’re doing. They strive to have additional leadership training, learning, you know whether it’s on the leadership side or technical side, but just to, um really become more of an impact um in their day to day jobs. Part of that too, though can raise um some levels of sensitivity when it comes to an atmosphere, a work atmosphere, that may be very casual, very laid back, um may have a keg in the break room, or
Nancy: Allow people to work from home and then feel like it’s being abused. Anyway, point being is that having some sensitivity from, uh CEOs, business owners, managers, on how they address different topics. With that being said, how uh that can be perceived um, as being inappropriate. An example I gave prior to going on live was um, had a CEO mention to one of his employees on the way out of a weekly staff meeting that her spray tan, made some reference comment about her spray tan. And, she
Liz: Was it orange?
Nancy: Felt very uh, didn’t elaborate on the color or anything but just enough for it to make her feel very uncomfortable. So she brought it to my attention as well as her manager and the director of operations.
Devon: So she brought it to HR.
Nancy: She brought it to HR’s attention and my goal was to help empower her to feel more comfortable to say ‘hey,’ you know, ‘I know you made this comment, may not have meant anything by it but given the prior conversations, I’m not feeling that comfortable and going forward I appreciate if you would not comment on my physical appearance.’ She did not feel comfortable doing this because she’s an employee having to tell the CEO ‘I’m not comfortable with what you just said.’ So, it really creates a I think a tough dynamic when you do have somebody having to tell their superiors that something’s uncomfortable or inappropriate, um so we’re in a really strange place right now, especially with the Harvey Weinstein, um, scandal. Women are wanting to speak out more and more and you’re also realizing how much um, inappropriate, pervasive, issue this really is.
Devon: So how do you, I I mean *clears throat* we kind of got fired up around this topic and I feel like you need to be comfortable in your own orange skin. *laughter* If you’re gonna be orange, right?
Devon: And so, for me like, I would want to know if I was orange,
Devon: and is it really how it’s brought up, or is it more so the fact that you just can’t bring it up?
Nancy: Right, right. Well and I think bottom line is is making comments about personal appearance that really have no impact on the business. If she is good in her orange skin or maybe she’s not, and that’s why this comment was especially uncomfortable for her, um, probably I think it, we’re moving more and more towards whether it’s PC or just being respectful is not to take issue or take note of your employees appearance as much as take note of their work. That’s what’s driving them, is to feel like they’re doing uh a good job; that they’re hitting the mark. They want that feedback. Not necessarily they want a trophy or star for every time they complete a, you know small task, which I
Devon: Although they do.
Nancy: Think is a myth. Yeah, but they want to know am I on target? Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Um,
Nancy: Am I meeting the mark? Where is the mark, you know? If I’m supposed to jump so high where’s, where’s that bar?
Liz: And I think effective feedback is something that we all need and we should all be able to give and receive well. I know millennials want it more often. Can be shorter um, you know but they don’t want to wait for that, at the end of the year, that one review that
Liz: they get. Um, but, I think that uh it’s important to remember that they, they while they want that feedback, they really, they don’t take it well. I mean, I don’t know, I I’ve had they they seem super sensitive, they I, a lot of the complaints that I’ve heard is that they do complain too much. That they you know they feel, they they request things you know, that are just unreasonable because they’ve been given so much over all the years and they had that helicopter parenting happening and uh, I-I think we, we do them a better a a great service if we can give them feedback from the right motivation of trying to help them grow in their leadership and develop them personally and professionally.
Nancy: Well and I’m gonna debunk something right there because um, my take is that you can’t put them all into one bucket.
Liz: I agree.
Nancy: I had, I’ve seen the extreme millennial who when her manager said, you know what working from 8 to 4 every day is, is not cutting it; I need you to put in 8 hours of work, if not more, based on our business needs and she reacted with well if you wanna pay for my subsidize my car because I’m carpooling right now, you wanna pay for my dog walker, $50 a day, then I could put in more time. She was on one end of the extreme as I’ve seen other millennials who work hard,
Liz: Really hard.
Nancy: Are driving, you know driving crappy cars because they want to, they don’t care, it’s they don’t care about the material things in life. They’d rather drive that crappy car so that they can travel and experience more in life rather than collect stuff.
Devon: Mm hmm
Nancy: So, um, I do think it’s really important and I hesitate to even refer to millennials but, some millennials because there’s some generation Xer’s or baby boomers that don’t fit that, that label. One size does not fit all.
