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5 True Tales of Gen Y’s Parents Calling Bosses

July 02nd, 2015

Hi All!

By now, most people have heard the term, “Helicopter Parents”. You know, the Boomer parents of the Millennial (aka: Gen Y) Generation who have hovered over their kids since birth, guiding them through childhood, into college…and now following their “adult” children into the professional workforce.

What??? You weren’t aware of how prevalent this hyper-parenting phenomenon truly was? Oh, trust me, it’s a BIG deal (and issue) for many Bosses and companies. Some companies are even starting to add “do’s and don’ts” policies in Employee Handbooks for the PARENTS! I’ll explain why in a bit.Boss-Phone

And, just to be clear, I’m referring to employees who are in their 20’s, in corporate environments; not parents calling work on behalf of their teenager who has a summer job at the local mall.

Let me put this into perspective from my own first-hand experience: In my SEVEN YEARS of being a keynote speaker and conducting workshops for companies about how to better recruit, manage and retain Millennial talent, I’ve yet to ask this question and NOT get a hand raised: “Who here has heard from the parent of one of your Millennial employees?”

EVEN if it’s a small private session for a corporate Management Team (versus an audience of 500+), I always get at least 1-2 hands raised. Always.

This recently happened again at a presentation I conducted for Executives at an annual automotive industry conference last week. Six attendees out of 75+ raised their hands when I asked that question, and (as usual) I asked one of them to share why the parent called. I’ll share that story in a moment, so please keep reading.

The reason I always ask at least one person to share “why” the parent called is not only because I find it fascinating, but the answers always result in an outburst of laughter, mixed with shock & disbelief, from my audiences. Plus, I also ask why so that other attendees who (may) think “there’s no way parents call”, quickly realize I’m not making this stuff up.

Based on this new phenomenon in today’s modern workforce, I decided it was time to share some of these stories to illustrate how common this is. I’ve got hundreds of these real-world stories, but here are five. Each of them was shared at different speaking engagements I’ve conducted; all from different industries, located in different regions, and of different sizes, throughout the U.S. and Canada.

IMPORTANT: In the countless stories I’ve heard, sometimes the Millennial employees were aware their parents were calling, and sometimes not. So I do NOT want to imply the Millennials always ask their parents to do these things. Oftentimes, the Helicopter Parents do it on their own, and I’ve spoken to many Millennials who said they were mortified when they found out.

TRUE TALE #1: The Sr. Vice President mentioned previously at the recent automotive conference shared that she received a call from the father of one of her (26 years-old) Millennial employees. Dad called her to say he didn’t think his daughter’s private parking spot was located in a safe place for women so he requested that she be given a different one.

TRUE TALE #2: The CEO of a medium-sized company shared that he wanted to hold-off on promoting one of his Millennial employees because the employee (24 years-old) simply needed about six more months of training and on-the-ground experience. The next day the employee arrived at work with her Mom. They requested to see the CEO immediately and he obliged. Once in his office, Mom proceeded to pull out a long list that she and her husband had created the night before which outlined all the reasons why THEY thought their daughter WAS qualified to receive the promotion now…not in six months.

TRUE TALE #3: This does not pertain to someone’s “current” Millennial employee, but it’s another good example. The Sr. Director of HR at a Fortune 500 company attended my presentation for their Executive Team. Three days later she sent me an email to share that that morning she received a phone call from the Mom of a college senior. The Mom called her to inquire about internships the company had that her daughter could apply for. Mom explained she was calling companies on behalf of her daughter because her daughter was too busy at school studying for finals and being on the school’s swim team.

TRUE TALE #4: The Marketing Manager at a Fortune 1000 company shared at one of my presentations that a Dad called him, very upset. Dad said that his son (25 years-old) didn’t feel like he got enough time to share his ideas at the weekly department meetings. Dad asked the Manager to either make the weekly meeting longer OR call on his son more often.

TRUE TALE #5: The Director of Learning and Development at a large company had this to share with me and the audience: He had just hired a new Millennial employee (26 years-old) and during the on-boarding process the Millennial was given the standard Employee Benefits Package to review. Apparently, the Millennial had her parents review it because the next day Mom called her daughter’s new Boss to say that she (Mom), and Dad, had some questions about the benefits information.

