The Millennial generation is increasing in both size and importance. And, yet, we hear that Millennials are different from previous groups of workers and employees. Self-assured, experienced with technology, and wanting to learn -- these young people are ready to embrace the modern digital workplace. This episode explores Millennials and offers practical advice for employers and managers.

Dan Schawbel is the Founder of WorkplaceTrends.com, a research and advisory membership service for forward-thinking HR professionals, as well as the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. Lauren Brousell is a staff writer with CIO.com.

Millennials in the Workplace, with Dan Schawbel and Lauren Brousell

Michael:

(00:03) Millennials in the workplace, it’s a very important topic for companies of every size. And today on episode number 134 of CXOTalk, we have an interesting show. I’m Michael Krigsman and I am joined first off by a guest host, Lauren Brousell, who is a staff writer at cio.com and a millennial herself. Lauren how are you?

Lauren:

(00:38) I’m well, coming off of a Sunday where the Patriots won. I’m very happy this morning, how about you?

Michael:

(00:45) I am great, coming off a Sunday that was a beautiful day, and here in Boston we have yet another beautiful day, and Lauren we’re joined today by Dan Schawbel who is a millennial but he has also written two books, he runs a couple of companies doing both consulting and research and pretty interesting guy.

Dan:

(01:11) Happy to be here and thanks for having me on.

Michael:

(01:14) Dan, thank you so much for joining us, so let’s start by briefly give us a sense of your background and your professional focus.

Dan:

(01:26) Sure so I had my first internship at high school, seven more in college. I started my first business, my sophomore year at college doing website design. Then I spent three and a half years at a company called EMC Corporation, based in Hopkinton Massachusetts a big fortune 200 technology company. I had three different positions there. I went from product marketing to online marketing, to create the first ever social media position, and I created that position based on the work I done outside of work on nights and weekends. So I started a blog, (blog trends? 01:55) a week a sort of magazine all under the idea of personal branding and positioning myself as the millennial person focus on that topic.

(02:05) And from there I started writing a book proposal because I was fascinated by the fact that I was kind of building my brand online, and then internally I got this new opportunity because (vast companies? 02:17) had profiled me and then my book came out April 2009. And then from there I started my first company Millennial Branding in January 2010, and then from there I started WorkplaceTrends.com, which is research membership service for HR professionals.

(02:40) I’m now working my 26 primary (dropped words in broadcast 02:41) since 2012, so funded about half a million dollars of funding and I’m working on several other projects but my main focus is on the workplace, especially helping and supporting my generation from student to CEO.

Michael:

(03:06) So, how do you get all the stuff done? I mean you’ve been doing a lot of things, how do you get it all done?

Dan:

(03:12) Well it used to be zero work/life balance and I think life is more about integration now and because of how technology has changed everything for us. But when I first started I recognized that if I wanted to be successful long term I had to make short term sacrifices. So you know, I worked for 40, 50, maybe even 60 hours a week at EMC and outside of work, I would come home and start writing, and writing and building. You know, in everything I was doing, so we’re talking over 100 hours a week.

(03:42) I used to call my apartment in Waltham, Massachusetts the cave because I wouldn’t really go out unless I was going to work, like commuting 45 minutes to work at Hopkinton. And then slowly slowly I was building, and watching and getting more opportunities and now I probably – I don’t even consider I work at this point. But I would say I probably work about 60 hours a week, seven days a week. 

Lauren:

(04:13) So when did you realize that millennials was the thing? I know it’s something we hear about all the time now on every different industry and topic, but when did you sort of realize that that was something you could build off of.

Dan:

(04:27) Well because my first angle was being a personal brainy expert from a millennial standpoint, and so I knew that my generation was all creating these profiles on Facebook, and Twitter and everywhere and that they started to understand the power of leveraging this to boost your career. But I was like in the forefront in 2006 before, you know when LinkedIn was even that popular, I was writing about how to best use LinkedIn for you career. And then I realized that and I saw some statistics that said millennials would 75% of the global workforce by 2025 and I was a millennial, and I was already focused on career paths and I wanted to kind of transition to you know the second book and everything I was doing that would promote yourself.

 (05:13) And it was up for an easy segue way because I was already a millennial so I was already somewhat qualified. I was already doing a lot of research and everything kind of clicked and I thought I knew the direction to go with, And then I created this larger mission of helping my generation from you know, when I was in college and growing with them and so they were taking over and leading companies.

(05:36) So everything kind of clicked at once, but all the pieces were being put together over a longer period of time.

