Today, we bring together three passionate Millennial leaders to get their perspective on how to design organizations that satisfy the deep and vocal demand for purpose that is the hallmark of the Millennial generation, a demand that seems to befuddle the best attempts of many leaders to fulfill. It involves purpose, autonomy, impact, and adding value.
Welcome to week 3 of our four-part Millennials in the Workforce Series where we highlight the generation who is coming into the workforce and changing how we run our businesses. This series was inspired by the huge response (well over 5 million views) to Simon Sinek’s recent interview on Inside Quest where he answers the “Millennial question.” Simon Sinek gives an insightful overview of challenges Millennials in the workforce face, but not everyone is happy about the way Sinek characterized Millennials. So, we’ve decided to keep the conversation going.
- Week 1 was a spotlight interview with Nick Sarillo of Nick’s Pizza & Pub fame, who created a leadership model and company culture that retains a 70% Millennial workforce in an industry that typically sees 100-150% turnover.
- Week 2 was a deep dive into trust-and-track leadership with Kelsey Smith, Director of Nick’s University. Trust-and-track leadership is an approach proven to be highly successful in attracting and retaining a millennial workforce.
THIS WEEK’S SHOW
Millennial leaders know the secret to keeping a Millennial workforce happy, and it isn’t free food and bean bags. Please join me as we learn from three passionate Millennial leaders who talk about purpose, autonomy, impact, and adding value as a member of the workforce. Our guests today are Jessica Tenuta, Co-founder of PackBack, an education technology firm; Kelsey Smith, Director of Nick’s University, a conscious leadership training company; and Nathaniel Koloc, Director of Talent Acquisition & Development for Hillary for America, and Co-founder of ReWork, a talent placement firm in NYC.
- 00:24 Preface to our Millennials in the Workplace Series
- 01:35 Introducing the panel of Millennial leaders
- 03:15 Panel thoughts on Simon Sinek’s opening statements about millennials confounding leaders
- 09:50 How do you describe the millennial generation? They are about actualization, motion/kinetic energy, and growth. They want purpose, impact, career direction, autonomy, and constant challenge.
- 13:20 What’s changed for leaders and the workplace because of how Millennials define success; companies and leaders must be adaptable, leaders must encourage professional and personal growth of teams.
- 15:50 Creating workplace cultures that attract Millennials. Leaders must enable Millennials to achieve a legacy, skills, and freedom.
- 19:08 What about purpose in the workplace? Difference between intrinsic purpose and extrinsic purpose in the workplace – you can’t give someone purpose, they must have purpose; the importance of having a living, breathing authentic purpose in the workplace.
- 25:34 The “kinetic energy” of Millennials and impatience. Is impatience a bad thing? Rapid cycles of trial and error to create success and add value. Urgency toward results and impact. 29:40 The greatest value a business can have is a whole team of people who insist on improvement and adding value; enabled by technology. The importance of asking questions and how that fits with the Millennial mindset for autonomy and impact.
- 31:15 Helping people to own their learning, follow the pull of inspiration, have personal accountability; and it’s a breakthrough of having a flexible, responsive career pathing mindset that offers autonomy and fulfills purpose; there is no one right answer.
- 36:20 What about job hopping and the accusation that Millennials have a lack of focus? It’s partly fear of missing out because Millennials know how much is possible (option overload), but it’s also a searching for clarity about what the “next right thing” is, what will fulfill their purpose.
- 40:53 Comfort with ambiguity, mobility, and not having a 10-year plan, discovering purpose. The balance of understanding the context of a person’s journey and purpose, checking for a constant locus of control, and adding value and impact along the way.
- 43:29 Having purpose in every moment, how leaders can design a culture that empowers self-led teams who are adding value every day, and shared leadership based on workplace values.
- 46:17 Millennials expect mutual investment with their leaders. Leaders who invest in exceptional training and building a values-based culture get the return on their investment because Millennials (and all employees) are invested and engaged with their commitment to making an impact.
- 51:55 Advice for Millennial leaders out there? Get authentic about your purpose and the purpose of your business. Design for autonomy, fast growth and impact that enables Millennials to add value quickly. Let go.
- 54:33 Closing
Episode Guests: The Panel
Jessica Tenuta is the co-founder and Head of Design for Packback, a student-founded education technology start-up that guides students to question the world. Jessica believes that students have the potential to change the world and she designs ways to awaken fearless, relentless curiosity in every student.
Kelsey Smith is the Director of Nick’s University, a conscious leadership training program that helps businesses shift from a command-and-control cultures to the trust-and-track leadership model. Nick’s attracts and retains a 70% millennial workforce in an industry that typically sees 100-150% turnover.
Nathanial Koloc is a meaningful work enthusiast. He recently served as Director of Talent Acquisition and Development for Hillary for America. Previously, he cofounded the recruiting firm ReWork, which works to place talented people (many of which are millennials) at mission-driven organizations based on where they will be most fulfilled and find the best fit. Nathaniel is a contributor for Harvard Business Review and The Muse, among other outlets. See Nathaniel’s Bio.
- PackBack – Packback exists to awaken the fearless, relentless curiosity inside every student. We believe all students have the potential to change the world when they become lifelong learners.
- Nick’s University – “Our organization teaches leadership skills that open the door to self-awareness and create a culture of positivity. For any stage of business/employment, whether a startup company or just trying to progress your existing culture, our courses and workshops will leave you with tangible tools you can use, not just theory. Each is filled with practicums to create opportunity to learn by demonstrating the work right away, with feedback.”
- ReWork – ReWork is a progressive recruiting firm driven by the belief that real change happens when the right individuals connect with the right organizations.