There’s a stigma and assumption that Millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and self-absorbed. While that stigma carries some truth, it does reveal a common frustration among Baby Boomer and Gen X employers trying to attract the Millennial generation. This also ignores many of the positive attributes common among this younger generation, that now represents the largest generation of working Americans, and the largest purchasing power of any living generation.
FoxFuel is comprised of three principles that border the upper limit of Millennial and lower level of Gen X and culturally fit the grey area in between. We’ve seen tremendous success in both hiring and retaining quality employees that fall within a demographic that’s known for bouncing from job to job. There are many factors that play into that success, but we thought we’d share a few key contributors:
1. We don’t really wear pleats anymore.
Comfort is big here. I’m not talking about sweatpants and video games. I’m talking about psychological safety. FoxFuel is a place where our employees feel confident in expressing both themselves and their ideas without fear of reprimand or humiliation. Doesn’t mean we coddle, doesn’t mean we hand out participation ribbons and say things like “every idea is a good idea with the right plan”. We crank out a lot of terrible ideas - they hit the whiteboard and that’s where they die. But we put all of them on the whiteboard and we poke and we prod and we massage until we find the one. And that one will almost always be missed if we don’t create a safety in expressing ideas.
2. We pay very close attention to soft skills.
Our employees want meaning and purpose in the work that they do. They have a desire to understand their individual significance in the bigger picture, and we have to figure out how to make that happen. Many of us have been a cog in a wheel at some point, and some even took a pay cut coming to FoxFuel simply because they felt more directly tied to the mission and value here.
We start with a fairly simple 4-step process:
- Step One: define and communicate the vision for the company over the next three to four years.
- Step Two: clearly articulate the value you offer to your customers. With this, the employees come to understand the business model, the competition, and the reason behind the company’s existence.
- Step Three: do exercises to communicate the employee's individual value to the company. (DISC or Strengthsfinder are great places to start.)
- Step Four: Connect that value back to the vision from step one and the ultimate value to our clients.
3. Bonding your employees to each other bonds them to your company.
We’ve found that the key to this is simply creating time and space to challenge and encourage each other. On a regular basis. We do this in 2 primary ways:
We spend 2 days in a cabin in the woods together. It’ll change you. Hopefully in a good way. That time is spent looking at both vision for FoxFuel and for each employee. Again, placing that emphasis on the value each individual contributes to the larger vision of FoxFuel.
We have champions in the office who make sure we take time to celebrate wins, acknowledge strengths, and communicate company vision and value. We do company outings, we take time at our weekly staff meetings to celebrate both professional and personal successes, and everyone loves our Love Cup. It’s a gold plastic solo cup that sits on a shelf. On birthdays, workaversaries, or just to give someone a boost, we all write an encouraging message to a member of the team and blast Whitney Houston’s "I Will Always Love You" while their supervisor reads the tiny notes of praise to the group. We regularly reinforce the value of FoxFuel and the value of each individual person with our team.
Wanna talk more about this or see our retreat agenda? Click here to schedule coffee with Colton.