Michael:

(05:44) So tell us about your book. Tell us about your book about yourself, what is the story behind that, why did you write it and what’s the focus?

Dan:

(05:56) Well Promote Yourself is a continuation of my first book, Me 2.0. Me 2.0 was supporting millennials in the phase of going from college to first job. To promote yourself, think of it is you have your first job, how do you get a head? How do you get to that management level position? So I partnered with American Express to do a study of millennials and their managers in America.

(06:20) So I found various things like managers were looking for great communicators, people who can best manage their time and manage projects, and team players. Those are the top three things that their looking for, among other things but really a focus on soft skills. So that’s a huge chapter in the book, probably like 45 pages.

(06:39) So why was I curious? I was a millennial, I was that millennial worker who was trying to move up in a company and I did twice. And I wanted to basically demystify the art of getting ahead. The art of you know, moving up in a corporation especially to the management level.

Michael:

(06:58) You talk about the new workplace, what is the new workplace and the rules associated with it.

Dan:

(07:06) I think one of the big rules that really puts a lot of stress on the the worker now, so if you do a survey, and we’ve done surveys on this, what is the biggest challenge for professionals, they would say that ain’t relevant, because the world is constantly changing, and you have to adapt to change and that’s kind of one of the new rules is, you know understand that things are changing quickly. You have to understand what the new technologies are, you have to understand the best way of doing your work is at that given point in time, are you a good problem solver.

(07:36) And you have to understand the skills you have today might not be relevant in two years. And the job you have today might transform in the next five years. So not only be looking to get the skills you have today and brush up on kind of those skills. But always look on what’s the next thing, what’s the next thing, what’s the next thing. And if you do that you’ll be ahead of the curve and you’ll be able to transition into huge opportunities because you’ll already have the skills before everyone else.

(08:02) Reputation is currency, meaning that people are moving from job to job so much now. I mean millennials move from job to job every two years. I think it’s over 40% of millennials think you should only stay in a job for under a year.

(08:14) So it’s you know, 60% of all professionals in America, once they get a job, they’re always looking for their next job. This is the climate we live in and because of that comes a little bit less in the way of working and more about the reputation that you’re building in the public and in a company because that’s the one thing that’s mainly transferable.

(08:36) Another thing is multiple generations at work. Starting in May, generation Z will enter the workforce, so you have gen Z with millennials, gen X, boomers. So there is a technology gap, there is a lot to be learned here. 10,000 boomers retiring every day, so the goal for the younger generations is to partner with older generations to kind of get that intelligence, knowledge so when boomers retire you’re kind of in position to lead the next generation of companies.

(09:05) In terms of job descriptions, all you do is what you were assigned, you won’t get a head now. Now you might even be replaced. So you, as the person who is accountable to your own career, have to constantly get intelligence more than your job description if you want to get ahead. Jobs are very temporary. Your company could be acquired, it can be merged. So many different things could happen, you can be laid off a company, it can go under, so you always have to be prepared for that next step and that’s your responsibility.

(09:32) And then the last thing is your personal life is now public. What you stay online and that’s how you’re treated in the workplace. And what you do offline can affect how others talk about you online. So everything is very interrelated now. So you have to be much more careful, much more conscious about what you’re putting out to the world.

Lauren:

(09:54) So what role do you think millennials play in this new workplace. I mean we’ve covered technology, that’s an obvious one, but what sorts of things do you think they’re driving forward in terms of effecting the other generations and how they’ve always approached their work?

Dan:

(10:10) I think the biggest one, the one that most people get excited about when I tell them about it is you know, uncovering the why. Why are we doing this today, how are you giving back to the community. So we’ve done a ton of research worldwide on this and millennials especially strive to help the world. They want to make a difference.

(10:30) So companies have to show them how their products and services benefit society, and they need to be able to support their local communities. So if you are a big company but you have a site in Connecticut you’ve got to be able to somehow support your local community and maybe have millennials volunteer as part of that support group, so you can show them that you’re not just in business to make money. That’s the really big one.

(10:53) The other one I think flexibility is one of the things that everyone wants. You know, I’m working with people right now and I think that more and more people are willing to take a pay cut for that flexibility to promote, or at Starbucks, your co-working space. So every generation now is going to demand ever more than that.

(11:21) And then there going to be this huge baby boom in the next three to five years of all these millennials, 80 million millennials in America, having babies, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on companies to have these work/flexibility programs. And if you don’t you might lose good talent even if you’re a good company.

(11:26) Then I think speed of change has had a huge impact to. If there company is not high growth or at least don’t have a division that’s high growth it’s going to be very hard to attract my generation.