I’m sharing these examples because, aside from being somewhat humorous, this topic is important for employers to be aware of. Why? Because if someone at work receives a call from a Helicopter Parent inquiring about things like promotions and raises their adult child didn’t get, and the Manager (caught off guard) engages in a conversation with the parent, it could cause serious legal issues for that Manager AND the employer.

The bottom line is that Bosses cannot discuss sensitive matters about employees (who are over 18 years- old) with the employee’s parents. Therefore, as an expert on Millennials and generational dynamics, I strongly suggest that this info quickly be shared with your Management and Leadership Teams.

By 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Millennials. That means the number of Helicopter Parents calling employers is only going to increase!

New Book for Employees on How to Create a Unique Personal Brand

April 22nd, 2014

employee-brand2Hi All!

I’m happy to announce the release of my fourth book, Your Employee Brand is in Your Hands: How Any Employee Can Create and Promote Their Own Personal Leadership Brand for Massive Career Success!”. It’s available on Amazon and getting 5-Star ratings!

Here is the Press Release that was deployed with all the info:

Leadership Expert, Lisa Orrell, Releases Highly Anticipated Book for Employees on How to Create a Unique Personal Brand at Work

Lisa Orrell, The Generations Relations and Leadership Expert, has published her fourth book, “Your Employee Brand is in Your Hands”. This timely book clearly explains how employees of all ages and experience levels can create and promote a unique Personal Brand to get more notoriety at work, stand out in their industry, and achieve greater career success in this increasingly competitive world.

Lisa Orrell is globally recognized as The Generations Relations & Leadership Expert. She’s an in demand Speaker, Thought Leader, Media Guest, and the Author of three top-selling business books: Millennials Incorporated; Millennials into Leadership; and Boomers into Business. And her new fourth book, “Your Employee Brand is in Your Hands: How Any Employee Can Create and Promote Their Own Personal Leadership Brand for Massive Career Success!” (Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing) was just released to rave reviews plus 5-star ratings on Amazon.

“Most books on Personal Branding are written for self-employed people to help them grow their businesses. But creating and managing a unique Personal Brand as an ‘employee in the workforce’ is a critical component to success and something that highly successful Leaders and Executives focus on daily,” explains Orrell. “For several years, I’ve been conducting a very popular Personal Branding workshop for employees, as well as for college students. My new book is a direct result of that workshop, along with the constant inquiries I got from people asking if I could recommend a good book on this topic. But I struggled to recommend one because there are very few out there, so I wrote one.”

Adds Orrell, “I have one particular client, a very large global corporation, who has hired me to conduct my Personal Branding Workshop over 20 times. So, obviously, not only do their employees benefit from this topic and my training, their company does, too. The bottom line, for any company, is there’s no downside to having employees with heightened self-awareness and a willingness to improve themselves.”

Orrell isn’t the only expert who feels that defining a unique Personal Brand, and being your own “Publicist” at work, is key to one’s career success. Others agree and think that her new book is both timely and important.

Steven Rothberg, President and Founder of the niche job board, CollegeRecruiter.com, shares, “Most consumers prefer to buy brands that we know, like, and trust. In many cases, we’re also willing to pay more for those brands. Yet most of us don’t think of the fact that in our places of employment we have our own ‘personal brands’. Some of those brands are positive, some are neutral, and some are negative. So if you want the people making the decisions about your career and compensation to know, like, and trust you then you need a positive brand, and Lisa’s book will show you exactly how to make that happen.”

“Your Employee Brand is in Your Hands” is also gaining attention due to the aging Baby Boomer population in the workforce, along with the fact that Millennials are getting moved into leadership roles younger and faster than generations before them. In many of her Personal Branding Workshops Orrell says she sees employees ranging from their early 20’s to their late 60’s.

To that point Orrell explains, “Most Boomers buy my new book or attend my workshops to determine how to stay ‘relevant’ and redefine themselves at work. Whereas many Millennial employees want to learn how to: stand out at work; gain notoriety in their industry; and learn how be taken seriously so they can move up the ladder into management and leadership roles. They are very serious about being successful in those positions, yet a lot of Millennials don’t feel their employers have prepared them to succeed in those roles.”