Liz: I I do agree with you on that and I hate you know when you when you grab an entire generation and make snap judgements about them, it I think it does everyone a disservice but, I do think that there are some trends that we can understand about millennials, things that are important to them, I-I know you mentioned the leadership development piece is important, I also know social issues are very important, I mean they will go to an organization that’s a green organization over one that isn’t and regardless of salary, I mean not that salary doesn’t matter, but it’s not the most important driving force. Neither is, you know, titles. Titles and those kind of things. So I think if we understand some of those things that are motivating,
Liz: That’s, that’s a good positive thing. But one of the things that, um I wrote about in my article is I don’t even think it’s the differences that are the most important thing. I actually think it’s more important to concentrate on the things we have in common and build from there. And there are a lot of things that we have in common as human beings.
Devon: One of the things that I um so the last couple weeks we’ve had the fortunate um, experience to speak in front of of a realtor’s association about millennials, and then we just sat down speaking with the uh, Big Brother Big Sister organization talking about millennials, and *clears throat* it’s so interesting how we do have this title and all of a sudden this title of millennial means something to people that aren’t millennials.
Nancy and Liz: Mmm hmm.
Devon: But to a millennial, it literally means nothing.
Devon: They’re like, ‘I’m a person wandering around trying to figure out this shit just like you are,’ right, and I do find it really interesting as I reflect on looking at human behavior and sitting down with my grandparents and sitting down with my great grandparents a long time ago and I’m auditory, so I’m kind of like a human recorder for the most part. I don’t always recall well but when it comes up in topic, I recall it quickly. And one of the things I recall is year after year after year after year the older generations, even before I was born, complained about how the next generation’s gonna really screw this up, right?
Devon: Now, I find that to be one of those topics that you’re talking about where, we’re human and that is a human thing, unfortunately for adults to do as we move in to 35 plus or 40 plus and especially when we start, no offense everybody on the uh listening to this, but you reach the 60 plus mark you’re pretty much dead set in your ways. Yeah, right, you’ve figured out your value systems, you’ve been there, you’ve done that, you’ve got your story and now when you look at the rest of the world everyone else is doing it wrong. *laughter* And, um I think for the most part that’s completely, uh we all know that that’s wrong.
Devon: To, to put an entire generation into a box. Now there are things that I find really interesting. This is, because of the information age and because of technology, a time period where we have taken a giant leap, and that leap because of technology is really around information and digested information.
Liz and Nancy: Mmm hmm, mm hmm.
Devon: And being in the information age where millennials, in particular, have more information coming to them on a daily basis than our grandparents did in a lifetime, that is an incredible amount of information. Not just information that they can go and find at a nanosecond, but now you’re talking about ads and the bombardment of opinions and thoughts and theories, and it stirs up this chaos where now, a part of what would be perceived as one of the myths of them being lazy, I don’t think it’s laziness. I think it’s a total disconnect from an intent, from ‘what is my purpose’ because I’ve got one friend over here who’s making $50,000 a month from YouTube videos because he’s a, being a jackass and *laughter* running around and jumping off stuff or scaring people with spooky costumes and like, do I do that or do I put on my professional hat and go out here and try and figure out this career thing because it’s what everybody else told me to do? And, and and then there’s a, a giant vast amount of choices in between,
Liz: Yeah, absolutely.
Devon: As to how they can go out and show up in this world. On top of the fact that you guys were talking about I’ve got a desire, that’s different desires than what my parents did and what my grandparents did. I don’t care about owning a car; I don’t care about owning a house. You told me I should but I’d rather go see the world and experience life because more and more it’s reiterated how short life is.
Liz: Well the path just seems so unclear, you know, as I’ve talked with people and the millennial generation you know, thinking about college. Do we do it? That’s another one like you said owning a car and owning a house, is college really the right thing? A good friend of mine, she’s raising her girls to be little entrepreneurs, and they that’s what they do. They already have 2 different businesses that they run as a 10 and 11 year old. And, she said we’re saving money, not for a college fund, but we are saving money, like seed money, for businesses.
Devon: Mmm hmm.
Liz: So I think I agree with you, you know when I grew up, and I will tell you I am a boomer, I’ll admit it. *laughter* I’m actually right on the, I’m right on the line between an Xer and boomer so, I kind of straddle it actually almost.