(11:36) You Know we’re all about the companies that are moving fast, that are high growth, that are exciting, that are changing. Though the companies that you know have the same stock prices they did five year ago, they’re in big trouble. And it’s harder for the big companies to adjust the new realities of the new workplace and build culture that reflect millennial interest.

Michael:

(11:59) So how do you make yourself being worthy of being talked about. In your book you say, ‘You’ve got to make yourself worthy to be talked about.’ Tell us how to do that Dan.

Dan:

(12:09) Sure, so again you focus on what’s assigned to you, you master it so you become the best at it in the organization. And then you make sure that your employer, manager sees how good of a job you’re doing. And when they do they’re more likely to give you more responsibilities, bigger projects. And those projects come with more visibility, more connections.

Michael:

(12:35) And so tell us the steps. You want to be worthy, you want to develop a personal brand, how do you do that? Obviously it’s harder than it seems.

Dan:

(12:47) Yeah, you need niche expertise, right. You need to be the best at what you do for a specific audience. That’s kind of how you position yourself in the marketplace now. So if you think about it in the workplace, you know are you the best at Microsoft XL formulas. It could be as simple as that. And if you are so good at something that’s becoming more valuable to your company or it currently is, then people will naturally seek you out.

(13:12) I mean the best example is when I had the first social media position at this fortune 200 company, everyone in the company knew because they knew I was the resource. I kept working on these projects and do word of mouth. People from around the world would contact me and be like, we’re looking to do this you know campaign on Twitter. We’re looking to figure how to use Foursquare at this conference.

(13:33) So that created a lot of value for me and excitement and I think that’s what you need to do is you really need to triple down on your strengths, and finds something that the company needs or is kind of underserved or you know like true expert whose focused on it.

Lauren:

(13:48) So when you sort of self-appoint yourself as that expert in house at your company, and you’ve got that you know on solid ground, how do you go forward and publicize that so more people know about it beyond the walls of your actual company?

Dan:

(14:05) Well I think it’s one by one so you know, each person you affect will potentially tell five people, and then the other thing is a lot of these companies – my old company we had internal networks where you kind of passively promote your expertise. Whether it’s the expertise you’re know for inside the company or outside the company, and you know over time if you’re really good, one person will talk to you and through word of mouth like any other brand that has ever been created you know it will grow. Especially with online branding and marketing you can grow exponentially.

(14:39) But again outside of the workplace it’s extremely hard to break through now. Even I, if I were to start today it would be very hard. I started in 2006, less competition. If you blogged back in 2006, people would find you. People on today you have to spend like a ton of time just to get that blog post seen, so different climate out of the corporate world right now.

Lauren:

(15:03) What would your advice be to somebody that would want you know, go down that entrepreneurial sort of path right now, given the level of competition you mentioned.

Dan:

(15:14) Yeah, I think it has to do with quality and quantity and I think I did and part of the reason why I broke in years ago was because I did 10 to 12 blog posts a week and I commented on every blog in the world. I would even mention personal branding and I think that strategy still works. But its effort, so it has to be something you really care about and you’re committed to otherwise it’s not going to work. Plus you have to give it at least six month. You have to at least give it six month.

(15:40) A lot of people they don’t see results immediately, we live in a very instant gratification society, if they’re not getting you know, into the New York Times in a week they give up. So six months, focus on it. If it doesn’t work and you’re still entrepreneurial try a different topic and do that, so at least give it six month.

Michael:

(16:01) So six month of focus, and you’re saying that this is to develop an online personal brand inside the organization as opposed to…

Dan:

(16:14) I would actually say both. Outside definitely. I thought we were talking about outside, but internally it takes time. Because remember you have to affect people and people have to get to know you and recognize you and it takes six month to be a fully productive employee in your company anyways.

(16:29) You have to know who you you’re working with, you have to get a scope of your training, what you’re selling and services and products and people and there’s a lot to this. So I think six months is your time to really boggle down, focus, become the best at what you do and then start shining you know, at the end of that six month period when you are already trained and already know who to network with.

(16:53) But what I’m trying to say and the most important thing from this is things aren’t going to happen overnight. I mean there’s no overnight success, it takes a long time. I mean the only reason why I would get another book deal or found another company is because I’ve done like over 100 speeches, over a 1000 articles. I’ve interviewed 1500 people. I’ve done you know 26 research stats. All of this adds up and it enables me to make other decisions.

