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Five Solid Strategies to Retain Your Millennial Employees

August 31st, 2014
millenials_books

Lisa’s first book, “Millennials Incorporated“, provides countless ways to recruit, manage and retain Millennial employees!

I’ve written tons of blogs and articles on this topic, but it continues to be a challenge for many companies which is why they bring me in to conduct in-depth seminars about it. Based on that, I felt it wouldn’t hurt to write another post on “how to retain Millennials” (aka Gen Y) since it’s still a very hot topic in the workforce.

So, why DO companies – large and small – spend so much time worrying about how to retain Millennial employees?  It’s basically a matter of math.

According to the Employment Policy Foundation (EPF), our country is at the beginning of a labor shortage of approximately 35 million skilled and educated workers, which is estimated to continue over the next two decades. Plus, Baby Boomers are currently reaching retirement age at an estimated rate of 1 every 8 seconds.

Thus, startling stats like those have Leadership Teams scrambling to figure out how to effectively retain their “top” younger talent because the current, and future, success of their companies depends on it.

To give your company an edge, consider the following strategies that other smart organizations are implementing…

5 Solid Strategies to Retain Your Millennial Employees:

1. Communicate A lot: In a survey conducted by Yahoo! HotJobs and Robert Half International, over 60 percent of Millennials responded that they want to communicate with their managers at least once a day. Unfortunately, many members of “older” generations feel that communicating that often with employees is cumbersome but the Millennials require it or they will leave.

2. Provide Training & Development: According to a recent national survey, Millennials rated training and development as an employee benefit 3 times higher than they rated cash bonuses. And they not only want skill-based training; they want training on soft skills, too.

3. Rapid Advancement Alternatives: You don’t always have to give Millennials a raise or promotion to keep them happy; being creative with increased responsibility can work great! Millennials have fast minds and get bored quickly, but it’s your job as their employer to help eliminate the “boredom” factor. Find creative ways to give them more responsibility, such as letting them do one or more of the following:

  • Start, or write for, your org’s blog
  • Set-up, or participate in, your org’s Facebook Page or other social media networks
  • Contribute to, or start, your org’s e-newsletter
  • Research and set-up a new software solution or develop new processes that can improve how your company runs

4. Mentor Programs: This is key! Millennials have grown up with a lot of guidance from their parents, society and teachers. They truly value and seek handholding at work. So, please heed this advice! I’ve spoken with many Millennials who have quit jobs quickly because they were promised mentorship, but never received it.

5. Foster a Leadership Mindset: The sooner you can educate your Millennial team members on the attributes of being a respected leader, the sooner they’ll start acting like one. And by emphasizing that everything they say and do either strengthens or weakens their Personal Brand(s) can quickly provide them with a new perspective that can improve the behavior that may be frustrating you.

Finally, it’s important to remember that Millennials’ wants and needs aren’t much different from those of older generations; they just have a lower tolerance threshold than generations before them. A Boomer may put up with a job for five years even if he or she is bored or doesn’t feel valued, but a Millennial may only tolerate it for five months.

That said, what can your company being doing differently to ensure that you don’t lose your top Millennial talent to the competition? Savvy organizations are being pro-active with developing retention strategies versus being reactive. Is yours?

Ten Tips to Off-line Networking for Career Success and Personal Branding

June 26th, 2011

Hi All!

Nowadays, most people seem to be solely focused on social networking online. And, yes, while I am a firm believer that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are AMAZING tools for making professional connections, I find that many Millennials (aka: Gen Y), and even members of older generations at work, such as Gen X, Generation Jones and Boomers, forget about “the other” type of networking…attending industry mixers and professional association gatherings!

Quite honestly, I find that attending in-person networking events can typically yield me positive business results faster than relying on social media networking. Therefore, I make an effort to include in-person networking to my personal brand-building mix.

But, I also find that many people are not that great at using their valuable networking time wisely. As a result, I make sure to include tips on “effective networking at events” in the Personal Leadership Branding seminars and Millennial Business Boot Camp workshops that I conduct for corporations and college students. It is key to your career success!

So whether you’re a job-seeker or simply wanting to expand your professional network outside of your office to “increase awareness for your personal brand”, keep reading!

