Collaboratively Led Enterprise
Let’s get cozy. Say goodbye to the long boardroom table and say hello to the round table. Collaboration, shared responsibility and consensus rule Millennial Inc.
Millennials view success as something shared across the organization. In observing the creation of their virtual companies in both London and Seattle, teams did not assign a definitive CEO but had each member focus on an area of responsibility (design, finance etc).
While our Millennials found it important to have areas of expertise, they all wanted to weigh in on other areas of the company. The quantitative study completed by nearly 1,000 participants showed that 82% of Millennials believe it is important to have a staff that can do each other’s jobs.
Decision by Consensus
Expertise across areas of responsibility is valued and seen as a key input to decision making. Design and creativity hold as much weight as finance and management and Millennials see the value of bringing diverse thinkers together to come to a collaborative decision. 54% of Millennials prefer to make decisions by consensus, and that number shoots up to 70% when they are amongst their peers.
Stimulated Work Environment
401Ks and stock options may be nice but Millennials need to be in an environment that continually keeps them stimulated and engaged or they will keep looking.
Millennials grew up in a continuously stimulating world. Sometimes dubbed the ADD Generation, they are always searching for work that keeps their attention. In fact, the number one reason in both the UK (34%) and US (37%) for switching jobs was, “Just Needed a Change.” That need for change far exceeds the desire for a better salary, benefits, or a more senior position. The average 26-year-old has craved stimulation so much, they’ve changed jobs an astounding seven times from age 18, in search of something more.
In addition to a workplace that is both “fun” and “friendly”, “challenging” was identified as the key component of a good work environment for Millennials. This intellectual stimulation creates an exciting and rewarding work place. Word clouds from the digital ethnography conducted with both US and UK participants showed a challenging work environment to be a core factor in Millennial job satisfaction.
Google and Microsoft led the list of companies that Millennials in the US aspire to work for by a large margin. In the UK, The National Health Service came out on top with Google and Microsoft taking second and third places respectively. Google and Microsoft, along with Apple and Nike, were seen as innovators both for their products and their approaches. Technology and innovation have the same allure that previous generations attributed to fashion and celebrity.
Idea Powered Culture
“Seniority” and “tenure” are dirty words to Millennials. Authority is earned and proven through direct interactions, not given blindly based on titles and experience.
Older is not Better
In the 2008 Presidential election, John McCain came out of the gates with the campaign slogan, “Best Prepared to Lead on Day One.” With twenty-three years military experience and twenty-six years in national government he may have been. But, of course, it was Barak Obama’s mere four years in national government and “Change We Can Believe In” message that captured 62% of the Millennial vote. Millennials are not swayed by the “been there, done that” mantra intoned by previous generations, but are driven by ideas that move forward.
Earn Up Model
In creating their virtual companies, Millennials designed a model that required each employee, despite title or skill set, to start at the ground level and move her way up through the company. This approach ensured that every “employee” would have some face-to-face contact with his customer base and experience the brand firsthand. Those who excelled would be promoted quickly and paid more for their ability, rather than being rewarded for a demonstrated facility in corporate politics. While this may sound impractical to most of us, many Millennials believe that high-level executives lack proper understanding of the front lines of their own business. This point is the basis of Undercover Boss, a hit CBS TV show that aims to expose CEOs to the daily challenges of their employees.
Follow the Ideas
In a world where anyone can be an author, director, photographer, journalist, comedian, actor or ad man, Millennials are used to a democratized playing field where good ideas and work rise to the top. Individuals with big ideas are successful and gain respect through their work, and Millennials expect this to be true everywhere, especially in their career. If not, their ideas go elsewhere. Innovation-Driven Culture Google and Microsoft led the list of companies that Millennials in the US aspire to work for by a large margin. In the UK, The National Health Service came out on top with Google and Microsoft taking second and third places respectively. Google and Microsoft, along with Apple and Nike, were seen as innovators both for their products and their approaches. Technology and innovation have the same allure that previous generations attributed to fashion and celebrity.
“In setting up the hierarchy of the company, we shouldn’t have ‘experience’ or the amount of time someone has held a roll determine their aptitude for a specific position – I’ve had more jobs where my manager doesn’t necessarily know more than me or have the ability to do the work better, they just have been there longer. We should let people grow through the company to demonstrate ability instead.”
– Dan, 23, Seattle