Millennials – Managing, Motivating & Retaining Them

Not everyone would agree, but I love when things change. I especially am excited about change particularly when the changes being applied optimize and improve what they are being applied towards. Having worked with thousands of people during my career, the most exciting generation of people I have encountered are the millennials. Why? Because they are so open to embracing change.

Managing people is probably one of the most challenging tasks to take on, especially to be able to manage them well and unselfishly. Yes, unselfishly, because in order to be a superb manager, you need to put the interests of those you are managing ahead of your own. When you do this, those who you are managing will at first potentially not notice, and when they do, they will then be surprised you are doing this, as this is not a management technique applied or embraced by all managers.

If you think of managing people from the perspective of acting as a coach or mentor, it allows you to mentally shift your thinking and begin to strategically adopt management methods which put your staff needs ahead of your own. When you put others needs ahead of yours, empower them to stretch beyond their comfort level, yet provide them with a safe zone in case of failure, people will respond and perform at a new level you might not imagine them to do so. This management concept works extremely well with millennials, as they are so open to trying new things, and actually crave doing so.

One of the best ways to motivate millennials is to ask them for their opinion, and how they might go about mapping out how to accomplish their role with limited direction from their manager. When you provide a millennial with freedom to in essence design their path forward, they will be more motivated in their role, as they feel they have a heightened sense of controlling the direction they are able to head towards. What you also might be surprised by, is that they will also be more willing to collaborate with the management team and their team peers because they do not feel the pressure of traditional methods of management constraint.

There are numerous books that have been written about motivating people in the workplace, but most of these books are based on motivational techniques which have been around for decades. Although many of the motivational techniques are still relevant, many of them will not be effective when they are applied to the millennial generation. I know this, because I have also managed, motivated and retained hundreds of people from this generation.

Unfortunately, this generation has gotten a potentially undeserved reputation for being selfish. I think this generation is misunderstood, and has been too easily labeled as being selfish due to management techniques not working on them. This is why management techniques to apply to the millennial generation are in need to being revised and adopted. The millennial generation is motivated by things which need to be factored into helping them to be successful. They care about our environment, eating healthy, taking care of themselves and doing what is best for society more than they are given credit for. When employers and management techniques are factored into account for these type of motivational examples, a true paradigm shift will occur.

The days of employees working at a company for more than 5-10 years is becoming a thing of the past, as most employees are averaging lengths of employment sub these numbers. Due to a highly fluid flow of millennial employees changing jobs so often, this puts enormous pressure on companies to try to retain them, even for 2-3 additional years. One of the largest expenses a company has is recruiting and on-boarding new employees. If they have to continuously do this, the strain on having to fund this company expense can have a severely negative impact on their bottom line. So, how do companies address this challenge?

One of the ways companies who have low millennial retention rates can turn this scenario around, is to create a culture that is appealing to them (e.g., offering them clear or varied career paths to consider, opportunities to engage with the local community during work hours, helping them to understand their innate strengths via specialized coaching, access to internal mentors on a regular basis and greater flexibility with when and where they work). Ironically, the things that appeal to the millennials, can be equally appealing to the rest of the employees, with some modifications to account for their culture and career satisfaction too.

Embracing instead of chafing against the millennial generation and the way they are managed, motivated and retained must be factored into a company’s structure of how to run a modern company. When this occurs, a company becomes far more appealing to work at, and in turn competitive in the industry they are competing in, especially since a significant amount of their employees are from or will be from the millennial generation.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at.

We also work with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. If you want results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

Start your day with comedy. It makes a big difference.

Chances are you have not regularly started your day off by laughing, but what if you did? I’m a huge fan of live comedy shows, but all of the live comedy shows I have gone to take place in the evening. Fortunately, there are ways to consume and enjoy listening to comedians any part of the day either via the internet, Sirius radio or any of the cable comedy shows you can queue up on-demand. The best thing about listening to comedy is that the majority of the time, I find myself laughing about what the comedian is talking about, and generally feel much happier and better after I do.

Comedy is a great stress relief, and sometimes you might begin your day with more stress than you expected. So, a quick remedy for this is to shut off the news, and instead find a comedian to listen to instead. I’m not saying you need to listen to comedy for hours, as the positive effects of listening and laughing can be gained in as few as 5-10 minutes.

