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Since when was employee appreciation just a Millennial thing?

By Drew Fortin

Darn Millennials with their bleeding hearts, casual business acumen, and no respect for the business establishment. As an elder Millennial, my fascination with the big problem of adapting to, and some may even say putting up with, Millennial employees was even more piqued after I read the recently updated Huffington Post article by Betsie Gambel entitled Stewarding the Millennials: From Job Jumpers to Company Committed.

The article presents some amazing tips to engage and better appreciate your employees. However, this article made me realize the issues about employee engagement and appreciation transcend adaptation to Millennial employees, and raise some big questions of CEOs and business leaders alike.

  • Since when was it okay to say “It’s all about our people” and not truly show your employees you mean it?
  • For how much longer will leaders gloss over bad managers in the face of disengaged employees and high turnover rates?
  • Was it ever okay to run a company without a clear vision and a mission worth getting behind?
  • Shouldn’t the purpose of any company be aligned with helping to better the world in some way?
  • Would anyone argue that employees shouldn’t feel ownership of and accountability for the work they do?
  • Are flexible work environments and ability to work from anywhere something Millennials brought about, or is it really technology that has opened this door?
  • Is it really a surprise that if you put effort into developing your employees, they may want to stick around longer?
  • Is the expense incurred from giving your employees free snacks and a fun work environment really worth more than employee happiness?

Am I making sense here? I am glad that Millennials may be the excuse for opening the door to having these questions answered. But is it really about Millennials? Sure, they are a new generation of worker, but “work” is changing – how we work, what we work on, when we work on it, and now WHY we work is all changing. Technology has automated a lot of basic work, leaving many jobs to depend on the brain power, thinking, and selling intangibles. This requires a different, more resourceful mindset.

We’re not talking about adapting to Millennials, we’re talking about how to do good business and survive in the new economy.

Am I just a whining Millennial?


Drew is the SVP of sales and marketing at PI.

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