March 3, 2015

Last Tuesday, the AMA Atlanta Signature Luncheon provided food for the mind as well as the body and touched on a hot topic:

Millennials in the Workplace

Scot Safon, Former Chief Marketing Officer, The Weather Channel

Carolyn Baird, Global Research Leader, IBM
Bob Van Rossum, President, MarketPro
Emily Binder, Director of Marketing, Budget
Liz Nixon, Director of Emerging and Social Media Marketing, AT&T (unable to attend)

VIDEO highlight clips

Watch the full video here

From the very beginning, the panelists and moderator were exciting and insightful, and, the comments proved to be informative for all, regardless of whether one was a Millennial, worked with Millennials or had been curious about the generation at the heart of so many conversations.

According to research conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value, many of the myths plaguing Millennials are, in fact, not true. We’ve pulled three of the five busted myths, some uncomfortable truths and some recommendations directly from the report for you to see:


A Few Myths

Millennials’ career goals and expectations are different from those of older generations. (Busted)

From the Report:
54% of Millennials don’t fully understand their organization’s business strategy (for Baby Boomers, it’s 58%). 47% of Gen X would leave their current job for another offering more money and a more innovative environment (for Millennials, it’s 42%). 70% of Baby Boomers don’t think their organization is effectively addressing the customer.

Millennials want constant acclaim and think everyone on the team should get a trophy. (Busted)

From the Report:
Above all, Millennials want a manager who’s ethical and fair and also values transparency and dependability. They think it’s less important to have a boss who recognizes their accomplishments and asks for their input. In fact, Gen X employees are almost as likely to want a boss who provides pats on the back, and Baby Boomers are more likely to want a boss who solicits their views.

Millennials are digital addicts who want to do–and share–everything online, without regard for personal or professional boundaries. (Busted)

From the Report:
Turns out, Millennials are quite capable of distinguishing between the personal and professional realms and exercising discretion when they use social media.

You can find and read the full report here:


Bob Van Rossum of MarketPro shared that, to the dismay of some employers, Millennials they hired had productivity issues. Millennials constantly wanted feedback (3x/day or more), which made it difficult for things to be completed in a timely way or affected the productivity of their—what felt like to them—micro manager.

“Why do Millennials really have productivity issues?”
“Why do Millennials demand and need constant feedback?”
“What advice is there to manage a team that has Millennials?”

Carolyn Baird of IBM talked about the findings in the report and pointed out that while they were able to dispute some myths, there are some Uncomfortable Truths for employees and employers alike.

Some Uncomfortable Truths

  • Uncomfortable truth 1: Employees are in the dark. Many aren’t sure they understand their organization’s business strategy—and their leaders are partly to blame.
  • Uncomfortable truth 2: All three generations think the customer experience is poor.
  • Uncomfortable truth 3: Employees of all ages have embraced the technological revolution. The problem? Their enterprises are slow to implement new applications.

In the end, the report provided recommendations that could help organizations and employees alike. As it turned out, fostering a collaborative culture was number two on the list. One audience member asked, “Were Millennials not just being collaborative with their managers—seeking input and ideas from authoritative and intuitive persons to help land on the best course of action? Does collaboration at the collegiate level reflect what managers are looking for?”

Emily Binder of Budget provided an expert analysis with a succinct statement: “Collaboration should be a means towards productivity.” Unnecessary meetings and never-ending email threads intended to ‘keep everyone in the loop’ incorporate everyone, but are not necessarily productive. This can be a hard thing to shake even for the most innovative of companies.

Throughout the Q&A period, audience member hands were constantly raised. AMA Member and Nebo CEO Brian Easter asked the panel if the Millennial problem being discussed was perhaps a people problem. The recommendations provided in the IBM report affirmed and spoke aptly to this point.

Some Recommendations

  1. Focus on the individual
  2. Foster a collaborative culture
  3. Make customer experience a priority

Why? Because the organizations that understand not just the changing landscape but their people as well will be the ones who thrive.

Did you attend last week’s luncheon? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments down below! And don’t forget to check out the full report for the complete list of busted myths, uncomfortable truths and recommendations: <>

By: Darien LaBeach | Digital Account Executive at Nebo 

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