Tag Archives: Youth

Dear Business Leader, writing as a Millennial…

READING TIME: 90 Seconds

I feel we are at a breaking point or a tipping point within organisational leadership. It is certainly an opportunity point.

With 63.3% of executives retiring over the next 5 years and millennials numbering over 50% of the workforce by 2020 (PWC) it is time for organisations to invest in the future of their millennial workforce. Attracting, inspiring, nurturing. This is where your legacy will be defined and future proofing for your organisation will be assured.

My concern is validated by one survey by Beyond.com which established that HR Professionals say only 9% of millennials can lead – yes, the same people who are reshaping the economy, changing the way consumers consume and organisations do business.

Please, take action now to change this outlook for business, we have the experience, expertise and pure passion to support you in transforming your organisation. Now is the time…

Begin to invest in a leadership team of the future – by building a Mirror Board programme. This programme will increase brand loyalty and is core to Naked Leader’s promise of 3 times more value, confidence and agility for your organisation.

Hand over responsibility and let your millennial employees know why their performance on a specific project matters to the greater good. Your young people, perhaps even more so than any other generation, like to feel that the work they’re doing is making a difference – your organisation needs to be a Force for Good, internally and externally.

Build a team of leaders – Young people have a team-ethic approach and need to feel they are a valued part of the team. Within this group, young people are more open to discussing ideas and changing their points of view. They’re more curious, innovative and less rigid than their parents.

Provide a clear pathway – Millennials expect rapid career progression as they have an ambition and desire to keep learning. And they are happy that progression happens horizontally across an organisation, rather than the traditional progression of promotion upwards.

Give your young people the platform – Multi-tasking is a way of life for young people and this high energy means they require a challenging environment to be able to be successful.

From our experience, I make you this promise: they may be the highest maintenance work force, they will also be the highest performing if you as an organisation make the above choices now.

Karl Sharman
Lead Youth Advisor
Naked Leader

View Video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1S-GpdMz7Q&list=PL26D903FA9740016E&index=15


Showing Millennials attention will provide a greater ROI

To get the best out of millennials for your organisation to get a return of investment, you must give them your total attention. Attention sounds very negative when people use the word in relation to providing attention to another individual however, all negative stereotypes can be turned into positive attributes when understood.

If you’re in a leadership position to millennials: the first thing you must do to show them attention is to be a coach; not a boss – they want access, they’re looking for a mentor and they want an environment where they can have a platform to be successful.

Perhaps even more so than other generation, Millennials want to feel that their work is making a difference and they would like to be recognised for it. For this to be achievable they need constant feedback (weekly minimum) and the feedback must be critical, best using the Sandwich Technique, to get the best out of their potential. You may also be surprised to know that while they’re brilliant at navigating the digital landscape, they prefer face-to-face communication so when you feedback ensure you sit down and have a conversation about it.

The final part on attention is to give the young person a significant role on a project – this responsibility will provide a lot of confidence in the person to go and progress further and feel like he or she is valued within the organisation. This one move could significantly increase loyalty and performance to generate further returns to your organisation.

What do millennials want #4

Millennials want freedom within a frame work. They’re fed up of the rigid corporate structure and environments that many organisations still rely on, now they’re driving for freedom within a structured organisation.

Millennials have a true entrepreneurial mind-set; they like flexibility, independence and are determined to pursue their passions. This means that within this framework there needs to be freedom to roam and grow. To second this: 66% of millennials want to be entrepreneurs (Bentley University, 2016). This trend has led to more frequent job mobility until a satisfactory environment is achieved to meet the needs of the millennial. From the same report, 79% reported that their employer encouraged creativity (impressive!) and 78% reported they’re loyal to their company because of this (hint).

My advice to assist you: is create a hackathon competition/events to drive creativity within tasks to see what ideas and initiatives can be created within your suggested framework. This will drive confidence, stronger relationships and better communication between employees as well as management.

What do millennials want #3

Millennials want to see a pathway within the organisation they work in or have been offered by. They expect a rapid progression in a varied and interesting career – the latest figures suggest a graduate in this generation will likely change their job 8-10 times in their life.

Millennials have ambition, a desire to keep learning and see the job as a development opportunity. Millennials value development more than other generations do which is a key difference. Gallup’s, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, reveals that 59% of millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are extremely important to them when applying for a job.

My recommendation to develop the millennials within your organisation is to show them a potential pathway if they can achieve the goals you have set them – this will drive focus, productivity and profit. The second recommendation is to build a two-way mentorship programme between a senior member of staff and a millennial to ensure that development is ongoing for every individual within the organisation.

Millennials are inpatient and don’t want to wait – it’s simple either develop your young people or they will leave to develop.

