Who Are Millennials? What You Need to Know to Attract the Young Top Talent to Your Company

If they’re not already, millennials are going to be a big part of your company’s growth. Here’s how to recruit this dynamic group.

There are 80 million millennials in the United States. There are 2.5 billion millennials worldwide. In 2016, the number of young professionals in Cleveland numbered more than 175,000 and this population growth outpaced total population growth, post-recession. Just by their scale alone, the millennial generation is a force that businesses need to be aware of.

But it extends beyond just sheer numbers. This group also shares a unique mindset as it relates to how they approach their career. The Generation Ys, The Millennials and the Gen Nexters. When recruiting and engaging these employees where do you begin? The best way to answer that question is to get a better idea of what is motivating the millennial generation as it is a generation with its own mindset. Research suggests that millennials have different aspirations with their work:

  • They want to make a difference.
  • They are achievement-oriented.
  • They stay in positions for only 1.8 years on average.

Now that we know a little more about this group, let’s go back to the original question above: How can employers recruit and engage this group? Let’s break it down bullet-by-bullet.

They want to make a difference

If you want to make a young professional happy, help her/him discover and connect to their purpose. One good way to do this is to use organizations such as Engage! Cleveland as an extension of your HR department. These organizations can introduce your millennial employee to difference-making opportunities that will help keep their batteries charged and make for a more satisfied employee. Research shows that employees who are engaged in their community are 2-3 times more likely to stay.

They are achievement-oriented

Related to the point above, establish creative ways to build professional skills such as getting involved in the nonprofit world. Show them how they can gain skills outside of the work place and how it will help their career. A Millennial might want to be a manager, but doesn’t currently manage other employees. As an example, managing volunteers can be more challenging than managing employees, so, if they can learn to manage volunteers at a nonprofit, they will be in a better position to someday manage employees. This is a check in the right column.

They stay in positions for only 1.8 years on average

If you recruit a millennial employee, you likely want that person to stick around as turnover is a big, scary word in HR. Older generations cared about one thing…drum roll please…MONEY! Salary increases aren’t the only way to increase a millennial’s job satisfaction. Offer a title change and other ways to impact their work and workplace. You might also consider other perks, such as additional vacation time or a flexible schedule. These “perks” that often don’t cost the company money are no brainers and lead to more satisfied employees.

Also, millennials value those companies that honor work-life balance and societal issues. Think about how your organization can best offer a good work-life balance mix and perhaps hold back a bit of salary in exchange. It could very well be a win win for both you and your Millennial employees.

A long-term force

Millennials are going to be a force on the employment scene for some time. Estimates show that 75% of the 2025 workface will be Millennials. So it is imperative, that you think through some of the items above and how they might intersect with your company’s philosophy and you will put your company in a good position to align yourself with millennial recruits.

And just in case you were getting tired of all of the Millennial data, don’t worry, Gen Z, those born between the mid 1990’s and mid 2000’s, will be entering the workforce soon with an entirely different set of priorities.

Ashley Basile Oeken is president of Engage! Cleveland, a nonprofit whose mission is to attract, engage and retain young, diverse talent to the Greater Cleveland area. Learn more about her organization’s work by clicking here.

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  • Next up: Building the Matrix: Who’s Responsible for Your Company’s Decisions?
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  • Building the Matrix: Who’s Responsible for Your Company’s Decisions?

    Sometimes simply following the law isn't enough to ensure decisions impacting your company go smoothly and that your reputation is protected. Learn how a matrix of authority can help.

    It is difficult to keep a company on the path of legal compliance and to maintain its reputation especially since following the law does not necessarily protect an organization’s reputation. 

    Recently, AT&T and Novartis experienced the pain a bad decision can have on reputation and financial value. The CEO’s for both Novartis and AT&T gave mea culpas for hiring Michael Cohen, Donald J. Trump’s former lawyer.   

    Novartis’ chief executive explained that it was a bad decision for his company to pay Michael Cohen $1.2 million dollars to consult on how the Trump administration would approach policy decisions related to the Affordable Care Act.   

    Likewise, AT&T’s CEO said that “Hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake." Cohen was going to advise AT&T on the key players in the Trump administration; on those key players’ priorities; and on “how they think,” including the administration’s approach on AT&T’s proposed merger with Time-Warner.

    To be clear, according to both companies, their decisions to hire Cohen were legal since hiring someone to provide a corporation with insight into an administration in itself is not a crime.

