How the millennial generation will transform the workplace

Posted October 8th, 2013 in Articles, Blogs by admin

The Millennial generation or Gen Y is transforming the nature of careers and the workplace. Their values, beliefs and life style are significantly different from the Baby Boomer generation. These differences will require organizations to adapt due to sheer numbers of Millennials who will dominate the workplace in the coming decade.

By 2020, nearly 50% of the U.S. workforce will consist of Millennials according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Stastistics. Another study predicts nearly 75% by 2025. In Canada, the figures are 75% by the year 2028.

I’ve had the privilege of working with scores of young Millennials in the Vancouver Board of Trade’s Leaders of Tomorrow mentoring program, and I’ve found them to be passionate and driven to make a difference in the world, and confident they can assume the role of leaders early in their careers. And clearly they see their careers and the workplace very differently than current baby boomers.

Josh Berzin, an talent management expert, writing in Forbes magazine advises executives “Your ability to attract, develop, and retain young leaders will make or break your company in the coming years.” Berzin argues “The way we move people around, the way we appraise people, the types of rewards we provide…and how we think about careers all need to change. Many of these changes throw sand in the gears of HR.”

Kate Taylor, writing in Forbes, states, “The 9 to 5 job may soon be a relic of the past if Millennials have their way…Freelancing and self-employment are on the rise. Meanwhile 60% of Millennials are leaving their companies in less than three years at a cost to the organization of $20,000 per person to replace.”

Millennial Branding study reported that 45% of Millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay; 72% want to have a job where they can have an impact; and due to the impact of the recent recession and current high unemployment rate for young people, need economic security (according to a recent AP analysis, more than 53 percent of recent college grads are unemployed or underemployed). An MTV survey reported Millennials want more flexible hours and ability to work remotely with technology; they want to set their own hours and dress how they want; and they believe they can teach older workers and their bosses a thing or two.

According to Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success, and an expert on the Millennials, says “Millennials have a different view of how work should be done and what a company’s role should be in society. They want companies to give back to the community, to eliminate the traditional 9 to 5 workday collaboration,instead of isolation, and to create a organization fabricated by social media. Millennials, relative to older generations, are all about giving back to communities that align with their core values. They want to make a difference in a world.”

Emily Matchar, writing in the Washington Post,  “The current corporate culture simply doesn’t make sense to much of middle-class Gen Y. Since the cradle, these privileged kids have been offered autonomy, control and choices… They’ve been encouraged to show their creativity and to take their extracurricular interests seriously. Raised by parents who wanted to be friends with their kids, they’re used to seeing their elders as peers rather than authority figures. When they want something, they’re not afraid to say so.”

Jay Gilbert, writing in the Ivey Business Journalcontends “Millennials are creating a change in how work gets done, as they work more in teams and use more technology. Their social mindset, however, is also a significant factor. As Leigh Buchanon writes in Meet the Millennials, ‘One of the characteristics of millennials, besides the fact that they are masters of digital communication, is that they are primed to do well by doing good. Almost 70 percent say that giving back and being civically engaged are their highest priorities.’”

PWC study of Millennials, in collaboration with The University of Southern California, concluded, among other things, that organizations still embrace old models of work and talent and management, models that are inconsistent with the way Millennials want to work.

David Burstein, author of Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaping Our World, and himself a Millennial, argues passionately, “Millennials are part of the quiet progression toward significant, scalable, and lasting change, and they are learning that they can do extraordinary things when they mobilize their peers … Millennials are trying to incorporate issues, causes and beliefs they are passionate about into busy, complex, multifaceted lives. Millennials are looking for sustainable commitments that can engage them and allow them to contribute to society.”

The Millennial generation has been widely characterized as the “me” generation—self-centered, lazy, and demanding–a reputation that is unbalanced and to some degree mud slinging by the predominant baby boomers, who upon close examination, haven’t done so well. One thing is clear, the Millennials will soon be in control of careers and the workplace, and they will change.


How Do Employers Hire? Advice From the Experts

Posted October 8th, 2013 in Articles, Blogs by admin

As an executive coach, I’m often in asked the question both by those in mid-career changes and by eager millennials looking for the first job: what are employers looking for in a new hire?