If you think about it, comedians are a bit like food, as they come in so many different varieties. Finding the type of comedy you like can be a fun experiment, and if I’m still leveraging the food analogy, there is no concern about consuming too much of it. It’s all good for you, kind of like eating healthy.

Over the years my comedic genre has varied, but there are a few comedians who have always made me laugh, such as Steven Wright who has an incredibly dry sense of observational humor everyone can relate to, followed by Jim Gaffigan who is self-deprecating and has a variety of interesting personas he works into his routine. Nick Di Paolo is also one of my favorites, as I started listening to his humor when we were both students and friends at the University of Maine. However, Nick’s humor is not for the faint of heart, and if you do not mind a large dose of crudeness and a complete absence of political correctness commentary served up as humor, then you will appreciate why he makes me laugh.

As we know, workplaces are generally serious places. However, in my opinion, and based on what I have observed over the last two decades, I seriously believe there should be either dedicated or impromptu time carved out for people to have a chance to enjoy humor, or have some fun which allows them to laugh. As I mentioned earlier, you do not have to listen to comedy for hours to laugh, and sometimes you can watch comedic YouTube videos, read comedic stories or cartoons to have the same impact.

Since most businesses are for profit organizations, they are highly focused on achieving financial metrics which will allow them to reach profitability. How each business goes about reaching their goals is what separates the strong performers from the ones who come close to only breaking even or achieve only marginally impressive financial gains. The companies I have been involved with who have been enormously financially successful, are the ones who have a healthy blend of being serious about their achievements and splicing in the right dosages of fun and humor. This is typically driven by company culture, and I have written about the importance of developing the right company culture to assist with financial success as a key performing indicator.

If you have not considered weaving in a bit of humor at the beginning of your day, or at work, I strongly encourage you to consider doing so. Try this for a minimum of two weeks personally, but commit to infusing fun and humor into your business for at least a quarter. There are not guarantees in life, but I strongly believe you will take new delight in seeing what the end results are…financially. Have you already tried this? If not, what are you waiting for? Get going.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Regardless of the industry you are in, or the business stage you are at, Market Me Too expertly bridges  teams and provides companies with proven techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our results speak for themselves. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Persistence – A Business Super Power

Being persistent can produce amazing results, but it also takes dedication and patience. From my perspective, this is one of the greatest traits a business person can possess.

Some professions require greater amounts of persistence to obtain the experience or education to reach the top level in their field

Most people generally feel satisfied when they reach their goal.

What they all have in common is their internal drive or persistence.

Is being persistent an inherent trait, or can it be learned, perhaps by modeling the behavior of others?

Of course, there are varying degrees of persistence, but the most common level is one that allows a person to remain hyper focused on reaching their goal.

So how does one go about staying focused?

Some folks who have trouble getting focused rely on medication for help.

Others have used meditation, yoga, cardio workouts, or even diets that include nutritious food and elimination of sugar and highly-processed foods.

Whichever method works to help become more focused and then, eventually, more persistent is up to the individual.

The key to being persistent is also to surround yourself with people who can and will support you in the quest to reach your goals. Negative Nellies need not apply.

Identifying positive, can-do, people may be a challenge for some.  The easiest way to find optimists is to do some exploratory work.  Here are a few to get you started:

  • Would you describe yourself as a positive person? NOTE: This is to determine if they are capable of being supportive. If they are of the negative persuasion, chances are they will see all glasses as half full. Time to keep searching.

 

  • What helps you to focus and be persistent?

 

  • How did you pace yourself when you had a long journey ahead to reach your goal? Could you remain persistent for a sustained period of time?  What were your tricks?

 

  • Do you know anyone who has already achieved the goal(s) I am determined to reach?

 

  • Would you be willing to help/guide/support me during a certain identified time period?

For some folks, like me, it’s helpful to create a vision of the goal – one to keep in mind throughout the quest.

I have been writing professionally for years for technology-oriented companies, as well as numerous other firms in a variety of industries.  When I found out one of my articles was going to be published in Money Magazine, I recognized it as an acknowledgement by a publication I respected. One that reciprocated their respect for my business knowledge. I did not have a particular topic in mind when I started writing business articles, but instead envisioned reaching an audience that could relate to what I had to share.