Devon: You’re an X-Boomer *laughter*
Liz: Yeah exactly yeah so you know, it was pretty clear what you did. You went, you you know went college and then got your job and you stayed at that job for a long time. I mean that’s what was expected and you found one that had a good retirement uh package which, by the way, no one does anymore
Liz: But that was what and you you knew you retired and you had your retention and all of this it’s, it’s so different now. And there isn’t a path and I think that is something I know when I have talked with businesses and worked with millennials there, one of the things they really asked for is a career path. Show us and it doesn’t have to be a vertical kind of career path, they just want to make sure that they are developing personally and professionally on a regular basis, and that it means something, that it’s going somewhere.
Nancy: Mm hmm mm hmm.
Devon: I think that’s right.
Nancy: Yeah I couldn’t agree more. I actually have three millennials in my family, and so watching how each of them have navigated, there’s a huge population of, I believe, millennials who are stuck in their careers. They don’t know where they’re going, they don’t know what their passion is. Um, and it almost has them paralyzed as they’re approaching 30 to say ‘what is my career, what am I doing?’ Uh, one of my clients had a employee leave, they tend to bring people in fairly green, with the intent of training them up, but um she ended up leaving social media to go into cosmetology. Total switch,
Nancy: Total different direction but she dabbled in this and it didn’t work out so well so she’s gonna try something different.
Nancy: So I have to agree I think it was a lot easier, um in generations past where it was somewhat more clear cut that you went to school, you got your piece of paper, you got your degree and then your career started from that point and now it’s, yeah the cost of college is making an impact, the range and the options that are bombarding them of different areas to go in. I’ve got some other friends um, seems to be more on the male side of millennials, that tend to not have that straight line of focus. So
Liz: They’re on the yardstick.
Nancy: They’re traveling the world. I’ve got a friend who, he finds a job in Australia, works there for 4 months and then decides ‘I’m gonna go to London for another four months there to see if I can get a job.’
Liz: But I think it’s tough and maybe this is with the helicopter parenting and everybody gets a medal, what is the yardstick? You know when is it like, when have you really done something of significance and not? And that’s I again another thing I know millennials and actually everyone appreciates at a work environment is to be told what they’re doing matters. And that they are making a difference.
Devon: Mmm hmm
Nancy: Well and that’s something that I’m working with a client right now on putting together job descriptions, which may seem very archaic and outdated, but they are striving for clarity. They don’t know what is really expected of them. I had one employee say I was, you know ‘here for a month and didn’t feel like I made a difference, I didn’t do a thing because I didn’t know what the acronyms meant, I didn’t know what my job was’, and so now they’re able to go give those to the employees to say this is what you’re going to be measure on at the end of the day, we’ll enhance it with some S.M.A.R.T. goals and things like that, but here’s clarity of what the expectations are that then as they recruit for new employees too there’s not this you know, vanilla explanation of what they’re supposed to do as per say if they have not been in the industry, before.
Devon: So you brought up recruiting and that might be the a great transition here into a singular topic that can really help the audience listening particularly those that are in HR or C Suite Levels within companies, *clears throat* one of the struggles that we as the triad doing social capital integration can help companies with is retention.
Nancy and Liz: Yes, yes.
Devon: Um, and in terms of retention, what we know statistically with millennials is they’ve got to an on average 2 and a half year retention rate. And it’s really interesting because I think we’re all programed for this longevity, but then none of us really enjoy the idea of being stuck in a single place for a long period of time. On every age group.
Nancy: Right, yeah.
Devon: Right, so um,
Nancy: Well and companies don’t employ you for that long anymore. I mean to find,
Nancy: even whatever generation if you’ve been with a company for more than 5 years, I think that’s a great accomplishment. Because so many businesses industries are focused on mortars and acquisitions; you’re constantly bringing people in, at least from my perspective, bringing them all on board, laying off those to give severances and COBRA packages to, only then for a year and a half later, spin it all around and, and send those people on their way.
Devon: Mmm hmm.
Nancy: So, I I think the work environment,
Devon: So really it’s about changing the model right?
Nancy: Mmm hmm.
Devon: It’s about looking at it and saying ‘expect the turnover,’ if you create a great environment with a great culture and you have a a mission and a purpose within the dynamic of your company that’s clearly expressed, you can retain them for maybe a year to two years longer, stretch it out to four and a half years but once you do,
Nancy: Mmm hmm
Devon: If you don’t expect them to turnover and you’ve got a model that’s built for longevity of sticking around, but yet they’re only staying for two and a half to four and a half years,
Nancy: Mmm hmm
Devon: That’s where the disconnect is, so how can how can a company really build an infrastructure where you don’t depend on retention for beyond that three and a half four and a half years, but you create a great environment and through that great environment; how can you prepare your company for that turnover, what can you do to continue to have that next generation of leadership stepping into your company?
