The best Millennial retention strategy ever is...
This is a subtle nod to the 2009 New York Times Bestseller, Crush It!: Why Now Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk where the title of Chapter Nine is, "The Best Marketing Strategy Ever." Turn the page and the entire chapter consists of one word, "CARE."
Caring is highly coveted by Vaynerchuk. So much so that he has found a radical way to ensure caring is part of the company culture of his full-service digital agency, VaynerMedia. VaynerMedia uses radical candor to engage its workforce that is 80 percent Millennials.
What is radical candor?
Kim Scott, the author of Radical Candor, describes radical candor as, "the ability to challenge directly and show you care personally at the same time. Radical candor means saying what you think while also [caring] about the person you're saying it to."
Scott's origin story of radical candor depicts just how efficient and impactful it can be for leaders.
I was walking my dog and she almost got hit by a car. I pulled her away just in time. A perfect stranger standing at a red light looked at me and he said, 'I can see you really love that dog.' That was all he had to do to show he cared personally--he established a basic human connection--he was emphasizing with me since my heart was in my throat because my dog almost just died. And then he said, 'But you are going to kill that dog if you don't teach it to sit.' That was a direct challenge. Then to offer a little bit of help, he points at the sidewalk with a harsh gesture and says 'Sit!' The dog sat and I didn't even know the dog knew how to do that. I looked at the man with amazement. Then the man said, 'It's not mean...it's clear.' The light changed, he walked off, and I was left with words to live by.
People care personally about their work because work is the activity we do most during our waking hours. Therefore there is a lot of passion and emotion involved when you deliver feedback on employee's work. Radical candor allows leaders to bring to work the humanity necessary to connect with employees and enable their best work.
How to use radical candor?
The topic of radical candor came up recently in my interview with VaynerMedia's Chief Heart Officer, Claude Silver, where we spoke about creating company heart in order to engage Millennials.
According to Silver, VaynerMedia used to have a company culture that shied away from feedback. They soon realized that approach was not helping the individual or the organization. Silver and Vaynerchuk now use radical candor in all meetings with leaders.
Silver uses radical candor in her one-on-one coaching sessions, she teaches the radical candor approach to other leaders throughout the organization, and she trains her direct team so they can train other leaders on how to use radical candor.
"Move from coddling and being vague [with Millennials], to viewing the act and art of giving feedback as care," says Silver. "Be extremely clear with your feedback and care about the employee's growth and development."
To be unclear is to be unkind. And in the words of Theodore Roosevelt, "Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care."
VaynerMedia's strong radical candor culture encourages employees to solicit, give and exchange feedback freely. This has enabled VaynerMedia to attract, engage and retain Millennials since Millennials want feedback 50 percent more often than other generations. (Read this for another helpful strategy for delivering feedback to Millennials.)
Radical candor has enabled over six hundred of VaynerMedia's Millennial employees to do the best work of their lives, build the best relationships of their career and bring their full-selves to work.
Care personally and challenge directly to engage your Millennial workforce.
Hear my full interview with Claude Silver by clicking here.
I help companies better lead, engage, train, and sell to Millennials and Generation Z. If you'd like help solving tough generational challenges inside your organization, click here.