(17:20) But if you’re just starting out you want to just write one article, like it’s baby steps. It’s what you do every day that’s going to lead eventually to your goals, even if you’re not getting paid every day to do that. So it is that sacrifice and anyone like who I communicate with who is willing to make those sacrifices – oh I’ll speak at this college for free. It all starts off like that. I spoke for three years for free at all the colleges in Boston and all these places, and now I’m getting paid a significant amount of money just to speak for an hour. So that wouldn’t happen unless I fine-tuned myself, unless I practice and unless I hone my content, and like bought endorsements and videos from those events.

(18:01) So it’s all about marketing yourself, it’s all about – for me it’s about associating yourself with the brand. So if you look at my bio in every sentence there is at least one brand that you recognize, and it’s because is my thought is if you don’t know me this brand you have heard, so through that brand association I have more credibility. So that’s why I think we graduate and everything you do (unclear 18:27) and capacity and partnerships, who you work for, who you write for, everything because then long-term it makes your life a lot easier.

Michael:

(18:36) So you basically leveraging the third party brands reputation, associating yourself with that in order to propel your personal brand reputation.

Dan:

(18:49) Absolutely so people don’t know you they’ve heard of these brands and through those brands people start to know you. That’s the logic that I’ve had since the beginning for like eight years or so.

Michael:

(19:01) And what about this notion of being your own publicist, that’s obviously very connected with this as well.

Dan:

(19:07) Well I think the larger perspective is its people won’t invest in you unless you invest in yourself first and you are your own best publicist. So no one is going to talk highly about you unless you kind of create your brand first and you put the effort in. You know, so it’s all about like creating this tidal wave. You know, like it’s the first press  is the hardest to get. It’s the first book deal is the hardest to get. The first internship is the hardest to get, the first job hire is hardest to get. So because of that you have to kind of sort of market yourself. Maybe you give freelance projects. You’ve got to do something in order to prove that you have intelligence, that you have results. And then through that you can start to break in, you can start to get more opportunities. Through pitching yourself to all of these outlets you just need a few, and you break in and you say it was already featured in these places. You know, you should feature me and all these things.

(19:53) So eventually the door is open. It’s the most challenging to open the first few doors because you have no track record. So through life, your goal is how do I get a track record and reputation as quick as I can so I can then start to build upon that.

Michael:

(20:12) So you’re constantly pitching.

Dan:

(20:13) It’s a race to get enough credibility as quick as possible and then grow from there.

Michael:

(20:19) Are you constantly pitching or at that time constantly out pitching and how did that work. What were you pitching and how did you go about doing it?

Dan:

(20:27) I would say my whole life is a pitch at this point. I mean literally whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing every day I’m pitching. I’m pitching right now in a sense indirectly. But you know, pitching to get new clients, pitching to get my research in the media. It’s just pitch, pitch, pitch, pitch. You’re always selling yourself and if you’re not doing that and you don’t have a sales team, then no one’s going to sell you and your competitors or other people will get the publicity and they’ll get the clients and you’ll lose out.

(20:57) It’s a very competitive nature. I mean you’re going to get people from around the world, and if you’re not seen and if you’re not positioned well, you google workplace expert or career expert, or millennial expert or you know, workplace speaker, personal branding, you’re going to get me on either on number one or number two so it’s a positioning game. It’s a fight to get noticed. You know it’s like a fight to get noticed and that you have the opportunity to potentially get new clients and move visibility and more opportunities.

Lauren:

(21:27) So in terms of the personal branding aspect that take place on social media, what are some of the golden rules that you follow so that you know you do get noticed on social media among all the noise.

Dan:

(21:42) It’s interesting, so I always admit that I used social media heavily when I was first starting out. There was less competition. It felt natural and as part of my personal branding platform I had to do it.

(21:54) Now I rarely use it, and I rarely use it because it’s extremely competitive. So if you Tweet – back in 2006/2007, you tweet and you have let’s say 200 followers most of them are going to see what you wrote.

(22:10) Now, I have hundreds and thousands of followers and fewer people actually read it. so it ends up being, where do you spend your time, and because the way I sell is B2B it doesn’t make as much sense.

(22:22) People know I’m on social media, but if I want to sell I’ll send you an email, I’m speaking in your conference, I’m going to meet you for lunch in New York. It’s different because of the nature of what I do and because I recognize that the social media impact of what I’m trying to do is not as significant and you only have so much time if you work in several businesses and projects, so where do you spend your time.

