Skip to comments.W** Millennials: Managing Agenciesí Newest Generation
Posted on 01/18/2014 7:32:23 AM PST by grimalkinEdited on 01/18/2014 8:26:28 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]
Ask agency execs to tick off the biggest challenges they face, and theyll mention talent. More specifically, attracting young talent. Agencies are dependent on armies of young workers across all disciplines.
The other side of this thirst for young talent is a familiar one to anyone in business: the newest generation of workers often seems, well, different from other generations. Much has been made of the millennials. Theyre confident. Theyre optimistic. Theyre an ADD generation. Theyre suffering from separation anxiety after having spent their early years receiving the constant attention of helicopter parenting and winning trophies for finishing in 16th place. They have been told theyre the best, and their opinion is equal to anyone elses, even those far older and more experienced than them.
Its enough to leave managers in their 30s, 40s and beyond scratching their heads and feeling very much like grumpy old cranks who want those damn kids to turn down their music and get off their lawns. Digiday asked agency executives, with the promise of anonymity to not offend the delicate sensibilities of their young charges, to share their frustrations in managing the ad worlds next generation of leaders.
Next week, Digiday will publish the views of millennials on adjusting to life in agencies. Please get in touch if youd like to contribute.
Agency Exec 1
Theres a major difference between those of us in our 40s and them. I came up with bosses who were all Baby Boomers. They expected you to go and fetch them coffee and be grateful for the opportunity. You did it without complaining. Its now a shift in mentality. Theyre a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately generation. A paycheck doesnt seem to count as part of that what you have done. You have to give up so much more time to reviewing and patting them on the back. I cant imagine ever asking for a performance review unless it was a way to up my salary, but Im constantly asked for them. You do realize its only been four months since your last one, right? Its a big cultural difference: their constant need for reaffirmation of how great they are. As long as I kept getting paid, I assumed things were going in the right direction. They constantly want feedback and expect you to be constructive. Its funny because considering the level of unemployment, they all seem to treat their employment as a right. Its like the onus is on the employer to prove themselves.
Agency Exec 2
Only at the agency a few months upon graduation, a young lady walked into my office and told me her dad thought that she was underpaid. I replied that her dad should call me so that we could discuss the matter. He never called.
Agency Exec 3
The biggest thing I see is that some of them think career variety is equal to career growth. It doesnt. But they are positively reinforced by getting jobs they are not qualified for because they know how to use Facebook. So they hop around, and we stop questioning why they only spent a short period of time in three gigs in three years. Theres a level of career impatience that used to be reserved for the kids that were too smart for their grade, justifying misbehavior with boredom. Now the entire grade feels too smart for their grade and we have to manage that. Not an easy task. Technology has taught us the wrong lesson that we can get more done more quickly. The real lesson should be that we can get things done better. Its the latter lesson we need to impart. Its not all of them. Some of them. And its not even them. Its cultural.
Agency Exec 4
No doubt, millennials have a unique approach to work. Im always reluctant to gravitate to the standard these kids today cliche. Perhaps theyre a bit more entitled as a result of helicopter parenting, but theyve also been empowered in ways that we couldnt have imagined. Personally, I encourage our junior employees to speak up at meetings and voice their opinions. My big thing is that they dont exploit their power and treat the media community fairly. My one recent anecdote is when one of our new hires sent me an email requesting dual monitors and that one of them be a large one. I simply forwarded the email to that girls manager suggesting that she come check out my dinky 15-inch monitor that Im rocking.
Agency Exec 5
Ive met millennials I admire for their work ethic and millennials for whom the concept of paying dues is completely foreign. Among creative professionals in the latter group, there is a theme, which would be hysterically funny if it didnt create so much extra work and wasted time for everybody. Its the attitude of Hmm, I dont really do [that task I was hired to do]. Im more of a conceptual [role the person should be performing]. So you get writers who cant or wont write, art directors who cant design. A lot of millennials dont seem to understand that mastering a craft is what makes you valuable. If I am creative-directing a project AND Im rewriting emails and banner lines because you dont care enough to do that stuff, well, then why do I need you? Your Big Ideas better be really good like, consistently ******* amazing. But its extremely rare for someone to walk in the door with that kind of mind and that kind of conceptual rigor at age 22 or 23.
Agency Exec 6
I have a quick story about a millennial I hired. He was a young strategist. Had all the answers and could actually see the future. He was everywhere. He knew everyone. He knew who was doing what. I brought him in to help with things. It was like asking an actor that plays a doctor to do real surgery on a real patient. He didnt know how to do anything. He could talk about stuff and criticize what agencies were doing but really added no value. At one point, I walked by his desk and saw Facebook on one monitor and Tweetdeck on another. I told him that hes so good at social media that hes totally unproductive. We let him go a few days later. In his mind, he nailed the task and moved on to help get the ad industry back on track. Sigh. The overconfidence, zero accountability and zero remorse is 100 percent millennial. They dont get the concept of learning.