Reaching this level of professional acknowledgement has taken me years. I had been persistently pursuing this goal for about a year. Prior to setting the goal to have my writing appear in a professional business publication, my dream was just that.  But as the saying goes, a dream without a goal is just a wish.

Thanks to my persistence, I have earned the recognition that comes after working for years in what could be referred to as the professional trenches. The fact my article debuted on Halloween was a real treat!

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: My first business book called Wisdom Whisperer, is now available via Amazon. Pick one up, or get one for your friend or colleague. I’ve been told this is a great gift for upcoming college graduates, but it is also highly suitable for people in all stages of their life and careers, as the book format is like a buffet, and you can choose to read or not read the topics which suit you best. In support of gift giving, for a limited time, Wisdom Whisperer’s price has been reduced to $16.99.

Hang in there. Or, should you?

Just when you think you can’t take one second longer of any situation you are in, by some miracle you find the ability to hang in there for one more hour, day or week. Where does this discipline come from? If you played on a competitive sports team, chances are this was one of the numerous valuable skills you acquired from being on any team.

Recently I heard a coach talk about the topic both players and parents dread. It was about playing time. His example was about a player who saw limited playing time on a championship team. He asked us what we thought this athlete would say if you asked them whether they contributed to helping the team win the championship?

The coach went on to tell us this athlete would say “yes”, they contributed to helping the team become champions. How did they do this or feel this way if they did not see much playing time? Actually, it is quite simple. They felt this way because they showed up at practice every day, learned the plays required, worked out and stayed healthy, cheered on their teammates from the sideline and committed to the team during the season. By doing these things they one hundred percent contributed to the team’s success. If they did not contribute their talent, energy, discipline and time, the players who got more playing time may not have been prepared well enough to compete and ultimately become a championship team.

Until hearing this coaches example, I had not considered this aspect of an athlete’s contribution to the team. Especially when they are not getting the playing time they deserve or are allocated. It became obvious to me that the limited playing time athlete is still making a valuable contribution to the team, although their desire to see more playing time is not happening during game time. However, it is happening when they are practicing and contributing to making them and their teammates better together.

I my opinion, the athletes who are getting less playing time are potentially more important and valuable to the team than those who are getting the playing time. However, this can be hard for the competitive natured athlete or parent to see and appreciate.

The point is, although you may not be in a starring role either on the field or at work, you are contributing to the overall success or forward progress of your team. Each team member plays a valuable role. Some roles have greater visibility, like the athlete on the field, but this does not make their role more important. In fact, those who are in less visible roles play an integral role in keeping the team together by acting as the “glue” or foundation. You might have heard of the expression “Half of our success in life is gained simply by showing up each day.” This is true both in sports and business.

So, it might be more obvious about when to quit your sports team, but I do not recommend doing this, even if you think you are not being recognized as a valuable asset to the team.

If you were chosen to be on the team, you were chosen for a reason. Although this might not be what you want to hear, you are needed on the team, and quitting it will not serve you well. The lessons you will learn by sticking out the season or your time commitment to the team will provide you with deep and lasting skills to take on future challenges far better than those who threw in the proverbial towel. Quitting is easy. Staying can be hard, but it will be worth it when you complete your commitment to the team. You will not regret staying on the team when you look back in time. You will regret quitting for the rest of your life.

Switching gears and now focusing on knowing when it’s time to quit your work team is not always a straightforward process. It should not be done with careful consideration. Why? One of the biggest reasons is because you made the decision to work for the company for a reason. Perhaps your reason to work at the company had not been thought through well enough in terms of whether it was the right type of company, role or team for you to be on from a personal or cultural perspective. I’m talking about company culture, and sometimes it is harder to know upfront if the company culture will be a good fit for you.