Orrell’s observations are reflected in extensive research conducted by Deloitte which was, among many places, featured in a FORBES article published on September 12, 2013. The article was written by Josh Bersin and entitled, “Millennials Will Soon Rule the World: But How Will They Lead?”

Due to the major generational shifts occurring in the workforce, “business as usual” is becoming obsolete. Orrell sees this firsthand and knows this is not only a very challenging time for employees, but for Employers, too. As a result, companies regularly contact her to speak and consult on these issues. And many other Throught Leaders agree the situation is only going to get more serious over the next two decades.

Thus, in addition to her Personal Branding expertise, Orrell is consistently booked to conduct presentations on topics such as: Understanding generational dynamics at work; improving communication across the generations; educating Leadership Teams on workforce trends; improving the recruitment, management and retention of Millennial (aka: Gen Y) Talent; and educating Millennial employees, and college students, on how to be young, effective, respected leaders in the workforce.

A small sample of Orrell’s stellar client list includes: Wells Fargo, Johnson & Johnson, eBay, Chicos, State University of New York, USC, Intuit, Pepsi, Applied Materials, Paul Mitchell Schools, PayPal, Blue Cross/BlueShield, and Monster.com. Orrell is also hired to speak for a wide variety of Professional Associations that cater to members in HR, Leadership, Management, Training, and Diversity roles.

“Your Employee Brand is in Your Hands” is currently available in paperback for $15.95 on Amazon and through other major online book retailers. A Kindle version will be available by May 1st, 2014.

For media interviews, speaking inquiries, or book information, please contact Lisa Orrell at 408-340-8789 or Lisa@TheOrrellGroup.com or visit her website: TheOrrellGroup.com. To receive a 25% discount on bulk book orders of 10 or more, please contact Lisa Orrell directly.

Book Info:

Title: Your Employee Brand is in Your Hands: How Any Employee Can Create and Promote Their Own Personal Leadership Brand for Massive Career Success!

Publisher: Intelligent Women Publishing (an imprint of Wyatt-Mackenzie Publishing, Inc.)

Pages: 150-Pages, soft cover 8.5 x 5.5

Retail Cost: $15.95

ISBN: 978-193928808

Why Managers Need to Focus on Communication to Avoid Trouble

October 18th, 2013

Hi All!

I don’t think anybody doubts the importance of communication in the workplace. In fact, it’s not farfetched to say that effective communication is the cornerstone of your success at work, whether you are a seasoned Manager or a younger Millennial (aka: Generation Y) aspiring to be one. And it’s becoming even more challenging with four generations at work, that are very different!

Difficult employees can make each work day tough; repeatedly making efforts to bring down your team’s morale, creating unnecessary stress, and affecting productivity. However, I’ve conducted enough training workshops and seminars for Management Teams, as well as have provided private Leadership Coaching for many Managers, so I can say first hand that MOST Managers are NOT good at communication with their employees…so it’s NOT always the employees’ fault that there’s problems within the team.

A good starting point is to accept that you, as a Manager, can’t always change others, but you can certainly improve yourself. Remember, you are in a professional environment, so maintaining dignity and decorum is of utmost importance, and is key to creating an effective and respected Personal Brand at work. You should strive to create an environment where effective, open, communication with your employees is welcome.

The essence of effective communication lies in paying full attention to what others say while also making yourself heard. Communication is a two-way dialogue process that is about:

  • actively listening to others – making the speaker feel heard, without being frequently interrupted
  • understanding them – showing that you understand their situation well
  • conveying your viewpoint – ensuring you are clear and concise to the other person while being selective about how and what you say

All in all, effective communication is about creating a culture where creative ideas flourish; giving both sides an equal opportunity to confidently and conveniently convey their messages so as to build trust and respect. Plus, in an open environment where everybody can express themselves clearly, without fear, negative emotions can’t flourish or survive (for very long).

Remember: being overly negative can destroy employees’ desire to assist, further fueling their negative feelings…which can then lead to their quitting…and you possibly getting fired due to reduced retention of top talent.