(22:45) But if I was to revert to how I normally do it based on your question I would say you know, make it more about the followership because then you’ll get more followers rather than self-promotion. But at the same time one out of let’s say 10 tweets should be some sort of self-promotion, so that people can see that you’re credible again and you’re refreshing. Plus maybe you are trying to self-market or trying to get a job or you have some sort of goal then you need that. If all you do is soft sell and you never make a hard sell your goals won’t be met.

(23:17) So I think you need both, but I think you need more value generation and giving and support and resource, and giving resources away rather than self-promoting all the time.

Lauren:

(23:26) So your advice is to really just way the relevancy of social media towards your actual goals or whatever you’re doing you know to just see whether it’s a real fit for you know, worth your time.

Dan:

(23:40) For you it’s perfect right. If you’re in journalism you not only have to do it, you not only have to promote your articles and what not on it. But it’s how you find out about news. So you wake up in the morning and like, so what do I cover. Then you go on Twitter and you’re like, these are trending, maybe I can highlight this into a CIO story. Then you come off and maybe you reach out to people you already see on Twitter who are talking about it. So there’s a great angle for you there but not as powerful as for some other people.

Michael:

(24:10) Now how do you create an evangelist. That’s part of your program is you need to have evangelists working on your behalf so to speak.

Dan:

(24:19) Absolutely.

Michael:

(24:20) How do you do that? How do you create those evangelists?

Dan:

(24:22) I think part of it is you find these people and let’s say in the workplace to give you context, then you see that they’re having trouble getting all their work done or they need help, or you see what they’re doing and you think you can do a better job or help them improve or something and you add value without asking for anything in return. And once you start to help out other people without asking for anything, people will want to evangelize you. They’ll want to help you out and reciprocate. So think about like book before it launches actually. I’m going to help and promote every single author I can find, then a percentage of those authors will want to reciprocate and then my book will be successful.

(25:04) It’s just one example but a lot of my author peers do the same strategy. So what I’ve developed for years is help everyone else out, support them, and now these people will start talking about you. They’ll start to support the projects that you do naturally because you thought about them first.

Lauren:

(25:21) It’s good karma!

Dan:

(25:23) That to. Not everyone will reciprocate. It’s all about percentages. Life is about percentages, you know and that’s why you see so many people like we were saying earlier like submitting a million resumes for each job. It’s because if I submit a 100 resumes, maybe I’ll get three interviews and one of those interviews will turn into my next job. That’s the logic that people have, which is not always the smartest logic because then they’re just applying for these random positions and they don’t fit in the corporate culture and they’re unhappy and everyone ends up losing anyways.

Michael:

(25:54) So the key here then is to be constantly helping other people out essentially.

Dan:

(26:01) That’s it. I mean that’s what business is, what life is, that’s everything. So here’s what’s interesting. When I was in college, you know I go to these network events to be scared at these networking events because I thought my perception was I have to go over to these people and say can you give me a job. Can you hire me, can you refer me, and that was very uncomfortable for me back then.

(26:23) And then through blogging, blogging made me realize, wow, I’m writing 10 to 12 blog posts a week and no one’s reading it. I mean I really like it and I think it’s important and I’m willing to give and help people without really asking for anything. There is no advertising or anything, and from there it just spiraled. Now, I’ll just reach out to so many people, help people. People ask for my help, so I almost create this community that’s networking people who know that you can help them in your value. And if I emailed them they’d probably help me. So it just feels better and it’s very hard for me to go up to the right person and say can you do this for me if they don’t even know who I am.

(26:59) So I think giving in general like it’s if you’re a company you give value. And that value is in the form of a product or a service. So you’re helping people and as a result you’re helping people with their product and service that people need. People will buy it and your company will be profitable.

Michael:

(27:17) Very different from the kind of notion cut throat business where everybody around you is your competitor and you have to undermine them in politics, I mean it’s a very different approach.

(27:28) Yeah, I think I get it from probably my dad and uncle, whereas they had their own company and they didn’t fund mine. I’m self-funded but you know, they were all about you know the soft sell. You know my dad is you know I look at him and he’s like your best friend. And buying from your best friend is pretty easy comparing from buying from a stranger or someone who is soliciting you.  

Michael:

(27:53) So let’s talk about millennials, and we here about Gen X and Gen Y and on your website you also talk about Gen Alpha and there’s Gen Z. So when we talk about millennials what are we talking about here.

Dan:

(28:08) So millennials and Gen Y means the same thing. They’re interchangeable and now I’m going to presentations and making sure it just says millennials  because people more and more are familiar with the term millennials because of the media rather than Gen Y. And these are people born between the dates I use 1982 and 1993, and I was born 1983 and you know, there’s 18 million of them. They are the largest percentage of the workforce, compared to boomers and gen X right now as of this year.