Liz: And I think it’s it is so important to create that really good culture because when they leave, you want them to speak well of your organization. You know you want them to leave because they’ve outgrown that position. Instead of, ‘I can’t stand the leadership there, I hate the product, I think there’s corruption, it’s unethical,’ all of those things. So I think that’s I’m- I think it’s instead of focusing maybe on retention like you said, it’s focusing on making sure that you’re creating an environment and corporate culture that is ethical, that is a place that people want to be from, proud to be from, proud to say I worked at that company.
Nancy: But if you even back it up even further than that to the recruiting process, it’s so critical to make sure that as a company as leaders who are doing the hiring, they need to understand exactly the type of person that they want, so if you’re hiring, you know green employees who have never really worked in say, social media before, you want to train them up your way, that’s awesome. But you need to make sure that through that interviewing process and recruiting process you’re looking at all the behavioral questions to be asking. Technical is one thing, what they’re aptitude is, if they’re willing to learn, they can learn it.
Nancy: But if they don’t fit into the personality of that company, they’re gonna get in their for a few months and go ‘what is this?’
Devon: I don’t feel like I belong.
Nancy: No, I don’t feel like I belong and ‘why is it so loosey-goosey?’ They have a keg in the break room but then you know Megan had one on a Wednesday and oooo big deal, *audible laugh* you know so, you need to, as
Devon: She talked about her orange skin and
Nancy: Oh my gosh it was just a cluster. So I think it is so important as a manager right off the bat to say ‘hey I’m gonna be giving you feedback, and it’s not because I want you to feel bad, but it’s because I want to help you, I want to groom you and help you grow to be as as successful as you can in this company.’
Devon: And that needs to be built into the value systems.
Nancy: It does.
Liz: And into the culture, I mean it it’s that you know weird company that gives feedback on a regular basis,
Devon: Mmm hmm.
Liz: and it’s not just for, you know, certain people here it’s for everybody. It’s that, you know when you, it when it’s really embedded in the entire culture with all the leadership, everyone all the new people coming on then it sticks, and it stays.
Nancy: Yeah. It it’s the communication is the key. That’s what I’ve said forever and I’m not the first, but communication from the very get go to outline what those expectations are
Devon: Mmm hmm
Nancy: and how those honest conversations. But also to build the positives all along the way, not about what they’re wearing or their their tan,
Nancy: But you know hey ‘I-I love what you did on this, if I could see just a little bit more of X that would be awesome.’ As long as you’re constantly building up that bank of positive communication, then when something does go sideways and you need to set, take them aside, it’s not so uncomfortable, it’s not like your boss has never been into your office before or and then when they they do come it’s like they’re rubbing their eyebrows and their forehead and stammering trying to figure out how they tell you some what should be very constructive. And that I think is key as training managers an anybody who is going to be giving feedback, how to do it in the most constructive positive easy get in get out laid out quickly, and then be gone. You know, it’s it doesn’t take a 20 minute conversation, you just ‘hey, you know noticed that this was slipping last week, if you could keep an eye on that, that’d be great.’ Done. Don’t bring it up again at another meeting, don’t put it in the performance review, you know unless..
Devon: Don’t bring it up publicly in general.
Nancy: Or publicly announce ‘hey what happened over here’ you know it’s some of it is just common sense.
Devon: Remember that time Nancy when you were a total jackass? *laughter* oh sorry Dr. Liz I didn’t pay attention to the fact that you were here. *laughter*
Nancy: Yeah well I’m just kidding, you know I see that kind of communication going on too and I’m like, that is the most passive aggressive thing you can say you know?
Devon: Ah man, no I I don’t wanna go down that path cuz I-I am that person where I’m sensitive to the idea that if I know it’s something that needs to be fixed, I won’t bring it up in public. I’ll pull you aside. But at the same time, there is something to be said about accountability amongst peers.
Devon: Right so if I’m in a boardroom with board members and something went awry, it’s okay to have a real conversation within that dynamic.
Devon: Not for the sake of getting it validated,
Devon: but for the sake of accountability.
Devon: However, when you are in an authority within the dynamic a manager, C Suite person and you have, um one of your um, managers from the call center, manager from the sales group and you’re in a conversation about sales and then you call them out as the CEO, man it, it never goes well.
