I am the owner of ttcInnovations, a small business dedicated to creating training solutions for clients that drive employee performance. This is a tough industry, dominated by big-name companies. Overcoming the name-recognition, woman-ownership and small-business stigma is just one of the battles I face as I work to expand my company. Remaining relevant to my clients is another. To remain relevant, I need to be acutely aware of the workplace trends that are likely to impact my clients. But awareness alone is not enough; I need to be able to assist my clients in addressing these trends. I can’t just talk about the trends—I must demonstrate that I am an expert on solving these issues.
In 2015, I began noticing a tremendous amount of discussion around the impacts that Millennials were having in the workplace. In most cases, the publicity surrounding this newest generation in the workplace was negative. As a mom to twin Millennials, I knew that much of what I was reading was wrong! My experience with my own twins, their spouses and their friends all led me to believe that much of what was being written about Millennials was based on misconceptions. There appeared to be a lack of understanding that the most powerful thing this generation brings to the workforce is a totally new type of employee.
One-third of today’s workforce is made up of Millennials. By 2025, they will be 75% of the workforce. Misconceptions need to be dispelled, and companies need to evaluate their culture, their policies and their management styles to better match the needs and desires of this new workforce if they want to continue to thrive.
I was convinced that if I became an expert on Millennials in the workplace, I could use that expertise to help my current clients find effective solutions to attract and retain this new generation, as well as market this expertise to gain new clients. I believe that becoming an expert, a thought leader, is a great way not only to remain relevant but also to grow your business in an organic, meaningful way. And what better way to demonstrate thought leadership than to become a published author on the topic?
The path of becoming an author can take many directions. For some, it may be as simple as sitting down at your computer or notebook and letting your thoughts, your opinions and your advice flow out of you. For me, it wasn’t quite that simple. I didn’t feel that a book that merely reflected my own opinions, based on my own exposure to Millennials, would be enough of a value add to a reader. So, I took a bit of different approach. I decided to reach out to companies already highly sought after by Millennials. I felt that if I could identify what they did—their secret sauce—then I could create the formula other companies could replicate. My goal was to create a guide that offered real solutions that companies could incorporate in their own culture to enable them also to attract, engage and retain Millennials.
I partnered with a journalist, Hy Bender, to conduct interviews with companies that were recognized by Millennials as being the best places to work. The goal was to uncover what these companies were doing differently. I planned to use the interviews to initially write a few articles on the impact of Millennials in the workplace. Additionally, I knew these interviews would provide me great research to write a nonfiction business book to help companies successfully begin to build a Millennial-friendly culture.
Throughout each interview, the company representatives discussed their Millennial-friendly policies as well as some of the challenges they had to overcome to implement these policies. This was the information that I felt would be invaluable both for planned articles and for the book. But what Hy and I discovered was that these interviews could also be tremendously helpful to Millennials looking to join an organization that offered a corporate culture attractive to them. We didn’t want to let this information go to waste, so Hy and I created a website and launched a podcast series, The Millennial Career Playbook. This series garnered me the opportunity to interview 33 of the top 100 companies consistently ranked as the best places to work. The list included big names such as 3M, AT&T, Chili’s, Deloitte, Mayo Clinic, Microsoft and PwC.
What I discovered is that companies that work to integrate Millennial-friendly programs into their culture in meaningful ways stand a much better chance of attracting and retaining these workers who crave flexibility, are eager to learn and grow with colleagues, and are determined to make a difference.
The podcast series led me to write not one book but two. The first, Unleashing the Intrapreneur, Changing the Face of Corporate America, was published in May 2017, landing in the #2 spot on Amazon’s Best Sellers List for Career Guides the first week of the release! Its focus is to help Millennials find strength, success and value in corporate America during a time when many expect their generation to be filled with folks like Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel.
Get ready to unleash — download the first chapter on me!
The second book, my original inspiration, is launching in October. My goal is for this book to serve as my foray into the world of thought leadership, of becoming an expert on Millennials. A Manager’s Guide to Unleashing the Intrapreneur is a way of helping managers in corporate America overcome the unfounded biases about Millennials and truly reshape their cultures to ensure they remain relevant in this ever-changing world.