(28:35) There is actually a study by (unclear 28:37) that came out and showed that compared to older generations, millennials do not consider themselves as millennials. You know boomers more so consider themselves as boomers. Gen X consider themselves as gen X, but millennials do not consider themselves as millennial which is interesting.

(28:53) But I think it’s about pride. But the most diverse generation, the most educated generation, the most connected generation until you see gen Z who enters the workforce next year. And I think that you know expectations are much different. You know we were raised with my parents – you know,  I threw them away, I had all of these soccer trophies and you know everyone gets a trophy as how we are more categorized, and we never really won any of the games but everyone was given a trophy just for playing.

(29:23) And so we were told we were special. So we get to this workplace and this is why companies who customize products and services for millennials that’s why they’re doing pretty well because that’s part of what we look for, but also in the workplace they have these high expectations, and you head into the workplace and it’s like an old environment. There’s cubicle’s and you know it’s the same command and control structure that’s always been with boomers.

(29:47) And with millennials, you know we did a research study that what we uncovered was that they’re all transformational leaders, so they want to encourage and support others, and they care about a business that is supporting the world and not just making money. So it’s just a different type of person with a different type of approach. And whereas older generations fear them, I think that you know it’s really time to support them because a fourth are managers as of this year and most complaints they have is that they are unprepared for these positions.

(30:18) So you have all these boomers retiring and you know you’re going to have 20 million in the next five years retire and millennials you know becoming the leaders in these companies, yet they’re unprepared. So I think companies need to do a better job with leadership development programs and supporting millennials in terms of mentoring, shadowing, online learning. You know most companies have these training manuals still where millennials want the online learning.

(30:43) So I think we need to start engaging millennials in a new way in which supports them, so that when they’re in these positions that they’ll be successful and not fail and we can’t afford to have the millennials fail these positions because there are so many of them and because so many boomers retiring. And so they need to be set up for success and that’s the company’s responsibility to start to kind of evolve the workplace in order to support this new generation.

Lauren:

(31:07) So how much do you think that technology is driving the millennials ‘high expectation’ and also they’re tending to shake things up.

Dan:

(31:18) Well I think so it ends up being culture. You know the nature in which they grew up. Technology and the economy, you know these are the biggest things that have impacted millennials. Economy of course delayed them to, so they put off buying cars, buying houses, having families, getting married, you know having children you know all of these things.

(31:42) From a cultural standpoint you know parents were a big influencer in their lives. In terms of their career and their purchasing decisions. And then from a technology standpoint, you know we grew up with technology that was revolutionizing the world. Where like the Facebook generation and the social network movie was basically made for us and it’s influenced millennials. Everyone has an app now, you know so we look at millennials and a lot of them work for companies, but they always have these side projects. It’s like the side gig generation.

(32:13) You know it’s almost like everyone’s an entrepreneur now, and we did a study of this a few years ago that said 90% of millennials view entrepreneurship as a mindset instead of the role of business owners. So it’s very entrepreneurial and I think every generation will become more entrepreneurial. You see teenagers who are giving Ted Talks now, so those generations it’s huge changes.

(32:31) And the technology gap is getting really wide, and it’s making older generations very uncomfortable, because it’s not easy – I’m telling you, I mean even for my parents to understand how to instant messages is becoming complicated and just from text messaging I think from last year. So this gap is really going to cause a problem for older generations and just all generations in terms of how they communicate in their relationships and in the workplace.

Lauren:

(32:55) So my other question is about Generation Z, which is the generation just under the millennial generation. So if millennials are pushing these high expectations, you know this expectation of the latest technology is at their fingertips in the workplace, what do you see that Generation Z will bring to the table when they enter the workplace.

Dan:

(33:17) So we have predictions. We did a study with (Randstad? 33:20) of a 1000 millennials and a 1000 Gen Z from 10 different countries and it’s just preliminary because they are not in the workforce. But we think they might be more loyal because they see millennials jumping from job to job and they want more stability, especially because they recovered from the recession and this $1.3 trillion to (unclear 33:40).

(33:40) They’re more entrepreneurial. And again I think every generation will become more entrepreneurial because of access to information, resources, and people and that grows on a by second basis. And then the other thing is they are going to use technology more to ge the work done and accomplish tasks which is no surprise.

