Why I won't be hiring Millennials
Employers need to focus on individuals, not labels, says Nick Harrington, CEO of Eximius
In recent months I was delighted to see the rise and rise of Simon Sinek into the mainstream. I have been a firm believer in Simon's work for a long time and ensuring that we tune into and understand our sense of purpose in everything we do.
Recently Simon was catapulted even further into the mainstream and modern media due to an interview that went viral. The interview covers the “The Millennial Question” where Simon explains what factors have impacted the 18-35 year old generation with Parents, Social Media, School playing major negative roles in this story. Simon helps the interviewer relate to some of the barriers they face. I love Simon and what he stands for but it doesn't change my mind on hiring “Millennials”.
It seems to be a plague sweeping across all industries about “entitled” 18-35 year olds impacting productivity.
I won't hire a Millennial, as I find it hard to categorise a person into a set. It's becoming the new “get out of jail” card for the non-Millennial bunch or the alleged Old School.
I never sat down in a meeting saying I need a Gen-X and a Baby Boomer for scaling a business and a few Gen-Y’s for stage two of growth. The focus is always on an attitude towards self development, growth and skill set (if a skill set has had an opportunity to have been created). The rest is down to us the employers.
Can we develop and nurture talent? Can we shine a path towards values that we hold dear hoping they want to embrace the same mindset? Can we ensure to hold them accountable and mentor them through these times?
I think the graduate and non-graduate market today filled with people starting out their careers is incredibly inspiring. I believe as business leaders we have to adapt but more importantly be true to who you / we are and what your business stands for. There are some firms who passionately live their business values and their teams are 100% aligned and others who look across and try and replicate it, but this model has no heart, no glue at its core resulting in nothing meaningful or sustainable being built. You may trick a few people into joining but the risk associated with it is high and you’ll be going to work everyday playing a role rather than inspiring your tribe.
I understand Simon had to group this age range of people together to help formulate a response and address an issue, Simon was an ex-Marketing guy and would get the importance of framing and focusing the attention of his audience. He's doing a great job of turning the focus of the debate back on us. Spot on.
Here's a few things I remember when hiring at all levels:
- It's a two way process but first you need to see if your honest view of the mission you are undertaking as a business inspires the person opposite. Only at that point are they in a real position to start inspiring you also.
- Honesty is always the best policy. In a world where people are hungry for talent truths are being bent, competition is running high. If the opportunity in the interview isn't the reality then you have wasted a huge amount of time, emotional and physical currency.
- We were all useless once! I had a good work ethic and some values I held dear but it was my mentor who helped me grow, trained, guided me and was brave enough to challenge me at all stages. I'm now fortunate to have a group of mentors and peers who do the same daily.
- The world's got bigger, there's more options on both sides. A lot of people feel they didn't have a choice on the career they ended up in and want people with no context of the current world to appreciate it. Not going to happen.
- Really understand your future team members drivers. Are you in a position to really help them achieve their goals?
- The brutal truth - as a manager you are responsible for your hiring. If the training, support, platform and in a lot of cases time isn't available, then you are set to fail before you have begun.
- Set clear expectations and keep the communication / feedback flowing constantly.
In summary, focus on the individual in front of you rather than the association to a newly formed club. Appreciate ego and pride sit both sides of the table (and have their places in business) but a more honest beginning leads to a more meaningful journey. The key seems to me that in work as in life is honesty always wins out, create an environment for honesty and together will really be better.
Pictured: Nick Harrington