Here are Ten Tips I suggest to make your off-line networking efforts successful:

  1. Show-up with your business cards! People often forget their cards, or only bring a few, and that’s embarrassing. Bring a substantial stack so you don’t run out. And, if you’re a job-seeker who is unemployed, make your own cards and consider making them 2-sided so that you can list your qualifications on the back. Plus, bring copies of your resume “just in-case”!
  2. Don’t be shy. Remember, everyone is there to meet new people, so you are all in the same boat. Find someone standing alone or a small group of people, walk up, extend your hand (for a FIRM shake), smile and introduce yourself. It may feel odd at first but people who network a lot are used to strangers approaching them. And if you say it’s your first time attending the mixer, they’ll normally want to help you meet other people.
  3. Practice your 15-second “personal infomercial” (aka: elevator pitch) before you arrive. When someone asks what you do or why you are there, be able to explain yourself in 15-seconds or less. DO NOT bore people with a long personal pitch or a bumbling explanation about who you are and/or what you’re seeking.
  4. You should take an interest in the people you meet first. It’s common to ramble on about yourself when you’re nervous, so make a serious effort to ask people questions and LISTEN to what they share closely.
  5. Depending on the length of the mixer, try not to spend more than 5-10 minutes with each person. You’re there to meet a lot of people! Now if you’re really enjoying yourself with someone, maybe spend a bit more time. BUT, KEEP IN MIND, they may want to be moving on to meet more people, too, so don’t monopolize their time. They might be too shy to excuse themselves, so be mindful of time, and watch their eyes and body language!
  6. If alcohol is being served, don’t overdo it. I’ve seen quite a few people early-on at an event making a great impression and then, after a few drinks, it goes downhill. Remember: If you’re an employee, everything you say and do at the event will not only impact your personal brand but will also reflect on your employer’s brand!
  7. Make a lot of eye contact with people and smile! It’s all about human contact, and smiling will draw people to you. However when most people get nervous they tend to stand on the sidelines and hope people will come to them. A genuine, sincere smile will relax people and will make connecting with you more inviting…exuding confidence it key!
  8. Practice being a good conversationalist. Rather than JUST talk about you, your job and your purpose for being there (or theirs), have a few interesting questions memorized, and ask about kids, travel, previous jobs, pets, sports, current events, etc. This can help you quickly bond with people beyond “business”. Also, by really listening to people (which many people are NOT great at!) questions will come up naturally that you can ask to keep the conversation going. And, personally, I avoid topics around religion and politics…there’s no need to get yourself into a potentially controversial conversation!
  9. If someone approaches a group you’re talking to, immediately extend your hand, smile, and make them feel welcome. Remember, they are probably nervous, too!
  10. Send a hand written follow-up note to all the people you meet (mail them within 1-2 days). The immediate thought, especially by Gen Y, is to send an e-mail or text message, but a good ‘ol fashioned “Nice meeting you” greeting card, sent via snail mail, makes a BIG impression on people, from ANY generation…because people rarely send them nowadays!

Okay, now find some good association mixers and industry events in your area, and try to attend at least 1-2 per month, consistently. There is a very good chance you’ll reap the benefits of your off-line networking efforts fast, such as: See your professional contacts database grow quickly; find career-building opportunities otherwise missed; and, for those of you job searching, potentially get leads on good job opportunities!

Here’s a great quote I read a while ago (but I can remember who said it): “Take your online connections off-line, and take your off-line connections online”. Great advice!

 Bye for now!

Lisa

The Top 10 Leadership Books All Gen Y Employees Should Read

January 31st, 2011

Hi All!

I conduct various seminars and workshops on Leadership and Personal Leadership Branding for Millennials (Gen Y) employees and college students, and one of the things I tell them is to “feed your brain”. That is a key trait of effective leaders regardless of how high up the ladder they are in their careers…they never stop learning to be better.

Along with that advice, I’m also asked,”What books on leadership should I read?” Obviously, I can’t resist recommending mine, “Millennials into Leadership”. I would be crazy not to!!

But here are some of the other (wink) top books on leadership that I think Millennials, and all other generations at work, should read to learn and nurture their leadership and management skills. Quick side note: Just because you’ve been given a leadership role, doesn’t mean you’re good at it! Some people are born leaders, but MOST everyone else needs training. That’s why organizations hire me to conduct leadership seminars for their Millennial employees!

Okay, back to the list…this article was in WashingtonPost.com and written by Andrea Useem, and the list was created by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten, who run the business book publisher and website 800 CEO Read. And based on their research, this is what they chose as the 10 best leadership books.

Excerpt:

…and how did they choose them? “We had three litmus tests,” Sattersten told me in a phone interview. “Was the book accessible and well written? Are its lessons applicable today? And, third, would we apply the insights in our own business?”

1. On Becoming a Leader, by Warren Bennis

2. The Leadership Moment, by Michael Useem

3. The Leadership Challenge, by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner (NOTE: Recommended by one panelist as the FIRST book on leadership you should read)

4. Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will, by Noel Tichy and Stratford Sherman

The other books on their list are:
Leadership is an Art, by Max De Pree
The Radical Leap, by Steve Farber
Leading Change, by John Kotter
Questions of Character, by Joe Badaracco
The Story Factor, by Annette Simmons, and
Never Give In! Speeches by Winston Churchill

So there you have it! Choose a few, or all, and get reading! Your employees and employers will thank you!

