Employing millennials

February 1st, 2017 by Simon Bollon


group of professionals discussing work

Pesky millennials. They expect so much. You hear about how difficult modern day footballers are to manage. Try leading a large group of twenty somethings in a modern agency. Jeez, they’re a demanding bunch.

There’s a mountain you know? And to get to the top of the mountain you’ve got to do a lot of climbing. Hitching a ride is cheating yourself. I may be cynical, but getting there without enjoying a testing journey just isn’t as rewarding. You know what I mean?

If you haven’t see Simon Sinek speak about this issue, then I urge you to do so. Whether you are one of these modern employees or an employer of this wonderful new generation, his talk resonates.

Hey, the world changes and so do the people in it. We live in an era of high demand culture. We want everything now. Impatience is everywhere. That’s the role that technology and social media has played. If we want a reaction, to vent, to ask a question, to gain a referral, understand how something works, find something, find somewhere or make a purchase, we can do it. Quickly. And we’ll find the results. Quickly.

It’s created a reduction in loyalty, applied performance pressures across most business sectors and meant the bad have died, the good have thrived.

It’s also meant that in life, we expect more, now. These bloody millennials are the worst for it. Of course, as a modern agency, employing highly qualified, highly intelligent people, we’re going to have to work hard to satisfy and please our team members. I like to think we do it.

However, even though I’m only (!) 38, I feel ever so slightly from another world. A world where the choices weren’t so vast, job hopping was much more minimal and loyalty was high.

It sounds like we’re in a bad place, right? Well, no, we’re not actually. Our employee tenure is way above the industry average. We continue to grow and we continue to retain the best people. We have a real emphasis on team, culture and progression. We have a process of ‘Gain-Train-Retain’ whereby we source the best people and keep them, enabling them to be the best they can be and rewarding personal progression.

As a fast growth business doing exciting things I think there’s a natural inclination for people to stay, enjoy and benefit from the ride. No month is boring and whilst we have processes and curves, we try to do our best by every employee. Hey, I don’t always get it right and we won’t always meet demands. But I’m trying.

It’s a business’s responsibility to balance the demands of their own (we want 41% growth next financial year!) with the demands of employees (salary, job title, role satisfaction, client contact and more). Balancing short-term needs and the long-term vision of a business can be tricky. Marrying that with the long-term progression of employees with the short-termism in life creates a conundrum of culture. When they work together, it makes for a rewarding journey for the business, its clients and the employees.

So, after all of that I’m proud to announce I bloody love millennials. They keep me on my toes, they’re demanding and make me work harder every day. Our latest employee happiness survey testifies to that. There’s still work to do, but I’ll love doing it.

So how do we do it?

I’m not going to share too much of what we do, but our ‘Gain – Train – Retain’ process is built around core pillars:

  • Collective vision
  • 1-3-5 progression plans
  • Employee happiness programme
  • A programme of World Class performance
  • Clarity (based on the recently completed survey this, apparently, is the focus for the next quarter!)

I’d love to have the happiest place to work but I’d much rather be the most effective agency around. I think people get a real kick out of working with great clients and delivering great results, not using a slide to go to meetings. With that in mind, we’ll continue to expect a lot from our people because we know clients expect a lot from us.

What’s this leading me to say? What’s my point?

There isn’t one.

Wondering why I wrote this?

Because we always want the best people. And the best people have read to the end and know we’re a great place to work. I look forward to receiving your call or email. See you somewhere on the mountain.