If you have been following my blog for the last five months then you know that I am passionate about Human Resources and helping Millennials, Leaders, and Employers learn on how to Recruit, Engage, and Retain employees. The goal of this blog was to provide a Millennial insight on a variety of HR topics and issues. Today I would like to conclude and share with you an overview of what I have learned over the last five months of blogging, tweeting, and interviewing members of the Millennial Generation.
There are FIVE main things I have learned about the Millennial Generation:
- Purpose Driven
- We want to work for a company that aligns with our own personal goals and values. So it is very important for employers to have a strong Mission, Vision, and Values that can easily relate to its employees. Millennials want to understand and know how they make a difference and contribute. Overall we want to be happy with ourselves and the work we are doing.
- Career Paths
- We like to know to know where we are going next. We are the most educated generation in the workforce right now. We are a generation that enjoys constantly learning, growing, and developing ourselves. So it is important to have clear Career Paths outlined so that we know where future opportunities lie and what we need to do to get there.
- Contrary to popular belief Millennials do not know everything. Yes we are constantly learning but it means a lot when someone can take us under their wing and show us or give us experiences that we have not had a chance to have. Having someone to connect with and help us be successful shows us that you are invested in our success.
- Volunteering / Giving
- Encouraging or providing time for employees to volunteer or give back to a cause they are passionate about is a very important factor to engaging Millennials. Our generation is all about making a difference. Volunteering can also be a great teambuilding tool and a great way to create strong relationships to increase engagement. People enjoy giving back- it gives them a sense of pride/accomplishment and when they are doing it on behalf of your company it gives them a sense of pride in where they work.
- Lastly Millennials want consistent and constant feedback on how they are doing, as well as, how the company is doing. Constant communication is important for this Generation because it is something that we are very accustomed too.
In the end we are looking to work for a company that cares about us as individuals and that has a strong purpose that aligns with our values. I hope this information helps you understand the Millennial generation a little bit better and for more in-depth information on some of these topics please feel free to read other posts from my Blog.
It takes many different elements to become a great employer. Not only do you need great leadership to inspire and engage employees but you must have a culture and environment to match. In my past blog posts I have written more in depth about a number of different ways to help become a great employer. Everything from employee engagement (making sure you are measuring it correctly), employee wellness programs, career paths, mentoring, internships, networking, volunteering, training and more. All of these pieced together can help employers go from good to great.
Now you can’t just put programs and policies in place and expect it all to work flawlessly. There are some other elements that are required in order to create a great company culture. For example: Trust, Sense of Community/Ownership, Transparency, and strong Communication. There needs to be trust at all level of the organization; trust that the executive team has the organizations customers and its employee’s best interests at heart. Trust that the employees have the company’s best interests at heart, and lastly, trust between co-workers having that team/family mentality.
By creating & having that trust in all levels of the organization you can then start to build your community. A community that bans together because of a shared purpose. And by shared purpose I mean a strong mission, vision, and values that your employees can relate to and take ownership. When employees feel that they are making a difference, they take pride in their accomplishments as a team. Employers should shoot for that team mentality first within their own teams and then expand that to the entire organization.
Transparency and strong communication are other very important elements that go hand in hand with trust. Employees want leaders/organizations that are open about issues or problems that the company is facing. Who knows the lowest man in the organization might have the million dollar solution. Or sometimes many minds working together to solve a problem is better than one so being open and honest could be a benefit. Along with that transparency it is important for employers to have good communication with their employees; for example feedback. Employees need constant feedback; they want to know how they are doing, understand what they could do better, and vice versa provide their opinions/feedback about what’s going well and what needs improvement.
In the end what I am saying is that it takes more than pay, perks, and benefits to be a good employer you need passion, purpose, trust, transparency, and strong communication to be a great one. How great is your organization? Do you see some of these elements in your organization?
In the past few weeks I have been interviewing many different Millennials and getting their insight on what motivates and engages them. I have interviewed Millennial Leaders, Millennials in the Military, Millennials in large global companies, large national companies, Not-for-Profits, and small local companies. I have even interview a Baby Boomer and learned what it is like to work with a Millennial. Today I decided to interview a different type of Millennial, one in the Fire Service. I have a close friend whom I know to be a very genuine, kind, and hardworking person that serves our community so I asked him the following questions:
- At what age did you get accepted into the Fire Academy?