    In fact, Cohen is not the first person to sell his knowledge or experience with a particular administration. Many who have held government positions or who have unique access and knowledge about the government are hired as “consultants” or “lobbyists.” And, this is not just a U.S. thing. Most businesses that work internationally know that retaining a former government official, in almost any country, to consult on how the government operates and to make introductions facilitates developing business.

    But, with this benefit comes risk. Consultant and lobbyists—whether in the U.S. or outside of the U.S—who have access to government officials or former government officials, or who otherwise have “inside” government information, although capable of providing valuable political strategy to a company, may also, intentionally or unintentionally, expose a company and its employees to reputational damage and to criminal behavior such as bribery, conflicts of interest, and a whole host of other crimes. 

    As a result, when an organization decides to hire a consultant is connected, like Cohen is, the organization should proceed with caution. First, conducting due diligence on the consult is a must so you can know who their family members and business partners are, where they are invested, what they did in the past, what they will do with the money you pay them, etc. 

    Second, an organization needs to make sure that leadership, including its lawyers, know a consultant with ties to the government is going to be hired, this includes the fees to be paid to the consultant, and the scope of the work. 

    The CEO’s for both AT&T and Novartis admit their mistake in hiring Cohen was a result of “moving too fast” and a lack of due diligence. More precisely, Novartis’ CEO said he really did not even know who Cohen was and, very soon after signing the agreement with Cohen to provide policy advice, it became clear to Novartis that Cohen had oversold his ability to advise on health policy. 

    As for AT&T, apparently AT&T’s government affairs group hired Cohen; and according to AT&T’s CEO, Cohen was not adequately vetted. In the wake of this matter, the leader of AT&T’s government affairs group will retire; and, going forward, AT&T’s government affairs team will report to AT&T’s lawyers.

    AT&T’s decision to place the responsibility and authority to hire political consultants in the hands of its lawyers is one way of mitigating the risk of the reputational damage it and Novartis suffered. But not the only way, because at Novartis, the lawyers were involved, yet Cohen was still hired. Novartis’ general counsel resigned over the matter.

    The facts that are known about how AT&T and Novartis decided to hire Cohen demonstrate why it is vital to define who within an organization has responsibility and authority to make decisions that have the legal and reputational implications that hiring Cohen had. 

    An effective way to clearly define responsibility and authority, essentially who owns a decision, in an organization is through a well-configured “matrix of authority.”

    A matrix of authority broadly identifies the decisions a company regularly makes, for example retaining political consultants, leasing factory or office space, merging or acquiring another company. Once the decisions are listed, each decision should then map to the role/function/title within the organization that has authority and responsibility to make the decision. The role/function/title listed as the “decider” should have the necessary clout, experience and knowledge depending on the type of decision. For example, a decision to re-brand the company would sit with the CEO but also an organization’s marketing leader. Or, a decision to re-finance debt, depending on how much debt, may rest with the CFO or the CFO’s designee.

    The AT&T and Novartis situations further demonstrate how a matrix of authority should be designed and how it may blunt legal and reputational damage.

    As a result of the Cohen hire, going forward AT&T lawyers now own the decision on whether to retain political consultants. Theoretically, the lawyers should know the legal requirements that apply to working with political consultants who have government ties – for example lobbying, ethics and corruption laws. With this knowledge, the lawyers should be able to assess the legal and reputational risks of the decision; advise leaders on these risks; and advise on steps to manage these risks.

    However, for political consultants with Cohen’s connections and profile, the lawyers should not have the final say. Rather, the matrix of authority should assign final authority and responsibility to the AT&T CEO and possibly its board, informed by the lawyers. 

    If, for example, the Novartis CEO had been clearly identified as the individual with the final authority and responsibility to retain political consultants like Cohen, then the CEO would know it was his obligation to make sure he is satisfied that the hiring decision complies with the law and is in the best interest of the company. Rather, than having to explain his company’s decision after the “writ” has already hit the fan.

    The matrix of authority also relieves leaders of having to review every decision. For example, if a company wants to hire a political consultant to advise on a state’s approach on public-private partnerships and the consultant is a professor focusing on public-private partnerships with no government relationships, the final authority and responsibility may rest with more junior lawyers and managers. Thus, leaders are not burdened with these less risky decisions. For, I can assure you, many an organization develops procedures and policies to blunt some risk, only to find it has gridlocked itself with some onerous review and approval process which ties up leadership with decisions they don't need to make.  This ends up making everyone in the decision chain frustrated; and, slows business decisions without necessarily mitigating risk.