Your job as a Leader is to increase confidence in your team, not beat them down. However, sadly, I see Managers who adhere to the “managing through negativity” mentality…and then wonder why they have problems with their team. Really???!!!

Don’t be one of them! Your company and your employees will thank you…and, trust me, your career will skyrocket!

Challenges That Faculty Face with Today’s College Students

January 13th, 2013

Hi All!

I’ve been researching today’s College Students a lot recently due to a few key factors:

1. I know a lot of College Professors and Faculty from a wide variety of educational institutions who constantly complain about “how different” their students are these days versus previous generations. I even hear from younger professors, in their early-mid 30’s, who express this opinion, too, so it’s not JUST coming from Boomer and Veteran generation faculty who have been teaching for 25+ years!

2. I’m getting a lot of speaking invitations from educational institutions (i.e. colleges, universities, and vocational schools) to speak to their faculty about how to better communicate with, and educate, their students. I wouldn’t be getting these invitations if this issue wasn’t “real”.

And I can tell you that regardless of the “type” of school they are from, OR the types of subjects they are teaching, OR the student population they serve, the educators I talk to all share the same frustrations and challenges with the students they teach today.

Here are just a few examples of the common ones I hear (and what I focus on in my presentations to help the educators overcome): Students today are lazy; they need to be told “how” to learn; they show up late for class and want to leave early; they show disregard for homework deadlines and exam dates; their parents call on behalf of their adult child with questions or complaints; Etc…

It’s based on this growing “issue” regarding Millennial (aka: Gen Y) students that I decided to blog about this topic today. I don’t plan to provide answers to the challenges mentioned above in this post; I’m simply bringing this interesting issue to light because I typically write about Millennials from an “employee” angle versus a student angle.

To shed more light on this, I recommend that you read this book: “Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student,” written by Dr. Arthur Levine with Diane R. Dean. It covers 2006 to 2011, and distills information from surveys and interviews with both undergraduates and student-affairs officials at 31 campuses nationwide. Dr. Levine is the president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and former president of Teachers College at Columbia University.

Here’s a brief overview about the book and the information it provides:

An understanding of today’s undergraduate college students is vital to the effectiveness of our nation’s colleges and universities. As Generation on a Tightrope clearly reveals, today’s students need a very different education than the undergraduates who came before them: an education for the 21st Century, which colleges and universities are so far ill-equipped to offer and which will require major changes of them to provide. Examining college student expectations, aspirations, academics, attitudes, values, beliefs, social life, and politics, this book paints an accurate portrait of today’s students. Timely and comprehensive, this volume offers educators, researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and employers, guidance and a much-needed grasp of the forces shaping the experiences of current undergraduates. The book:

  • Is based on completely new research of 5,000 college students and student affairs practitioners from 270 diverse college campuses
  • Explores the similarities and differences between today’s generation of students and previous generations

So whether you’re an educator or an employer, books such as that could be one more tool to help you better understand this new generation you face. And for employers, this could also give you insights for better managing, recruiting and retaining this much-needed generation at work.

I can honestly say they truly are different from previous generations…I’ve been writing, consulting and speaking about Millennials for over 6 years as an expert, as well as conducting Leadership and Personal Branding workshops for Millennial employees and students, so I know them well.

Bye for now!

Lisa

 

 

The New Diversity Issue Created by Gen Y at Work

September 20th, 2011

As you read this, Millennial (aka Gen Y) Professionals are being actively recruited prior to, and upon, college graduation. Many are already busy navigating the waters of their first (or second) professional job since graduating.

And as I write this, well-known companies are hiring me to conduct seminars to educate their HR executives and internal recruiters about attracting and recruiting Millennial Professionals, as well as conduct seminars to educate their Gen X and Boomer employees about managing, motivating and retaining them. So, this isn’t just me saying they are a big deal to the future of our professional workforce; companies all over the U.S. and abroad are starting to see it, too.