- Answer: I was 23 years old
- What influenced you to become a Fireman?
- Answer: Initially I started off wanting to be an engineer. But I quickly realized that I didn’t like sitting behind a desk all day, by myself. I had some friends that were currently working as fireman and they explained their day-to-day work and the different situations they faced. They explained how they got to help others in many different ways, and the gratification that the job provided. So it was after many in depth discussions with them that I decided that I wanted to also help others and feel that appreciation.
- Was there a lot of different variation in age as you started the Fire Academy or was everyone relatively the same age?
- Answer: When I was accepted into the fire academy the youngest person was 18 and the oldest person that 27. Now that I have been hired on to the Spark Fire Department I am the youngest firemen at the age of 24 and the oldest is 31. So there is some variation in age but most everyone is pretty young.
- What was it like to be a young Millennial in the Fire Service? Did you ever feel like you are treated differently or do you feel that you are treated the same as everyone else around you?
- Answer: In all honesty I feel like I am treated the same. In the fire department you are treated differently based on your work ethic, not really your age. What really makes a difference is your attitude, and if you are putting forth the effort, and if you are then you are treated with the respect you deserve.
- What do you like most about being a Fireman? What do you like least about being a Fireman?
- Answer: What I really enjoy the most is the teamwork, and the sense of comradery that this job offers. This job gives me a strong sense of purpose that you can’t find at a desk job. I really enjoy the people I work with and all that we can accomplish in the shift. As for the thing I like least about this job, well there isn’t really anything I don’t like about being a fireman, even when we witness bad/horrific things, or are faced with really stressful situations we are extremely supported by our leaders, my fellow fireman, and we have access to therapists if needed.
- What kinds of things does the Fire Service do to recognize and reward their employees?
- Answer: Every year they hold a commendation ceremony, where they are award, medals of valor, commendation bars, etc. They use this time to recognize those who went above and beyond, or if someone did something exceptionally courageous. They also recognize & choose an employee of the year, firefighter of the year, as well as give out medals to citizens who go above and beyond for their community. This public ceremony really makes those being recognized feel appreciated and feel great about the work that they do year round.
- Do you feel like you have opportunities to move up in the organization?
- Answer: Yes, they actually push you really hard to get you to move up, they encourage you and help to promote you. In the fire service we are given a “task book” and over each year if you can complete the tasks and show that you are proficient in the different areas listed then you can move on to the next task. Each task takes a year, and after your first three tasks, (three years) then you are eligible for to be promoted into Fire Apparatus operator which is the person that drives the fire trucks. Once you are promoted to an operator then you are able to “go at your own pace” when it comes to being promoted. Really the only reason people don’t get promoted is because they want to stay where they are. It’s a competitive and challenging process that helps us grow and develop as professionals.
In the end, what I learned from my interview with Connor Warren is that having a conducive work environment that aligns with your lifestyle is extremely important. Having a team that shows you respect, and not only encourages you, but helps to push you learn, grow, and move up professionally is a team that people want to be on. From what I learned from Firefighter Warren the Fire Service takes great care in who they choose to serve their community, but once chosen they take great care of you. This line of work provides a strong sense of purpose & pride, and the combination of all these things is what motivates these individuals day in and day out. So if you have ever received help from a fireman please go shake their hand and thank them for their dedication to their community.
Photo Credit: All photos were provided and approved by Connor Warren
Today I was fortunate enough to interview an extremely talented, young Millennial named Josh Grace. I know Josh to be a very energetic, dedicated, and passionate individual that loves what he does. I wanted to interview him today to see what it is about Healing HealthCare Systems that has kept him there for 7 years. So I asked him the following questions:
- What is your current job title? What company do you currently work for?
- Answer: I work for a company called Healing HealthCare systems, and I am currently the Senior Director of Project Management.
- How many employees does Healing HealthCare Systems currently employ?
- Answer: 17 employees total at the Reno site.
- How long have you worked for Healing HealthCare Systems?
- How did you get started with Healing HealthCare Systems?
- Answer: I found out about this company through a previous colleague/friend in my network. They knew I was looking for a job and called me about some opening with Healing HealthCare.
- What do you like most about working there?
