Leading Millenials in the Workplace

A recent article from the Wharton School of Business reports on the stereotype that millenials (people born between 1980 and 2000), are often hard to keep in a business because they hop around jobs and have poor attitudes in the workplace. An Analysis from Gallup reported that 21% of millenials reported changing jobs in the past year, which costs the US 30.8 billion dollars annually. However, John Sanchez, former president of the successful tech company Sysomosviews millenials in a different light.

  • Sanchez’s background did not lie in tech when he first started at Sysomos. Rather, he came from a more traditional business environment where he had experience that the best way to lead a business was through team work and good leadership. When he started at Sysomos, the atmosphere of the young workforce was of frustration and discontent, with a high turnover.
  •  The Dilemma of leadership is to provide employees with their needs that they come in with, such as economic needs, learning and developing skills, and becoming part of a team.
  • Leaders should support and create a positive environment for the younger workforce, rather than disengage and isolate those who need their guidance.
  • Sanchez worked off of the “service profit chain,” with components that include job design, selection and development, adequate tools to serve customers, rewards and recognition, communication, and workplace design. Briefly, these are defined as followed:
    • Job Design: Job descriptions have to be clearly laid out so that employees know what their responsibilities and boundaries are.
    • Selection & Development: Employees are chosen for their talent and fit to the company after extensive interviewing processes, which give a realistic view of the company to the applicant. Monthly development meetings with leadership participation keep the team on track.
    • Tools to Serve Customers: Delivering results to customers contributes to employee satisfaction.
    • Rewards & Recognition: Effective rewards don’t have to be expensive but they should be authentic.
    • Communication: Traditional communication with bulletin boards and meetings are important, but so are casual interactions among employees. Having an “open-door” policy and making small investments to check in with employees in an office can have a big payoff.
    • Workplace Design: Consider what employees need in an office and location, such as access to public transportation or highways.

Sanchez gives explains that the stereotypes of millenials in the workforce are done away with when focusing on conventional leadership strategies and team building in companies. Read more about his advice to companies, based on his experience at Sysomos which achieved a nearly 100% retention of young employees.