Talent Management

Managing and Motivating Millennials in 140 Characters or Less

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It’s of great interest to me to see what others take away from my books and speeches.

So, for the past several years, I’ve kept a file of the tweets others have posted that quote me after reading one of my blog posts, articles, or books, or after hearing me present a keynote at a meeting or conference.

Below is a listing of the Top 20 quotes, ranked in popularity by the number of times I’ve seen in tweeted (or retweeted) in descending order.

Obviously, many of my sentences and personal observations have been shortened to accommodate the 140-character limit of Twitter.

(You’re welcome to use these in any way you choose, but please provide some form of attribution. I’d also invite you to follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my blog.)

So, here we go with The Top 20 Things Eric’s Ever Said or Written About Millennials, as Suggested by His Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers:

20. Pop culture cultivates an entitlement mentality by steering kids towards immediate rewards.

19. Young employees who possess initiative are never bored at work.

18. Great leaders never stop clarifying expectations, and they never stop mentoring.

17. The question is no longer whether a young person will get their 15 minutes of fame; it’s what they’ll do with it.

16. Passion for a job doesn’t fuel an employee’s initiative; initiative fuels passion.

15. Hey John Mayer: Gen Y Leaders aren’t “Waiting for the World to Change.” They’re too busy changing it!

14. To encourage a work ethic value, notice it in a specific action and call attention to it.

13. Remember the attention span of your Gen Y employees and keep your stories (and meetings) short!

12. When training, make instruction clearly matter. Make it clear. Make it matter (i.e. relevant).

11. Never underestimate the significance of hiring smiling, happy young people who exude gratitude.

10. Respect blossoms from well-nurtured relationships that are rooted in love, not fear.

9. Work Ethic defined: Work=doing / Ethic=knowing. Work ethic is knowing what to do and doing it.

8. Gen Y Code: The only things that matter 2 me are those things that matter 2 me. So if what you’re saying doesn’t matter 2 me, I tune out.

7. Training is only effective when it works in concert with coaching and mentoring.

6. Mirror Test: The way your employees treat your customers is a direct reflection of how you treat your employees.

5. Rules without a relationship lead to rebellion.

4. Pre-Teens (under 12) perform for their parents; teens perform for their peers.

3. Want to impede your kid’s work ethic? Give ‘em a car they haven’t worked for.

2. Millennials (aka Generation Why) will not do the “what” without first understanding the “why” behind any request or command.

1. Yes, money can buy short-term happiness, but it can’t buy pride. The price tag for that is achievement.

This was originally published on Eric Chester’s Reviving Work Ethic blog. His new book is Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce. For copies, visit revivingworkethic.com.

Eric Chester is a leading voice in the global dialogue on employee engagement and building a world-class workplace culture. He's an in-the-trenches researcher on the topic of the emerging workforce and the dynamics of attracting, managing, motivating and retaining top talent. Chester is a Hall-of-Fame keynote speaker and the author of 3 leadership books including Reviving Work Ethic . His new book, On Fire at Work: How Legendary Leaders Ignite Passion in their People without Burning Them Out, will be released later this year. Learn more about Eric at EricChester.com.
  • Whitney Rhyme

    I completely agree with the Mirror Test: The way your employees treat your customers is a direct reflection of how you treat your employees. What a true idiom for life in general? I wonder what the average person’s work experience would really look like if employers took this seriously?

  • Joshua Casto

    I like this one best, because it’s so true! Remember the attention span of your Gen Y employees and keep your stories (and meetings) short!

  • Michaela

    I think a lot of these apply to all generations in the workplace–not just millennials.  Timeless, ageless advice that, whether an employer or an employee, is invaluable.

  • Holli Schaub

    “Pre-Teens (under 12) perform for their parents; teens perform for their peers”… great observation, very thought provoking!     

  • J Thomas

    I agree with Michaela, many of these apply to any generation of the workforce – though they may be especially impactful for the Millenials.  

  • Zane

    “Never underestimate the significance of hiring smiling, happy young people who exude gratitude.” Boy, this one says a lot. As the manager of a team, I can say firsthand that an employee with the right attitude can defuse angry customers, make satisfied ones happier, and even makes the workplace a better place to be in. Attitude is everything–no matter if they’re a smiling, young new hire or the store manager.