Lauren:

(33:59) Yeah, another big part of the millennial topics that are talked a lot about out there are the perceptions around the generation, you know the fact that millennials are job hoppers, they need a lot of feedback and hand holding, they are never satisfied, they always want cool workspaces and not those cubicles and boring office spaces. So in your experience what’s the most ridiculous one that you’ve heard that you feel really…

Dan:

(34:28) This is easy. So in the Wall Street Journal the craziest one I’ve heard is that I always get these expressions of discontent and surprise like when I present in front of these crowds, and it’s 8% of millennials have brought a parent to a job interview. At Google they have a whole waiting area for parents. So it just shows you how the parents have such an impact on their lives and how closely connected they are.

(34:57) And in terms of decision making you know convincing a parent that you’re a great company is pretty important, because you know you have all these companies like LinkedIn, they have bring your parent to work day, and they have that and my dad brought me to work but I guess he was the owner. That’s what you’re going to start seeing, of the idea of work and life becoming even more blended through integrating parents and managers integrating where people work, you know holding (these jobs? 35:31), being able to use technology to do whatever you want whenever you want. You know people living online, people living on their phone and that being intertwined with whatever they do for work.

(35:43) I mean it’s kind of chaos in some ways, but it’s the nature of how this world is being brought together through mobile phones, tablets, and computers.

Michael:

(35:53) So how can employers create an attractive workplace for millennials.

Dan:

(35:59) Yeah, number one is you need to figure out how you’re serving your world, serving the local communities and then how the millennial and what you want a daily basis is part of that overall mission by basically communicating that to them. showing them, hey, you know these tasks that you are doing it helps the team. This is how it helps the manager. This is how it helps the organization. This is how it helps the customers, and this is how it helps the world to draw on those connections is important.

(36:28) I think again flexible workplace we discussed earlier that’s essential, and allowing them to work from home one day. We find a co-working space for them, you know basically being flexible in terms of their hours, everything and making it more about results rather than hours worked, or time spent at work or where work is being done.

(36:48) Another thing is flexibility and another thing is letting them get involved with discussions, so you know, just because you have 50,000 plus organization, why not have the millennials to see what’s going on in the boardroom. Why not have a flat organization in terms of how people are communicating and spreading information.

(37:11) They want their voice to be heard and I don’t blame them. I think Gen Z is going to want that. the other thing you know I think is very special, the want a very transparent workplace with honest leaders. That is the number one leadership take they are looking for is honest leadership.

(37:28) So in terms of promoting leaders, and in terms of having managers and directors and VPs through the organization, honesty is very important and vision and then transparency. I mean you look at wholefoods and you look up in wholefoods how much everyone is making. So salary transparency is very important and that’s part of how the gender wage gap is going to close, s I’m kind of bolshie about that.

(37:54) You know if you think about millennials, they don’t trust politicians, you know this is why they might like Donald Trump or Bernie sanders because you’re getting what you’re getting. It’s not like you know, you have all the Clintons, the Bushes. They know they are getting what they’re getting and that’s why they cling to them more.

(38:13) But overall I think that you know, politicians, companies, CEOs, all these people that often let millennials down you know with the recession and everything. So anyone whose honest with them they’ll be able to connect with more.

Michael:

(38:26) We have a couple of comments about the stat that you mentioned of people bringing their parents to job interviews. So Christopher Michael who has actually been a guest on CXOTalk is wondering what percentage of those people got the job and Ryan Brady is wondering the same. You can’t even imagine this, unless the parent is the interviewer, so show a little bit more color on this issue.

Dan:

(39:00) I mean after that stat I don’t know how it was broken down. I don’t know if there were follow-up questions asked. That’s just the stat that had popped out to me a while ago and that I typically include a presentations, just to show the closeness of millennials with their parents and how that impacts working relationships and job interviews and everything else.

(39:18) So I don’t know at that level. I believe it was done about a deco ago, so if you want to check that out, that could be of interest to you. But it’s just one instance, you know, we’ve done studies that show in terms of purchasing power, or in terms of where they work, parents have this huge huge impact and because a lot of millennials are still living with their parents

Michael:

(39:44) So the point it they’re close with their parent and their parents have an influence on the things that they do.

Dan:

(39:51) Which is really important from a hiring perspective. It’s important from a consumer perspective. I mean it’s an overall trend that cuts across every facet of life.

Lauren:

(40:00) I want to quickly go back to the question around the millennial perception. What perception have you heard do you think actually hurts the millennial generation the most and is a source of tension between millennials and other generations that they encounter at the workplace.

