- Spring Seminar
PAGE SOCIETY SPRING SEMINAR - APRIL 2014
As a new batch of millennials enters the workforce each year, understanding what drives them professionally is critical to engaging and motivating them at work. It’s also just as valuable in understanding what makes them loyal customers.In a conversation between Buzz Marketing Group CEO and Founder Tina Wells and Warby Parker Co-CEO and Co-Founder Dave Gilboa, Gilboa mentioned two factors that are driving millennials in the workplace: an opportunity to develop professionally and a feeling that their work has purpose.
It’s a fundamental shift in the way generations of workers view their profession. This sense of purpose and the desire to have a career not just a job is a prevailing theme that Buzz Marketing and CEO Wells have seen in recent surveys of millennials.
They also have especially high expectations of their employer. According to Wells, millennials want to know “what’s in it for me” and “why am I here?” They want their work to be part of realizing the company’s mission. And they want to move up the ranks quickly – sometimes unrealistically quickly, Gilboa pointed out.
Balance all of that with the reality that, as Ms. Wells put it, “corporate culture is rivaling pop culture.” So the perks and office environment (think ping pong tables and stocked fridges) are also big motivators.
So how do these characteristics inform the way managers interact with millennials and how brands communicate with them as a stakeholder group? There were some key takeaways from Gilboa and Wells. First, it means that your brand’s corporate character – its purpose, vision and mission – is important to millennials. Whether it’s in how you recruit or how you market your company, doing so through the lens of your company’s character is important.
And second, it means that managing and motivating millennials takes a unique set of skills to be successful. Gilboa noted that while expectations about how quickly this generation can move up in an organization may be unrealistic, this get-ahead mentality should be part of a company’s management style. At Warby Parker, they provide a constant flow of direct feedback so employees understand how they’re doing and how that’s affecting their progress. “People want to learn and develop,” Gilboa said. “So give them the tools, but also be realistic about how to get there.”
Gilboa also stressed the value of encouraging creative thinking among staff and being willing to adapt business approaches. Though Warby Parker was founded upon its evolutionary online sales model, it recognized that customers wanted to come in to try on their prospective specs. After a period where Dave’s apartment was the customer try-on center, they began by using a renovated school bus as a makeshift pop-up shop. Since then they have been enjoying increasing success with brick-and-mortar stores that connect with the online experience. In fact, says Gilboa, their stores are more productive per square foot than Tiffany’s. That’ll make anyone take a closer look at their business – whether they wear glasses or not.
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