“We love our millennials!”  I heard this from two companies this week.  This had me smile from ear to ear.  It would seem the tide is turning.  Companies are starting to get how to work with millennials.

For those who aren’t – they’re still stuck.  Stuck in ageism and assumptions based on generational stereotypes.  Asking biased questions like, “Why are millennials hard to work with?”  Unflattering assumptions around the water-cooler abound…

  • Millennials are entitled
  • Millennials are lazy
  • Millennials are high-maintenance

Millennials don’t need coddling or crazy perks – I promise.

Millennials need what we all need:

  1. To feel known – you care about me and respect me as an individual.
  2. To matter – to know my contribution matters. If I go above and beyond it matters and if I slack, it matters.
  3. To be included – to be part of the inner circle – to belong and experience a sense of shared identity and commitment with my team.

To achieve the above, begin with these 3 core culture basics:

  1. Seek to get to know who they are in the world – their background, their dreams, their challenges.
  2. Acknowledge progress and a job well done as well as inquire and be curious when they’re off-track.
  3. Make sure they see the connection between their work and fulfilling on your organization’s goose-bump worthy mission.  Also make sure you paint a vision worth working for.

For an even deeper dive on how to work with millennials check out How to Quell Generational Drama between Millennials and Boomers.


Team Building/Culture Building Activity:

There’s a boatload of cheesy, ineffective “team building” personality tests out there.  These can be fine if you’re simply looking for something fun and light to connect strangers for a day. However if your team has been together for a while and it’s time to refresh and create more meaningful camaraderie, try on The Enneagram Personality Test.   It’s just $12/team member and it takes about 40-minutes.  For a variety of reasons, I prefer the Enneagram over the more well-known Myers Briggs or DISC.

Note: if you have someone on your team who rolls their eyes and swears by the Dirty Dancing movie quote, “Nobody puts baby in the corner” – ask them to set aside their cynicism and dance in the discovery.

Most of your team members will not only be taken by their own uncanny results, but by that of their peers.  The results from this test take a deeper dive than most – it uncovers that part of the psyche that is more hidden.  When putting together the results to share with your team, I recommend leveraging the book “The Wisdom of the Enneagram” where you can share a plethora of aspects for each personality type – I like to highlight the:

  • Key Characteristics
  • Unconscious childhood message
  • Lost childhood message
  • Basic fears
  • Basic desires
  • Internal challenge
  • Invitation to abundance

Enjoy the interesting discussion that ensues and compelling exchanges that lead to more team cohesion than the daily, “How you doing?” or “What’d you have for lunch?”