Jun 29 • 3 min read
Engaging Millennials As Employees


On June 21, 2016, Fox Management Consulting and The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce co-hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Engaging Millennials as Customers, Employees and Volunteers.” Panelists included executives from Cradles to Crayons, Radian Guaranty, and SEPTA:

Michal Smith, Executive Director, Cradles to Crayons
Meredith Thomas, Scheduling & Production Associate, Cradles to Crayons
Teresa Bryce-Bazemore, President, Radian Guaranty
Steve Keleher, SVP, Portfolio Management, Radian Guaranty
Susan VanBuren, Assistant General Manager, HR, SEPTA
Erik Johanson, Director of Innovation, SEPTA
Moderator:  Rebecca Zinn, Assistant Professor of Practice, Fox School of Business

Much has been written on Millennials and how this generation views the world. Organizations across the country are adopting strategies and tactics designed to meaningfully engage the nation’s largest, most diverse generation.

To address this topic, executives from three of Philadelphia’s top organizations shared insights and best practices on how they engage millennials at their organizations.  Here are four key takeaways from that conversation:

1. Focus on similarities, rather than differences.

Panelists suggested that there are many similarities between millennials and those from older generations. It helps to focus on opportunities to connect, rather than dwelling on differences. “Millennials want the same things as non-millennials but make life decisions, like home buying, later by comparison” said Bryce-Bazemore of Radian.

2. Motivate millennials by sharing the big picture.

Panelists indicated that millennials like to understand the mission of the organization and how their contributions help build towards that mission. This helps in a number of ways. For millennial employees and volunteers, connection to the organization’s purpose brings perspective to routine tasks – tasks that might otherwise seem unimportant. It also encourages loyalty among a generation that tends to change employers more frequently than previous ones.  Mission is important to millennial customers, as well. They like to partner with firms and brands that make positive contribution to social and environmental issues.

3. Empower millennials with opportunities to make a significant contribution.

Providing millennials with opportunities to lead projects most often has positive outcomes for both the employee and the organization. Millennials often learn through experience, and making real-time decisions on a project gives them a chance to learn-by-doing. This autonomy also builds their connection to the organization.  The organization benefits from a creative, motivated individual addressing an organizational need. Said Smith of Cradles to Crayons, “Millennials will over-perform when provided vision, mission and scope. They tend to run with it.” Van Buren of SEPTA agreed. “Giving your employees choices is key to a successful business strategy,” she said.

4. Let millennials ask ‘Why?’

If organizations make space for millennials to question the status quo, both the organization and the millennial benefit. “Asking ‘why’ can lead to lucrative changes in operations in culture,” said Johanson of SEPTA. Keleher from Radian suggested that this operational analysis helps save Radian’s resources by being more efficient: “Why do something in five steps, when it can be done in two or even automated?” he asked rhetorically.

If you’d like to determine how “millennial” you are, Michal Smith recommends taking this quiz from Pew Research Center. The 14-question quiz will give you a score from 1 – 100.

Interested in the next event?

Mark your calendars for Oct. 20, 2016 at 7:45am.

Would you like to learn more about Fox Management Consulting?

Fox Management Consulting offers actionable research, fresh insight, and competitive rates to clients within the private, public, and social sectors across the globe. We integrate corporate strategy and marketing consulting projects within the MBA curriculum to deliver both a unique learning opportunity to our students and dynamic business solutions to our clients. Consider engaging Fox to address your next business challenge. Email Tyra Ford, tyra.ford@temple.edu for more information.