- Answer: I really like our company’s mission (which is all about creating healing environments in healthcare settings) everyone is really mission driven and engaged in what we do. Every day we get to help patients and it’s very rewarding. I also really enjoy the level of autonomy that we have over our work. There is no one watching over your shoulder because there is a high level of trust that we will get our work done. Additionally, the company has created a really great environment where they allow us to be creative and make improvements as we see fit.
- What keeps you motivated & engaged in the workplace?
- Answer: Again the mission/ purpose of the company and also the people I work with is what keeps me motivated and engaged. I look forward coming to work every day to help people and I really enjoy working with a team that genuinely wants the same thing and who work towards the same goal.
- Do you feel like you have opportunities to move up in this organization?
- Answer: Absolutely, and I already have. When I started I was hired on as an assistant and almost immediately after starting I was able to create a new job description that utilized my professional strengths and moved up into a new role.
- Do you have a mentor within the organization? Or even outside the organization?
- Answer: Yes, I do personally. I consider our COO as someone I look up to and respect immensely. While we do not have a formal mentor program I do consider her to be my mentor. It’s been very rewarding to have her as a mentor because she has given me great input on decisions, and she has been very supportive of my personal goals and professional ambitions.
- What kinds of things does Healing HealthCare Systems do for its employees to recognize & reward them for their dedication & efforts?
- Answer: They reward us in many different ways, for instance we have a very competitive benefits package for such a small company- we have insurance and 401K. They also offer profit sharing options. Additionally every year there is are very generous bonuses handed out. Furthermore, we have 35 hour work weeks to encourage work life balance and we also eat lunches together each day and the company provides lunch for us very frequently. All of these things big and small make us feel appreciated for our dedication and efforts.
- What is it like to be a Millennial working for a company like Healing HealthCare Systems?
- Answer: Right now we have 7 out of 17 employees that are Millennials but our organization is really well structured to cater to millennial needs. We have a very flat organization that also provides a very fun and creative culture. It almost feels like a startup company but it isn’t. So to answer the question it is great to be a millennial work for a company like Healing Healthcare Systems.
Overall what I learned from my interview with Josh is that having a strong mission, a strong team, and a collaborative work environment is a great way to retain top millennial talent. Companies that encourage their teams to volunteer together, eat lunch together, as well as appreciates their employee’s opinions & input is one that will be highly sought after. Based off past interviews, and blog posts it’s easy to understand why Josh has stayed loyal to Healing HealthCare Systems for seven years. They provide a collaborative environment, great benefits, work life balance, and a sense of purpose to their employees. What drives you in the workplace? What are you passionate about?
Photo Credit: All Photos have been provided and approved by Josh Grace.
Winston Churchill said it best when he said, “We make a living by what we get, and we make a life by what we give.” In this blog post I would like to discuss the topic of volunteering. Volunteering for a purpose or cause that is important to you gives individuals a feeling of accomplishment. It allows people to contribute to something bigger than themselves.
When reading about the millennial generation, a key success factor in keeping them engaged is having a sense of purpose that they can relate to. For example, in a previous blog post, I asked Vanessa Wehrkamp an HR Generalist with Kinross Gold, “What do you like most about working for Kinross Gold?” She simply replied that she enjoyed working for a company that “practiced what they preached.” She expressed that Kinross’s values aligned with her own and she felt that her company walked the walk rather than just talking the talk.
I also received a similar answer in my interview with Morgan Iveson who is a Research Assistant with Charles River. She expressed that she loved her job because it gave her a strong sense of purpose. She felt that her work was extremely important because her small part could potentially contribute to a large cause or cure that could end up helping millions of people in the future. Her work gives her a strong sense of pride.
So what we can gather from these interviews? It is that Millennial’s need to feel that they have a purpose. They need to feel like they are able to contribute, and feel pride in that contribution. Now your company may not be in the business of mining gold or researching cures but there is a way you can provide your millennial workforce with that sense of purpose; Volunteering. By allowing your employees to volunteer individually, as a team, or as a company it can bring people together. It gives people a solid foundation in which to build strong working relationships with each other. Giving your time to help others makes people feel good.
If companies were able to set up a day, or half day a few times a year where you and your employees can go and volunteer together, this would increase engagement. When teams go and volunteer for a cause that they are passionate about it bring a sense of pride, and a sense of accomplishment to all. Having a paid volunteer day is a great tool to use when recruiting the millennial generation and it is a great idea for teambuilding activities. What are some volunteer activities you and your teams do together?