Recently I've been hearing a similar story about Millennials in organizations large and small: Millennial employees aren't hard to find, but great Millennial employees are as elusive as unicorns.
By "great," most businesses mean, "hard-working," "easygoing," "culturally-compatible" and more--all of which are certainly desirable traits. What they don't want is the 26-year-old, lazy,Facebook-obsessed Millennial that expects monthly raises, doesn't respect authority and takes way too much coddling to keep happy.
As a Millennial who speaks and writes about Millennials, the question I get asked often is, "where are all the great Millennials?"
Fortunately, every bright, ambitious Millennial knows the answer to this question. The answer is, "they've gone to work at a place where they can run the show."
So, if you're looking for the best way to attract top Millennials, you'll have to do something that most companies would never consider. You'll have to be prepared to let those Millennials get into the minutiae of your company, make critical decisions, follow-through on their actions, lead people and projects, and ultimately be accountable for their own work.
The hard truth is that, with the rise of flat organizational structures, work flexibility and the empowerment of consumers, Millennials can choose to work for companies that allow them to spread their proverbial wings and control their own destinies. That's why you'll find the best ones either running their own businesses or running their own entrepreneurial projects within larger companies.
Conversely, you can never expect the most talented Millennials to get stuffed into middle management and told to "wait their turn," and you'll never see them succumb to illogical corporate ladders, bloated bureaucracies or any system that isn't strictly merit-based.
Compare that with the typical organization that values politics, years-spent-at-the-company and status quo over the more agile, dare I say Millennial alternative.
If you know you need to find better Millennials in order to prepare your organization for future success, I applaud your strategy. However, you might have to change many of your traditional ways of doing business in order to match what talented Millennials expect in their work.
To demonstrate how I personally account for this in business, our agency job descriptions have a boilerplate that we include, along the following lines:
This position is a fast-paced job that requires independent problem-solving, excellent delivery in high-pressure situations, a passion for the highest standards of work, collaboration in a multidisciplinary team, a high degree of accountability and great communication skills. The role is an entrepreneurial one, needing critical thinking skills, management skills, and a high degree of passion for the role, the agency and the agency's clients.
In a word, our description is entrepreneurial. We hope that Millennials that could bring their valuable skills to their own businesses will instead choose to come work with us, and incubate their passions within our infrastructure. Notice, I didn't say, "fit into our culture." Instead, we look at employees as adding to our cultural evolution.
That subtle difference gives top talent the promise that we will let them run the show under our guidance and mentorship, which is one of the factors I most contribute to our success.
Many organizations may be afraid to let Millennials run the show. But, if you need to prepare your business for the next generation, there's no better way than to find a brilliant millennial to do it for you. Just think of the free time you'll enjoy by letting someone else do your work for you.
Your golf game (and your business) will thank you.