No matter whom you talk to, you will quickly find out that there are few people with solid solutions as we move into a very different way of working. Some people have more information, more data points, some have more understanding based on research and or specific trials (and some errors), and some are going with their gut in new directions, being bold and seeing what happens.
Gavin McGarry is one such bold entrepreneur, founder of social media innovator Jumpwire Media. He has always been pioneering in his vision and ventures and is neither afraid to recognize new trends, nor shy away from assessing changes in the situation and pivoting appropriately. He is now applying a similar approach to engage and motivate his Millennial employees in a new and evolving working environment.
There are no books in this emerging field about 'best practices'... yet. McKinsey even counsels us to use first principles -- together with synthesized experience -- and logic, not legacy or formulae, to lead or coach employees. Gavin gets that, and what that means for both parties involved in the relationship. He takes the new, more balanced, more reciprocal dynamic between employer and employees very seriously and the mutual sense of responsibility and accountability that goes hand in hand with it. Salary setting is one core area where he has applied this approach.
New employees set their own salary. Data from online salary websites such as Salary Expert or PayScale allow prospective employees to assess and propose whatever they consider appropriate, and Gavin has access to the same information to evaluate their offer. What more tangible way to demonstrate that a prospective employee's personal sense of value is and will be respected, also allowing the employee to take ownership of their responsibility in realization of that value. Similarly, for existing employees looking for a promotion, it is their responsibility to validate their knowledge, understanding and preparedness for the role, and the amount of their requested raise.
Motivation is critical with Millennials and Gavin has a compelling recipe to feed, as well as leverage, their passions. His social media agency handles companies of all types across many sectors. He recognizes that every employee has a company that they would LOVE to do social media for and offers each the opportunity to develop a 'passion pitch' for their specific target. Who is better suited to create the most compelling possible presentation? How strong a message does it send to the employee that their interests matter, and that they get to create something they really care about? The result? Vibrant and thoughtful sales pitches from knowledgeable fans, which are well-received, even if some aren't ultimately successful.
Another Millennial 'M' is for 'movement'. The seemingly inevitable churning of talent to get a higher salary, better title, explore other opportunities, or many times simply because the employer is not stepping in to replace the almost-extinct long-term career trajectory with career planning and support. So, Millennials often leave because they see no future - without an explicit direction, there is no direction, it's a dead end job.
Gavin currently openly acknowledges shorter-term tenure and rallies employees to give and get as much as possible during the likely two years they will be working together. Transparency is a highly-appreciated characteristic of the new workplace, and Gavin's openness wins brownie points, helps engage employees creatively, and also encourages them to be part of the highly-acclaimed team at Jumpwire Media for longer.
The Future of Work is not an easy place to navigate. Tradition, for the sake of it, is out. It's more about thinking afresh about the optimal office environment...f or each employee, individually, as well as altogether in combination... and what incremental steps you can take to get there. Then, benefits abound.
Sophie is the Future of Work Strategist at Flexcel Network, helping companies transition to very new ways of working, dealing with issues such as workplace flexibility, talent management, Millennial demands and new employee career planning needs. She speaks frequently to corporate and professional audiences about Future of Work issues.