Market Firm's Goals to Millennials
The Miami Herald- Monday, June 22, 2009
Market firm's goals to millennials
By Jack G. Hardy
I was puzzled when I heard the word millennials. Google brought me up to speed quickly. I learned they are well educated, skilled in technology and very self-confident. Many bring to the table high accomplishments and even higher expectations. Best known for flip-flops and ripped jeans, iPods and incessant text messaging, they're the next generation. They want to work, but they don't want work to be their life.
I remembered Mark Twain's words, ''All generalizations are false, including this one.'' I usually pay little attention to social generalizations with catchphrase monikers: Veterans or Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and GenY, who are also called ''millennials.'' In this case, I've made an exception.
''Together the four generations make for an intriguing and potentially explosive brew,'' opines Ron Alsop, author of The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace. ``Employers face some of their biggest management challenges as they try to integrate millions of millennials into a workplace with three other very different generations.''
Daphne Atkinson, a consultant on management education, offers this insight on millennials: ``This generation of young people is quite serious about reshaping the work environment to conform to their personal goals and lives.''
It's easy for a clash to happen within our current workplace culture. Older generations seem mystified while trying to understand how this younger generation thinks and acts.
Mystified? Maybe not for long, since there's already a tried and true solution. The best way to create a new level of employee engagement -- regardless of what generations of employees you have -- lies within these two facts: People are engaged when they fully accept the organization's core values and when they understand how to achieve them. No organization, small or large, can win in the long run without engaging their employees.
A word of caution: Don't confuse core values with the goals expressed in your company's mission statement, which is sometimes more geared toward potential investors than employees.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, said, ''We make decisions as a company, and as individuals, based on our core values.'' Amazon's six core values are hardwired into their people and alumni: Customer Obsession, Innovation, Bias for Action, Ownership, High Hiring Bar and Frugality.
Amazon is tightly focused on delivering value to customers through lower prices, improved selection criteria and free shipping offers. They're expanding their customer base, and that customer base certainly appears to be loyal.
Amazon's clear core values are paying off. In April, Amazon.com asked ''What Recession?'' when they announced first quarter 2009 sales of $4.89 billion, up 18 percent from the first quarter of 2008. They're now number 130 on the 2009 Fortune 500 list -- up from 171 last year.
Another company with clearly defined core values is Zappos.com, which may be a new name for you as it was for me. CEO Tony Hsieh started Zappos in 1999 as an online shoe store. Profitable since 2006, Zappos was number 474 on the Inc.500-2007 list of the fastest growing private companies in America. In 2008 they reached $1 billion in gross sales, 20 percent better than the year before. Since then the company has expanded to a variety of related goods.
If you're concerned about customer service, work on motivating your employees. For some great ideas, check out two nine-minute videos about Zappos on YouTube.com. The company presents their 10 core values in plain words in ''What is Zappos?'' In ''Zappos on Nightline,'' you'll be given a glimpse of their business culture.
Now go to Inc.com, find and download Max Chafkin's May 2009 cover story ``The Zappos Way of Managing.''
Well worth 18 minutes of video watching plus your reading time!