    Without defining who has responsibility for decisions, organizations risk exposing themselves to decisions being made without adequate facts; without adequate subject matter advice; and without the judgment and knowledge of leadership. A matrix of authority provides clear definition to both employees and leaders on who owns decisions; and, as a result fosters more thoughtful decisions. Because, for most of us, when we know we have the responsibility, we act with more diligence and thought.  So, had the AT&T and Novartis CEOs knew of their organizations’ decisions to hire Cohen, they may have thought through the implications and may not have found themselves having to explain their mistakes.

    "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." Thomas Sowell

    Margaret Cassidy is principal at Cassidy Law. Learn more about the firm’s capabilities by clicking here.


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  • Next up: Who’s the Employer Here? Understanding What Constitutes ‘Joint Employer’ Status Under the NLRB
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  • Who’s the Employer Here? Understanding What Constitutes ‘Joint Employer’ Status Under the NLRB

    What does the reversal of the joint-employer standard mean for your business?

    Recently, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) reversed the joint-employer standard. That decision is likely to impact a number of industries and businesses across Northeast Ohio.

    First, some background. On Dec. 14 last year, the NLRB found two or more entities are joint employers only when it can be shown that one has control over the essential employment terms of another company’s employees. This standard also requires that the control be direct and immediate instead of indirect or limited.

    The recent ruling reversed the Browning-Ferris standard, which had held that a company, its contractors and franchisees could all be considered a “joint employer” for purposes of the National Labor Relations Act.

    The prior standard applied even if the company did not have control over the terms and conditions of a contractor’s or franchisee’s workers. Under Browning-Ferris, the NLRB could find that separate organizations could be joint employers if the primary company had just “indirect control” or an ability to have indirect control over related companies.

    The Browning-Ferris standard had far-reaching impact because the alleged wrongs of one company could be imputed to other companies if it was determined that even “indirect control” might have been exerted. Thus, joint liability could be imposed on all of the entities as part of a “joint employer” web.

    What does this mean?

    This latest reversal is prompting labor and employment attorneys to closely watch how future decisions are impacted. Perhaps the most notable of these cases involves fast food giant McDonald’s and the extent to which it controls its many franchises. This new standard is likely to impact not just the McDonald’s case, but many more just like it. Stay tuned, and we’ll update this issue with further developments as they arise.

    Max Rieker is an attorney at Walter | Haverfield who focuses his practice on labor and employment law. He can be reached at mrieker@walterhav.com or at 216-928-2972.

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  • Next up: Why Background Checks Are Important
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  • Why Background Checks Are Important


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  • Next up: National Eye Exam Month: Why Eye Exams Are Important For You And Your Employees
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  • National Eye Exam Month: Why Eye Exams Are Important For You And Your Employees

    The month of August is National Eye Exam Month, the perfect reminder for you and your employees to schedule an annual eye exam. Courtesy of our partners at VSP® Vision Care, here’s a few reasons why devoting time to your vision’s health and getting a routine exam is so important.

    While you and your employees are enjoying the last peppery days of summer, eye exams are the last thing you have time to work into your busy schedule, right? But before calendars completely fill up, this month is a great reminder to add a visit to the eye doctor on your to-do list. Even if you don’t have a vision need right now, getting regular eye exams every year is the best way to ensure that you’ll catch problems early. Below are just a few good reasons why scheduling routine eye exams are so important.  

    Detects vision health and your overall health  

    Did you know that getting an annual comprehensive eye exam can reveal a lot about the health of your eyes and provide your eye doctor a view into your overall health and well-being? Not only will the exam help your eye doctor diagnose issues affecting your ability to see – like nearsightedness, farsightedness, glaucoma or cataracts – but The Vision Council reports that optometrists can spot many health problems at the earliest stage, when they’re most treatable. Conditions your eye doctor can detect include diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid diseases, and hypertension.

    Ensures your prescription is up to date 

    As we age our eyes change and you may not be seeing things as clearly as you should. Wearing the wrong glasses or contact lenses causes the eyes to work harder and can lead to unnecessary eye strain. Even a slight change in prescription can cause eye discomfort, headaches and other associated problems. An annual comprehensive eye exam can determine if your prescription is up to date.