But before I get into why they are creating a new dimension to diversity, let me give you a snapshot of why this new generation of young professionals has become such a hot commodity in the media and the business world. One key factor is the looming reality of the Boomer Brain Drain that companies across the country are going to feel over the next decade. Here’s one simple statistic, out of many, from the Office of Employment Projections that will quickly put this into perspective: The average large company in the U.S. will lose 30-40% of its workforce due to retirement over the next 5-10 years. Ouch.

And we have as many Gen Xers on the planet as there are going to be, so the replacements for this massive Boomer exodus are the Millennial Professionals. That is why M.B.A. students were being offered amazing employment packages a few years ago, and impressive signing bonuses were being offered. And, due to demand for talent, that trend will pick-up again as the economy recovers. Basically, out of head count necessity, recruiting and retaining them has turned into a big, competitive business.

Through the research for my books, I also realized many Gen X and Boomer professionals in today’s business world rarely have a clue about this new generation entering their domain. This research also led me to understand that the Millennial Professionals have their fair share of complaints about their older work colleagues, and one of their biggest complaints may surprise you.

Aside from companies clamoring to implement, or improve, their rewards and recognition programs, and scrambling to find unique ways to recruit and retain Millennials, they are also dealing with a new dimension to diversity this generation creates. Here is the big complaint I alluded to that may surprise you: Many Millennial employees are claiming to be victims of reverse age discrimination.

We all know age discrimination has typically referred to older employees feeling bumped out by younger co-workers. And this is still an on-going issue as reflected in high profile lawsuits that involve older employees suing companies like FedEx and The Tropicana Casino. In both cases, older employees claim they were laid-off so that the companies could replace them with younger employees who they could be paid less.

But I recently moderated a panel made-up of 5 Millennial women, between 22-26, and they each came from different companies whose names you’d know. All the women had Master’s degrees and each panelist came from a different ethnic background.

When I asked them if they felt they had the same opportunities as their male colleagues, they all quickly said that they felt that gender discrimination was a non-issue (from what they had experienced thus far). And they said that their race was not an issue at work. But they ALL said they face age discrimination on a regular basis and that it was very frustrating.

The 100+ audience members (mainly women in leadership positions ranging in age from 30-60) found this to be so interesting. Most Boomer and Gen X women in business have been battling gender discrimination for years. And, on top of that, many Boomer and Gen X women of color have had to also deal with race discrimination in the workplace. So it was a surprise to the audience that these Millennial women felt neither of those things affected them (at this point in their careers). To them, it was all about not getting respect from older employees because of their age.

Several of the panelists went on to say that they were thankful they were entering the business world at a time when so much correspondence is done online, and relationships are forged virtually, because it gives them the opportunity to establish their credibility with colleagues before having to meet them in-person. Each of the women did look young and they felt that was a liability. I was quick to say they wouldn’t feel that way when they were older…they’d be praying to look young again! But all joking aside, I understood what they were saying and respected their frustration.

On a positive side note in terms of diversity, we have a strong generation of young women coming up and a generation where gender and race lines are becoming blurred. A majority of Millennial women were raised to believe they could do anything boys could do and they were just as important and as smart as boys. This is also the first generation where boys and girls hangout together as platonic “buddies” starting from a young age through college. This is also a generation where over 80% answered “Yes” when asked if they were okay with marrying, dating, or having a life partner outside of their race (2007 California Dreamers Survey conducted by New America Media).

After moderating that panel, and speaking to many more Millennials about their experiences with age discrimination, I now really emphasize the importance of respecting them as “people” when I talk to Boomer and Gen X executives in my popular Get A Grip On Gen Y Seminar. I let them know this generation expects to be respected from Day One, regardless of their age or experience, and that a key strategy for retaining them is respecting their ideas and encouraging them to offer opinions. This may seem like common sense to you, but I talk to many Millennials whose bosses disregard their ideas and/or rarely ask their opinion about anything. Unlike some Boomer and Gen X employees who may tolerate this from their bosses, Millennials will quickly quit.

It is critical for employers to recognize that aside from race, gender and lifestyle diversity, age diversity is now something to be aware of. Younger employees probably won’t sue you based on age discrimination like older ones might, but they can still wreak havoc on your company’s stability. It’s impossible to grow and groom your next generation of leaders if they don’t stay!

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