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Millennials in the Workforce

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After working on the 8095 team, I can’t help but assess Edelman with a critical eye as to how it manages a workforce heavily comprised of the Millennial generation. We aren’t kids or even teens, we are professionals. Often times I’ve wondered how companies with a global footprint remain locally relevant all the while winning awards about happy employees.

Take that in for a minute. Consider the sheer scale of keeping thousands of Millennials employees engaged, mentally stimulated, passionate and dedicated to doing incredible work. If the news is to be believed, we (I’m speaking on behalf of stereotypes of my generation) are hard to work with, impossible to please, have unrealistic expectations of our own worth and have bad attitudes.

Let me rephrase that in my own ever-optimistic lens of a 26-year-old blessed with a great job. I work hard in the right environment, one that is supportive of my aspirations and passions. Edelman has allowed me to write my own “Edel-story,” thus driving my corporate brand passion which our study shows works to engage Millennials the world round. I achieve pleasure when my personal and professional life is in balance. I believe my voice is important, but I’m equally interested in learning from those around me. I am talented at challenging the status quo. I am quintessentially Millennial – driven by personal and professional goals, not willing to sacrifice my values for anything, and always seeking an opportunity to challenge myself and succeed.

So how does a company like Edelman deal with a Millennial like me (and thousands of others around the world)? I’ve identified five core components that my company excels at when it comes to managing Millennials – or at least this Millennial.

  • Options: Career progression is important to me. I want to succeed and I want to know that each day I’m taking a step closer to my goals. In many cases, I am paid in experiences that will ultimately lead to career growth. My managers, peers and even senior leadership have taken a vested interest in my success by providing options to me including various internal positions, challenging projects, volunteer and client opportunities to feed my soul, and options for relocation around the country and the world.  The Global Fellows program is just one example of many options that I hope to participate in during my time with the company.
  • Balance: As a Millennial, I have an incredibly difficult time disconnecting from work, but it is a balance I need to be successful in life and work. At any given time, there are teams of other highly qualified individuals available to ensure no one person is working an unrealistic amount of time. Best of all, our company understands the best work is produced by balanced employees and Edelman does its best to support that.
  • Glocalization: The effect of so many young folks working for one company is a global network of expert marketers, but even better, friends. Through digital connections resulting from my work at Edelman, I have a global circle of contacts that can go from talking shop to unwinding over a beer on Friday night with ease. As a remote employee, my connections around the world via Edelman, inspire me every day, and support my personal and professional goals of traveling and working internationally.
  • Leadership: Is citing executives as awesome my Millennial ploy to get to the top? No. The likes of Richard Edelman, Rick Murray, Nancy Ruscheinski, Phil Gomes…here’s a secret: these folks aren’t Millennials. But they listen to us, learn from us, encourage us and teach us in a collaborative environment without fear of hierarchical backlash. Edelman’s leadership has embraced Millennials as both a driving part of the workforce, but also as a growing consumer segment.
  • Humor: In the best of times and the worst of times at Edelman, humor is present every day. Nick Shore at MTV summed it up best, “Smart and funny is the new rock and roll.” As a Millennial, I want to laugh and be smart. I want brands to be smart while making me laugh. Edelman nails this one. We have fun.

I’ll conclude by giving a warm “Cheers” to the HR teams that have successfully built this workforce of Millennials by adjusting to our needs for success, challenge and mutually-beneficial relationships with our jobs. As a Millennial on staff, I commend you.

Eliza Newcomb is a senior account executive and analyst for Edelman Digital –  follow her on Twitter at @newnukem

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