Career counsellors and coaches, and recruiters have made an industry out of providing advice for job seekers from everything to resumes and cover letters, interview techniques and questions, and navigating the online job hunting and application process.

One thing I’ve learned is that there is no magic formula, and that 80% of the jobs available are never advertised. Indeed they may not exist until the right person comes along.

LinkedIn recently ran a series on this issue and put the question to more than a dozen prominent business leaders and though leaders. Here’s a sampling of their advice.

Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte:

  • Experience is misleading and won’t necessarily get you the job. Employers are looking for what you can do, not what you’ve done.
  • Employers are looking for people with passion, tenacity and quality.
  • Employers want people who are confident but humble.

Deepak Chopra, Founder of The Chopra Foundation:

  • Employers should look for the cnadiate who can articulate their life purpose
  • Employers should ask the candidate to identify the qualities of good friendship.
  • Employers should ask the candidate to describe the best attributes that they have to contribute to a meaningful relationship.

J.T. O’Donnell, Founder and CEO of

  • Candidates should be able to demonstrate how knowledgeable and connected they are already to the organization they want to work in.
  • Employers should assess how well the candidates articulate their thoughts.

Sir Richard Branson

  • Employers should hire a candidate with a personality that fits their organizational culture.
  • Employers should hire people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others.

In my discussion and coaching of job seekers, and chatting with recruiters and employers over the past two decades, I’ve emphasized the following for job hunters, anxious to get that next or first job:

  1. Make managing your own career a part of your professional and working life. Don’t leave it in the hands of recruiters, career counselors or your current employer;
  2. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. Job opportunities often may appear through a third party—someone who knows someone you know. That’s why being a good networker is important.
  3. Never be out unemployed even for day. If you can’t find a job, on a part time basis, volunteer, be an unpaid intern. And make your full time job every day creating opportunities for a job.
  4. Learn how to master the interest interview—chatting with a prospective employer you’d like to work for—without actually applying for a job. It takes the stress off you, and the employer keep you in mind for something in the future.
  5. Put as much time into mastering yourself as mastering the technical knowledge and skills of the work you want.  In the long run, who you are as a person, your values, emotional intelligence and relationship skills are more marketable than technical skills.
  6. Be confident, authentic but humble. Enough said.





Why eye contact may not be so influential

Posted October 8th, 2013 in Articles, Blogs by admin

We’ve all been told of the importance of eye contact as a way to make a powerful and influential impact on people. New research shows eye contact may have the opposite effect with some people.

Research by Frances Chen of the University of British Columbia conducted with her colleagues at the University of Freiberg in Germany, shows eye contact may make people actually more resistant to persuasion and influence, particularly if they already have a contrary perspective. “There is a lot of cultural lore about the power of eye contact as an influence tool,” says Chen, “but our findings show that direct eye contact makes skeptical listeners less likely to change their minds, not more, as previously believed.”

Chen and her colleagues used eye-tracking technology in two studies. The first showed the more time participants looked at the speaker’s eyes while watching a video, the less persuaded they were by the speaker’s argument. Looking at the speaker’s eyes was associated with greater receptiveness only if the speaker’s opinion agreed with the participant’s.  In the second experiment participants who were told to look at the speaker’s eyes displayed less of a shift in attitude than those were instructed to look at the speaker’s mouth.

Julia Minson of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, co-lead researcher of the studies argued that eye contact can signal very different kinds of messages depending on the situation—trust in one context and intimidation in another.

This research flies in the face of much conventional wisdom and professional advice. For example, a communications-analytics company, Quantified Impressions, recommends people should be making eye contact 60-70% of the time to create a sense of emotional connection, with no reference to whether the people hold an agreeable or disagreeable perspective. Similarly, research by Image and Vision Computing recommends prolonged eye contact during a debate or disagreement can signal you’re standing your ground. This argument implies you will end up being more influential.

So the best advice might be when you are talking to someone who disagrees with you, is to avoid eye contact, or at least prolonged e