Andrew Krause and Timothy Parker, CEOs of AKA Media, give Millennials tips on how to rise to the challenges of today’s workforce
As two Gen Xers who started our video communications company in the late nineties, we’ve embraced youth as our company has grown. Embracing youth today means working with millennials.
From a management view, millennials in the workplace represent tremendous potential and opportunity. They are redefining business and business culture.
They have the sum of all human knowledge at their fingertips, and they generally want to make the world a better place. That’s a great start, but it’s only the beginning.
Millennials will continue to challenge the status quo as they enter the workplace in huge numbers. Along the way, they’ll learn how their unique skills can be applied in the real world. Here are some things we’ve learned working with millennials, which will help management maximize millennial potential while helping millennials as they take on the world.
You’re Connected – We Get It
Siri will give us the top search results on the web for just about anything we ask her. You need to be better than Siri. As a millennial, you have the sum of all human knowledge at your fingertips. Act like it. Remember that everyone else in the workplace also has the sum of all human knowledge at his or her fingertips. The key is being able to take that knowledge and make sense of it. You have to apply critical thinking skills to weed through the clutter, compare conflicting reports and truly understand the scope of the issue. So if you’re not better than Siri, you can and will be replaced. Use the tools in front of you to ask “why” and help your boss cut through all of that clutter.
You got a job. Congratulations, now shit just got real. As a millennial in the workplace (or a millennial searching for a job), it is important to talk with your coworkers and management about your real-life experiences. Real-life experiences build character and a greater understanding of the world. When you’re interviewing for a position, talk about things that happened to you in real life. Talk about what you learned from those experiences and how those experiences influence your life in the workplace. You may find you have more in common with your boss than you think.
Take Your Headphones Off
We often hear millennials tell us, “I work better with my music on.” Respectfully, if this is your first job, you have no frame of reference. As your manager, I would prefer you try it my way before you tell me my way doesn’t work for you. Once you’ve had time (like a year) to compare your way vs. my way, then you can make a valid argument. There are exceptions for sure, but if your job includes interacting with people in any way, you should try collaborating with the people around you, in real life.
Check Your Ego
We expect the same from millennial employees as we do from anyone in a for-profit workplace: profits. If you’re the type of millennial who wants to be recognized and rewarded just for showing up on time, you may be in for a rude awakening. You’ll be successful if you understand that your supervisor and other co-workers started at the bottom and worked hard to prove themselves as valuable contributors.
Help a Millennial Out (HAMO)
The oldest millennials are reaching their mid-thirties and many have blazed a trail for others to follow in the business world. The youngest millennials are in their teens and as they work to build their careers will identify with leaders in their peer demographic group. This type of millennial mentoring will be extremely valuable to the entire workforce as older millennials use their skills of connecting and sharing what they have learned with others.
Working in an industry that bridges video technology with communication, we get a lot of interest from millennials. We hire them, we fire them, and we work with them as clients and vendors. We’ve found our best millennial performers can apply critical thinking while processing large volumes of information, they share real character-building experiences, they collaborate with others and take the time to walk a mile in the boss’s shoes, and they show leadership skills as they take time to help other millennials.
Andrew Krause is the Executive Producer, CEO of AKA Media
Timothy Parker is the Executive Producer, CEO AKA Media