Bye for now,

Lisa

How Developing a Personal Brand at Work Can Impact Your Career Success

July 11th, 2010

Hi All!

I conduct workshops and seminars for employees of corporations (many attendees are Millennials) on how and why developing a Personal (Leadership) Brand platform for themselves is important to their career growth, success and advancement. And I also discuss this quite a bit in my second book, “Millennials Into Leadership: The Ultimate Guide for Gen Y’s Aspiring to Be Effective, Respected, Young Leaders at Work”.

Here is a brief overview, that I call D.A.C.C., which explains why, even if you’re an employee and not self-employed, developing your own Personal Brand in the workforce is necessary (and you should start creating yours NOW, regardless of your role/level…even if you’re an entry-level employee!!!):

DIFFERENTIATION:

  • Makes you stand out in the sea of other employees
  • Communicates who you are to your peers, leadership, employees and clients

AUTHENTICITY:

  • Allows you to speak and act authentically
  • Prevents you from being “fake”
  • Gives you clarity “about you” and what you stand for
  • Great Quote: “To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are!”

CONSISTENCY:

  • Makes people know how you will act and handle situations, consistently
  • Enables others to know who you are and what they can expect from you, consistently
  • Regardless of who are interacting with, your personality and demeanor, are consistent

CLARITY:

  • You know what you stand for and act accordingly
  • Gives you clarity, and others clarity, on your core values
  • Helps keep you on track: “If I do this or say this, is it supporting or diluting my Personal Brand?”
  • Keeps your moral compass in-check when faced with questionable situations that could tempt you

Take some time to think about your core values, work ethic, personality, and unique attributes that you bring to a work environment, and write your own Personal Brand Positioning Statement. And then once it’s crafted to your liking, proclaim it, live it, and BE your brand!

BTW: I even know some employees who have taken it a step further and added a “visual brand” element to their overall branding. What do I mean by this? One woman I know always wears striped socks at work, and she is known for that (as well as her positive personal attributes); and one young man I know is known for always wearing funny hats to work. Think of this in terms of Donald Trump and his hair…we all may laugh at it, but he is keenly aware that it’s part of his visual brand, he knows it is a topic of conversation, and he loves that the media talks about it.

In the book that I wrote (mentioned above), I have a whole chapter with quotes from senior executives about the importance of personal branding, as it pertains to leadership, in the workforce. One that I love, and that really sticks with me, is: “Be aware that people are watching what you say and what you don’t say, and what you do and what you don’t do. Your next opportunities, and indeed reputation, will be impacted by the actions and decisions you make day-to-day…everyday.”

By determining your personal brand at work, and living it consistently, you are building and creating a “reputation” that can foster career success – faster than the employees who choose not to.

Bye for now!

Lisa

Gen Y: Can You Answer These Business and Dining Etiquette Questions?

July 07th, 2010

Hi All!

Recently I was contacted by a large, well-known corporation who is interested in having me conduct my Millennial Business Boot Camp for a group of their Millennial (aka: Gen Y) employees. Their main reason for contacting me was because they knew my boot camp includes a section on Business Etiquette, covering: Meeting etiquette; dining etiquette; communication etiquette, dress etiquette, and general manners etiquette.

The person who contacted me explained that they noticed most of their Millennial employees struggled with these “etiquette areas”. I’ve also conducted workshops, boot camps and seminars for other companies who expressed the same thing.

This is what prompted this very important blog topic. And, Millennials, don’t feel bad! I know generations at work of all of ages who also struggle with these etiquette principles! But the sooner you can get a grip on them, the better for you.

So, let’s get started…can you answer these 8 questions?

Business Etiquette:

1. What is the proper time to arrive for an appointment?

2. Can you exchange business cards while dining?

3. How can you get more privacy in your cubicle (if you work in a cubicle environment)?

4. How much perfume/cologne is acceptable at work?

Click here for answers to these questions and more!

Dining Etiquette:

1. Is it considered rude to take a sip of your drink while you’re still chewing?

2. After the completion of a formal dinner, where do you place your utensils?

3. How should you fold a large napkin before placing it on your lap?

4. What direction should food be passed at a dining table?

Click here for answers to these questions and many others!

As you can see, there are a lot of things you need to be aware of in the world of etiquette. And, remember, having good manners all reflects on YOU and your personal brand at work (and outside of work). So take some time to learn proper etiquette…your boss, co-workers, clients and potential clients, will be impressed!

Bye for now!

Lisa

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