Typically, if it is not the right company culture for you, you will find out relatively early, and this is one of the good reasons to leave the company. Here are some other reasons or scenarios to think about it terms of whether it is acceptable to leave your company:

  • There are actions or practices happening at the company which you consider to be an ethical violation, either personally or professionally.
  • You learn after a few years that the growth path you thought would be available to you was only fiction, and you now find yourself in a role which does not have a path forward.
  • Your boss or management team is not supportive of your decisions, or you are being micro-managed and not allowed to perform the role you are responsible to carry out.
  • The job description for your job has been altered so much since you took on the position, perhaps not on paper, but by the verbal expectations communicated by your boss.
  • When companies are growing quickly, your job description may unofficially change dramatically, and may now be in poor alignment with your skills. This can happen, and how this scenario is managed is what will make the difference in terms of whether you should consider staying in your role or leaving the company.
  • You are offered an opportunity from another company which has presented itself at a time when you now have the skills to consider leaving your current role. If this option is not going to be available at your company for a year or more, consider whether it makes sense to stay with the known company, or take a risk in pursuit of your desired role sooner. Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side, and sometimes it’s not. It’s not always easy to know which one it is.

Whether we realize it or not, we all have options to pursue going after what we really want to do, and sometimes we have to take risks to do so. One of those risks can be leaving the company you are presently at. Leaving your company can be a scary thing to do, but it can also set you on a new and better career path.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: I will be publishing my first business book this month. If you would like more details about my book, please send me an email at kathymurphy@me.com . Thank you. – Kathy

Reputation – Do you have one?

Building your professional reputation is literally something you have been doing one day at a time since you joined the workforce. You have also built your reputation one company at a time, one team at a time, and perhaps one project at a time, too. In other words, every company, every person with whom you work, and the projects to which you have contributed are all part of what combines to define your professional reputation.

How you handle yourself in each and every encounter is also a contributing factor that either adds to or subtracts from the value of your reputation. So, what happens if you have built a solid and positive reputation and you do or say something that has a negative impact? Is it possible to recover?

The answer is yes and no, and time, in many cases can work in your favor. Why?  Because most people are more focused on themselves than you, and not everyone will remember all of the details of the incident in question.

It’s probably easy to name several people who have fallen prey to being victims either by self-sabotage or because of another person or group who negatively impacted the perceptions of others.

This is one reason people or companies hire public relations or crisis management firms to help mitigate the damage done to a brand due to a negative incident. Tylenol, Perrier, Exxon and other companies all had major incidents which severely tarnished the brand.

Both time and redrafting their messaging helped restore the brand back to either neutral, or took them out of the harsh spotlight of scrutiny.

Now think about people who have seen their reputation tarnished. It is painful to watch, and even more traumatic to experience.  People find out who their true friends and supporters are in these instances.

The folks who faired best when their reputation took a turn downwards were the ones who had high degrees of emotional intelligence, but more importantly, surrounded themselves with a support network to help to rebuild their personal brand.

Of course, we are all responsible of our own reputations, but having a strong professional support group, can work miracles.

This is possible because the supporter essentially acts as a reputation buffer when the crash occurs. Having these human ‘airbags’ takes serious and quality time to build, but once they are in place, unless the incident was completely egregious, or ethically challenging, most people will be able to play a support role in restoring someone else’s professional reputation.

On the flip side of one’s reputation being damaged is what most people work to achieve. To have a stellar reputation.

As we all know, good reputations are earned, over time.

Since social media can build or break a career, reputations need to be simultaneously guarded, but also nurtured. The speed at which this communication channel moves makes it both positive and negative in terms of having an impact on the professional perception others have of you.

There are safeguards to control some of the negative aspects of social media, but more importantly, the positive attributes should be optimized.  It’s okay to toot your own horn once in a while – perhaps you won an award, earned a certification, or made a significant contribution to a business project, maybe you volunteered time to a worthy cause . . . take a bow, and build your reputation.

Although no one wants to have an incident impact their professional reputation, it can happen. Although the immediate aftermath feels devastating you can recover.  Do not to let it define who you are.

Most people are good by nature, and there are more who will forget what you did than remember what happened, or when. Keep your chin up, do the right thing when faced with tough choices, and most importantly, do what you can to preserve your reputation when you have an opportunity.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: I will be publishing my first business book next month. Information about how to pre-order my book will be posted on my WordPress site in the next few days. If you would like more details about my book, please send me an email at kathymurphy@me.com . Thank you. – Kathy

Women of Isenberg Conference: The organizers of this conference at the University of Massachusetts flagship campus in Amherst, MA, have invited me back for a second time to talk about my career in Marketing. If you are in Amherst, MA on Saturday, please let me know, as I would happy to say hello to you. This conference is ‘sold out’, so put this as a must attend conference on your calendar in February 2019.