Nancy: Yeah and well that’s what um this scenario that I worked through this past week was, because of the dynamics, had it been a coworker, and she answered, I would’ve been totally comfortable saying ‘hey I’m not comfortable with you making comments about my appearance,’ but this is her CEO. Totally different dynamic as it is for me with HR. There’s been times where I can be a little bit more casual in how I discuss something, and you can just see it on, you know, as soon as I say it there, they freeze. I think it’s more so because it’s coming from HR so I have to be very sensitive of the fact of my position, and what that can implicate for them down the road. So..
Devon: So going back to retention, we tend to keep going down the orange skin path *laughter* which I’ll take blame for that, um, it was interesting when I was working with this incredible organization and man, what a great mission that uh the Big Brother Big Sisters organization has in terms of mentorship and bigs working with littles. It’s really interesting because uh, 70% of the people working within the staff of this organization are millennials. So millennials are clearly driven to mission driven entities and a within that dynamic you have um, ss uh I forget exactly what the stat is but a large number of, uh the bigs, the mentors, working with these kids um are millennials, and so not only working and getting a paycheck but volunteering to work with these, uh, these up and coming, um amazing kids that have unfortunately been through circumstances where you know, life has been hard for them and they get this mentor in their life and somebody that’s passionate about making the change however, what we found was in this ADD world that we live in and what the conversation a part of the dialogue was not just retention around, uh staff. But it was retention around volunteers.
Devon: And it was really tough for them because you’re, you’re one you’re volunteering, right so at the end of the day, if a paycheck supersedes volunteering, paycheck’s gonna win.
Liz: Mmm hmm.
Devon: But two, um a 90 day window is what we started having the conversation around with the volunteer because they feel like if I don’t see an impact in this kids life, I kinda give up.
Nancy: Mmm hmm.
Devon: And so there is this um, dilemma that I think is happening across the board in nonprofits. Where, how do I retain volunteers and how do I retain donors as well. And so it seems as though retention is not just an inside dynamic.
Nancy: Mmm hmm.
Devon: One of the biggest things going back to your point around it’s gotta come from the value system and the culture of a company and the culture not being a keg or scooters.
Liz: Right. That is not culture.
Devon: Yeah, that’s things that create a cool environment that is not culture right. So value systems, and I looked at the, the mission which is super powerful and then I looked at the vision. And the vision, again this isn’t knocking it but it’s going one level deeper as we started having this conversation, and with this group uh the staff and the board members, and the vision was, basically we strive to um create success for children. And I went, well could that be, could that vision be hindering the id- the retention of the mentors..
Devon: when they aren’t included in the vision of the company.
Liz: Mmm hmm
Devon: And what you really wanting is the mentor, to be re- to latch onto the success of the kid. Therefore is your focus on the children? Or should your focus be the success of a mentor leads to the success of a kid?
Devon: And so if you set up the environment differently, really focusing on who you need to be working with, who you need to be developing. Right if I’m a 25 year old mentor and I want to mentor this kid, is all the focus on the kid? Or should an organization with baby boomers and everybody else be focusing on how do we develop that 25 year old so the 25 year old is developing the 9 year old?
Devon: And it’s not built into the mission and that’s a top down issue where, we’re not really understanding the archetype of what we want to attract.
Nancy: Mmm hmm.
Devon: And we’re not understanding the archetype internally for our staffing, we’re not understanding the archetype in terms of our, um uh mentors and we’re not understanding the archetype of a donor and when I said, can you tell me who these people are that are mentors.
Nancy: Mmm hmm.
Devon: Man, it kind of erupted in in multiple different directions where it wasn’t clear, who this person is and there’s a fear, particularly in the nonprofit world that I’ve seen on a consistent basis within these organizations, if I choose an archetype as an example, then I’m leaving out a whole bunch of money and a whole bunch of donors and a whole bunch of mentors because I’m too focused on a specific. And, it is such a backwards thinking. To me that shows a fear of losing out instead of if I just had focus, I could be abundant or I could attract A-level talent or I could attract incredible clients or incredible people and customers. If I’m clear on who the buyer is, if I’m clear on who the mentor is, if I’m clear on who the um, managers are in my company and why they’re attracted and what about our company are those value systems that pulled them in the door here, why did they choose us over someone else?
Liz: Mmm hmm.