Dan:

(40:18) The most common ones are entitled narcissistic, not focused, lazy, those are the ones I get probably the most. I would say that the whole idea of entitlement is pretty interesting because, I mean maybe it’s somewhat true in some regards. But in many regards you know it’s like these millennials, they want to accelerate business, they want to be part of it. they want to be involved in discussions. And so some of their actions where they might think are harmless, older generations are fearful and think they’re going to lose their roles or what not, so that there is definitely some intuitively narcissistic element.

(40:59) I think that what millennials have done is that they’ve impacted the behavior of older generations because now if you’re a grandmother you’ve got to figure out Facebook in order to see pictures of your grandchildren. Like older generations have to adopt some of these platforms in order to connect with their sons and daughters. And because of that, while millennials share everything about their life older generations also have to, so everyone at some level is somewhat narcissistic in that regard.

(41:30) And then lazy, you know every generation calls the up and coming generation lazy. I think it’s because the way in which older generations do work is slightly different right. It’s like, you know more separation between work and life, you know more nine to five, more routine. Where the younger generation don’t understand any of that, they think that makes no sense because the worlds changed so much and you know, why can’t I work from you know three to six at home, when I can accomplish this or more.

Michael:

(42:03) So we have just a few minutes left, and so we’ve spoken a lot about what employers should do, but what should millennials do trying to fit into modern day corporations and advance their career while living a peaceful cooperative life with their employers, what should millennials do?

Dan:

(42:27) Well I think the most important thing from a corporate perspective is setting out expectations. I always bring that up, but from a millennials standpoint if they don’t see expectations you have to get them in the interviews and say you know, this is what the next three to five years is going to look like and if that not what you want your career journey to be then don’t work with that company.

(42:46) So you need to start being more transparent, more honest and more upfront about expectations from both sides. From a millennial standpoint they have to recognize that older generations are more inclined to these meetings, and that base time will always become the most important thing for building a relationship. So use the technology to create more base time situations. That’s what I’ve always done. I’m an introvert. I use technology to connect all these people, and then with a percentage of them I set up one stage to meet with them in person and that trends to be pretty effective.

(43:18) So use the technology to create in person situations. And then I would say understand the stereotypes and then seek to kind of surprise older generations by working harder and longer and whatever you need to do.

Michael:

(43:35) Lauren, we have two minutes left. Do you want to have the last word or the last question.

Lauren:

(43:40) I guess what would your advice be for companies that are having trouble standing out among the hot startups and tech companies and how can they really you know, get to the forefront and appeal to these millennials and show them that they’re great places to work outside of what you see as the dream place to work?

Dan:

(44:04) I think it’s a challenge for big companies, because you can’t like rewind and you know, if you’re a dinosaur you can’t go back in time and be a dinosaur. You know you can’t go back in time and be like you know human right. So because of that you have to make these small shifts over time and I mean the goal if you can do it is to have like a startup culture within the bigger company in that way you know and kind of support millennials in the fact that if they have good ideas, you can kind of become like a venture capitalist and support their ideas within the company. I think that is what we’re seeing. So these big companies are competing against millennials who could work as a competitor or who could start their own company, be a freelancer or do something else.

(44:46) So in order to compete against that, you have to give them in the company the same benefits or similar benefits they would be getting with having their own company, doing freelancing or working for a competitor who has better benefits.

Michael:

(45:00) Okay, well you know, we’re just about out of time here. We have been talking with Dan Schawbel, who is an entrepreneur and an author, and my guest co-host for today has been Lauren Brousell, who is a staff reporter for CIO.com. So Lauren, you’re a millennial and I think this has been a pretty interesting discussion

Lauren:

(45:30) Absolutely, I mean this is the not only the water cooler talk at a lot of companies, but it’s the conversations that you have with your friends on a social basis as well. I mean it’s top of mind, it’s things that we deal with all the time, so we could keep going and going on this topic I think

Michael:

(45:48) We definitely could, and Dan Schawbel, thank you so much for taking the time to join us on episode number 134 of CXOTalk

Dan:

(45:57) Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

Michael:

(46:00) And everybody, come back on Friday. We will be speaking with the CIO of Kroger. Thanks everybody for watching and have a great day. Bye bye.

 

Companies mentioned in todays show

American Express:        www.americanexpress.com

CIO:                                 www.cio.com

EMC:                               www.emc.com

Facebook:                       www.facebook

Google:                           www.google.com

LinkedIn:                         www.linkedin.com

New York Times:            www.nytimes.com

Twitter:                            www.twitter.com

Workplacetrends:          www.workplacetrends.com