    Improves workplace productivity 

    In today’s working world, we are looking at computers and phones on a consistent basis. Studies have shown that screen time can negatively impact your eyes. As many as 2 in 3 American adults experience digital eye strain symptoms from using a digital device¹. Discussing the amount of time, you spend on a computer, can help your eye doctor advise you on which lenses you could benefit from, like blue-light protection. Plus, getting a regular eye exam can help minimize vision problems that affect you and your employees’ work performance.

    Since eye exams are relatively brief and non-invasive, now is the perfect time to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with your VSP network doctor. By going in-network, you’ll save more on your eye exam, frames, contacts, Lasik, and lens enhancements. Plus you can get additional member savings and bonus offers when you visit a doctor who participates in the VSP Premier Program.

    1. 2017 Digital Eye Strain Report, The Vision Council

    This August make vision health a priority, starting with scheduling a comprehensive eye exam. If you haven’t already, take advantage of your COSE member benefit and opt-in to VSP vision insurance. Contact your COSE sales representative or broker for more info.

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  • Next up: Why I Mentor: The Lessons I Learned
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  • Why I Mentor: The Lessons I Learned

    When I volunteered for the True2U youth mentoring program I was told, “You’ll get as much out of this as the kids.”  I nodded agreeably, but was unprepared for how profound the experience would be. There were many moments that will never be forgotten: poems written; artwork created; vulnerabilities exposed; clever thoughts shared; curiosities explored; challenges met; and frustrations and mental blocks overcome all while self-awareness awareness dawned. However, two large lessons stand out. First, the overarching themes of True2U are as valid for adults as they are for teens. Second, what it takes to be a good mentor is what it takes to be a good human. 

    When I volunteered for the True2U youth mentoring program I was told, “You’ll get as much out of this as the kids.”  I nodded agreeably, but was unprepared for how profound the experience would be.

    There were many moments that will never be forgotten: poems written; artwork created; vulnerabilities exposed; clever thoughts shared; curiosities explored; challenges met; and frustrations and mental blocks overcome all while self-awareness awareness dawned. However, two large lessons stand out. First, the overarching themes of True2U are as valid for adults as they are for teens. Second, what it takes to be a good mentor is what it takes to be a good human.  

    In my opinion the point of True2U was guiding students to know and respect their strengths, deeply acknowledge their distinctive interests, combine those strengths and interests into an understanding of their unique selves and encourage taking action to explore where that will take them. (First priority being a commitment to choose, attend and graduate from high school.) Any person doing this work will find their purpose, their job, their career, their company, their tribe, their way to make a living, their further education and their destiny. We find and expand ourselves, but we cannot do it alone. It takes interaction and support. The genius behind True2U’s effectiveness is the two-layers of high expectations, high structure and high support provided to the students (through the program) and to the mentors (as the program). There is no better way to deepen and broaden your understanding of a subject than to teach it. I found this to be true and profoundly impactful.

    I had a confident, but naïve notion that the will and skill used to help develop my career would help me to be an effective mentor. That was partially true, but largely false. Some will and skill were required, but honest, patient, curious, caring presence is what allowed the most meaningful moments. I learned this on my first day. As I and my fellow mentors launched into the first exercise, I was seated at a table with four young women. They were chatting and laughing and doing what 8th graders do.  “OK, we’re going to…”, I started and stopped.  “This exercise is all about…”, I said stopping again. Nothing was capturing their attention. As a 26-year sales and marketing veteran, I’m KNOWN for starting conversations and I was stuck.

    So the internal dialogue starts: “What ARE you doing here?” Long pause. “I just want to be of some help to these students”.  “Well, that’s a nice intention. Why don’t you just sit patiently with that and see what happens?” So I did. Uncomfortably. It felt like a half hour, but was probably 3 minutes. I noticed one of the student’s hands were bright red. I asked why and learned that she liked to style hair and was coloring last night without gloves. We related that to the exercise which and that sparked the whole table’s engagement. Being patiently present with selfless intention was That established my way to connect to with each of the students.  and  I recognized this it as a deficiency in all of my relationships most of the time. Ouch. Big lesson. Fortunately, True2U supplied me with three 8-hour sessions to practice in.  Three times eight equals 24 hours in a day. Just one day. Seldom easy, but always valuable.

    In the end, Aimee, my wife, summed it up best. “Think of how much better you’ll do next year.” That “day” of mentoring felt like a lot more and what I learned in that “day” is well beyond what I have learned in most of the 24 hours periods in my lifetime… and I will be better next year.

    Learn more about how True2U impacts both sides of the mentoring partnership.

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