What do millennials want #2

Millennials want to be heard – it is that simple. Young people, especially in the UK, feel that the older generations do not understand them or listen to them. If you want to grow engagement within your organisation I suggest you try not to understand millennials but rather focus on listening and giving them a voice.

Millennials have many great ideas and opinions and it is my view that many ideas go to the graveyard because other generations don’t let the young people have a voice. When being listened to they expect your full focus as they don’t take kindly to being ignored so it becomes more paramount that you act on their voice.

For this to be successful – everything between a leader or older member of your team and the young person must be two-way. Ideas, opinions and final say must be communicated and discussed both ways. To initially encourage this, you may want to start two-way mentoring between a leader and a millennial.

If you’re a leader, I suggest when you’re looking to develop a millennial you do the following: Listen, watch & act.

What do millennials want #1

By 2020 Millennials will represent over 50% of the workforce – but people are still trying to understand what a millennial is and more importantly why do they do what they do? I have spent the last six months telling leaders and organisations my views on the complex force of a millennial but it’s time to be honest – they’re not complex at all.

Over the next few weeks I will tell you the main reasons of what millennials want and now it’s time for the first request.

#1 They want to shape where they work

Millennials want to shape where they work because they need the freedom to express themselves – they’re very anti-corporate structure. Millennials want a flexible approach to work with regular feedback and encouragement. The environment must provide a good work-life balance as well as creating opportunities for growth and change.

Millennials don’t believe in a 9-5 working week, in fact often they are willing to work later but they look to be rewarded and recognised for their work. They want their environment to be surrounded by technology – the millennials are the first generation that are digital natives as they have been absorbed by new technologies.

If you want to be successful and attractive for millennials – you must re-think your environment as each employee will want a workplace that engages, inspires and motivates them each day. Each person is different but you can listen to them ALL and you can act – that is the power you have as a leader.

Age doesn’t matter unless you’re cheese

People assume business experience can only be gained by age, and I feel this is beginning to change – if you want to be a modern, progressive and innovative company you will need to add a youth representative to the board.

Millennials represent the largest generation ever, in factbetween children and young adults it equates to half of the global population. Yet, very few of these two generations serve on company boards that sell to these age groups!

A recent study by the Financial Times highlighted that the average age of directors who govern the UK’s 100 biggest companies are over 57, while one in six board’s seats are taken by someone over 64 years old. It is even older when you look into smaller companies in the UK alone.

So why would companies change this now?

We live in a world that is ever changing with greater connectivity, social media and access, mainly provided with free movement, speech and technology (internet). This connectivity has allowed younger people to have a voice, innovate and control the solutions – a main reason more start-ups have been born and flourished. This adaptation hasn’t happened in all companies, with the potential and ability of young people untapped in many organisations. It is a scary thought to underestimate the value that young people can provide by simply engaging them in business decisions.

People are fearful of losing their jobs or being seen as weak, which are common reasons for not appointing younger people. I fear for those organisations. The companies who do not change and engage with current and future generations will not outlast their competitors. Young people are growing increasingly frustrated by their parents and older generations speaking on their behalf and it’s important to understand it’s never too early for anyone to influence an ever changing the world.

What are the benefits to have a young person (14-30 years old) involved in decision making?

• Unique & fresh perspective
• Understands markets you’re selling to (Millennials & Gen Z)
• Understands largest generation ever
• Understands new technologies and how to make the most of their potential – e.g. social media
• Understands engagement and motivation of younger staff

There are plenty of examples of young people being successful and beneficial on advisory boards. (I am sure some have also failed to, though I have yet to find one through my research):

Chelmsford Star Co-Op Society appointed 16 young people from local schools, who are known as a youth council, to report their ideas to the board. This was highly successful in the decision making of their social media strategy and company presence in the public domain.

Roundhouse, an international arts venue appointed a youth advisory board of 13-25 year olds, which is split into two age bands. One member from each age band is appointed to the main board to report back. The outcome of this has seen adaptations in the website, structure and pricing policies.

Chime Specialist Group appointed a 16 innovate mirror board model, in which every member is under 30 and the group meets twice a month. They bring their ideas once a month to the main board. Their focus is on motivation, happiness and engagement in the workplace.

Age diversity is often ignored and if you keep ignoring it, your bottom line will suffer over the next decade. The future generations are getting hard to retain with out-dated policies and culture. Also with recruitment costs rising, it is becoming more important to fast track young talent and give them a voice through opportunity, education and trust.

In summary, I am not saying you have to give them the world, I am suggesting you have to give youth the opportunity to have a voice in your company. You can appoint a mirror board, youth advisory or simply a member inside or outside of your company. This move will future proof your company for a sustained and better outlook towards the current, next and future generations.

Should young adults have a voice and able to make decision within a company?