Devon: And I think there’s a total disconnect there in for profit entities where of course you’re gonna work for us cus we can pay you a paycheck.
Liz: Right. I-
Devon: Not today with millennials.
Liz: So I wanna give an example, I used to work for a nonprofit that helped um, moms become better moms, I mean it was kind of a support thing for that, and we had 30,000 volunteers around the country that uh we obviously wanted to retain. And they largely, actually were millennials believe it or not, cuz they had you in order to be a volunteer you had to be a a mother of a preschooler. So, in essence a lot of them were pretty young. And they had a really hard time keeping volunteers, and they couldn’t figure out what exactly was going on but I think it totally speaks on what you’re saying, we started a leadership development program for these volunteers…
Devon: Mmm hmm.
Liz: And we really prepared them, I mean we had all kinds of uh categories of things we prepared them for so that they felt like we were really feeding into them and they felt like they when they left, we actually started getting the reputation ‘oh boy, they’ve worked for that company? They’re a good leader.’
Devon: Mmm hmm.
Liz: Like they end up going into leadership in their communities and all of that because they know they got actually legit leadership development training as volunteers, that was part of it we valued those volunteers kind of in a different way. So, I think it does work, I think what you’re saying is very wise. *laughter*
Devon: Well, it’s been a while since I’ve been called wise *laughter* thank you. Um, so in wrapping this up I’d love to get one clear point from you, Nancy, as to how, from your perspective, how can a company from an HR perspective really help retain for a longer period of time but prepare for not um, expecting the 25 year employee but what can they do to really be prepared from an HR side of things for retaining a little bit longer, engaging a little bit longer, and then preparing for them to leave.
Nancy: Yeah. I think it all boils down to communication. From the moment you interview that individual, making sure that they have the same type of expectations in terms of what they’re work-style looks like and what your company has to offer. If you want somebody who’s going to be there a certain period of time each day, you need to communicate that right up front. They may be thinking ‘oh well if I take off for a couple hours, go for a bike ride, you know I’m a big cyclist living in Boulder, rock-climbing,’ whatever, but then they’ll come back and be there, you know whether it’s at the office or at home til 8 o’clock at night. Either way, you’ve got to set those expectations up, up front. The communication in terms of how to give that constructive feedback, this is why I’m gonna give you feedback is because I want you to grow and develop, and these first few months of being on board is critical for you to feel engaged. So, for me it’s all about communication.
Devon: So, take the time to be clear and then get it in writing so that it’s precise, clear, communicated well and in writing…
Devon: As to the expectation of that person within the entity.
Nancy: Yeah, have a client right now and their employee handbook is completely contradictory to what they’re doing everyday *laughter* on the job.
Nancy: So, no wonder there’s confusion…
Nancy: And clarity and ‘can I take time off for the holidays? I don’t know. It’s coming up and need to make my air travel so again,’ to me it all comes down to having that constructive and also sensitive. Recognizing when is it appropriate for me to address your attire, if you’re going out to see clients and it may not be a what you feel is a good representation of your company, um, verses what they’re wearing in the office and does that make an impact is it distracting to other employees? Learning really simple communication style to address uncomfortable situations is critical.
Devon: Awesome. How about you Dr. Liz what’s the one thing from the human capital side and leadership development side of things?
Liz: I think, and I I don’t know that I even really mentioned it yet but I think one of the things, especially related to millennials, and it’s something that is important to them is developing everyone. You know instead of having these mentoring and leadership development programs for high potentials, that everyone is worthy of being a part of a leadership development, personal, professional development um initiative and learning and making sure that, that that’s happening at all levels of the organization because that ties them into your organization. That really is a culture piece.
Devon: Mmm hmm.
Liz: To me that’s how you that’s how culture good culture sticks. Is when you go ‘wow I know this company cares about me and what I am doing for this company because they’re feeding into me that way.’
Devon: And beyond the company. Develop them as leaders beyond your company, and some will stay and take over…
Liz: Mmm hmm, yep.
Devon: And blow your mind and others will leave and you get to be proud of their accomplishments. Because you were a part of their growth instead of the opposite which you see in companies and that is ‘well I can’t have you outgrow me because then you’re gonna take my position’. That fear, paralyzes an entire organization…
Devon: And it starts from the top.
Devon: That’s awesome. Well I appreciate you guys so much and uh thank you for tuning in and listening in. Stay tuned for our future uh, chats around social capital integration and remember, for those of you that are out there with orange skin *laughter* get comfortable in your orange skin.