If, by “agency” you mean gov’t agency it doesn’t matter (might even beneficial) because the more inept they are the sooner they will be shut down. When the collapse comes, they will be the most 2nd most harmed after the welfare-dependent population.
I’ll just cut the crap here. As a Gen X’er, the Millenials remind me of Baby Boomers. The parallels are scary. Millenials have just taken the traits to a new level, but the traits are the same.
Let’s face it, the last good generation was the Silent or Korean War generation. Anyone trying to stake claims that came after that is suffering from grand delusions.
So unless you were born before the post-WWII period, how about we just all get over ourselves and realize we all are the problem, and the people of this country just ain’t what they used to be?
Well, you aren’t firing fast enough. Hire them and fire them like water and eventually good ones will be forged from their failures.
They have been artificially exempted from failure, and without it none of them will grow into anything useful. With it some eventually will.
Sometimes, it's just the manager that's the problem. I worked for AT&T Labs, and it took years to show to management that having bigger screens meant better work. A manager typing a memo only needs 15", a worker bee looking at lots of code or a big spread sheet can get more done faster or better with a big screen.
This particular problem, outdated managers ignoring better tools for the workers, was fully discussed 3 generations ago, read your Deming: Out of the Crisis
These are rare folks, though. Maybe it’s always been this way
I actually think it has been this way, maybe not to some of the extreme we see today, but it’s always been there. Older generations always think younger ones are slackers, don’t want to pay their dues, etc and that they had it so much harder than every one else. You know the old’ I had to walk to school barefoot in the snow, uphill 5 miles each way’ thing.
And the point is that society as a whole has changed and you can’t really blame kids raised in this society for what society has become. Isn’t that ultimately on the very adults complaining about it? They are the ones that created the way society is that these kids were raised in.
I for one like dual monitors. I use one for useless email, and IM. The other for real work(in between all hands meetings).
They had me until the 1 used a cuss word himself and wasn’t even actually in an angry context.
I can see a lot of these problems coming up.
“They have been told theyre the best, and their opinion is equal to anyone elses, even those far older and more experienced than them.”
Boy, do I see this all the time. One of our experienced team just resigned. One of the reasons he gave is that as a “mentor” he was was tired of being asked questions then told the answer or being argued with by his mentab. He’d had enough of sweeping up messes as well. The only thing Confidence and Competence have in common is the letter ‘C’.
One of our management “techniques” is to take on candidates as contractors and send them on to other opportunities if they don’t work out. It is just too hard to terminate an employee any more. They stick like glue and some just stink like... well.
We also see some diamonds that are keepers and are very pleased to have them working with us.
If I had my way about things every body would be contract and have to pay ALL their own benefits and quarterly taxes. It would be a better and better informed nation.
It looks like "agency" means advertising agency on that site. I'm having visions on Don Draper smoking, drinking and griping about the young staff in the copywriting department.
One complaint I have is that far too many businesses don't realize time is money. Buy a good sized second monitor and you'll save me a half hour a day. That will pay for itself in about two weeks. That's a simple decision to make. But it seems like this manager just sees that as a expense. Although sometimes I joke at work that I have a bigger tech capital budget at home than I do at work and sometimes bring my obsoleted equipment from home to use at work.
This seems to be about advertising agencies, but I could be wrong.
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When I was working at a factory as a project engineer I would see the majority of the young hires texting away on their phones. Eventually a zero tolerance policy went in to effect and people were fired on the spot. It was surprisingly effective and equally hilarious hearing how ever text was an emergency.
We call them - Generation “Entitled”.
Yes, I hear that a lot. LOL. Every text is an emergency of some variety. No one is allowed to have their phones out any longer.
I know what you mean. Try explaining to your boss that you can be a lot more productive with multiple monitors.
BTW, Deming is wonderful. In my pantheon he is second only to Ohno.
One thing I hear all the time is, “it only takes 5 (or 10, or whatever) minutes a day”. I have to explain over and over that 5 minutes a day is 2.5 days a year spent doing that one task. The manager should be leading the effort to eliminate simple wasteful tasks not continuing them.
20/80 rule—the Pareto principle.
Large monitors are also very inexpensive these days. I can’t imagine trying to get work done on a 15” monitor. Sure. It could be done, but you’re absolutely right. A larger monitor would likely increase productivity (they don’t call it the Desktop for nothing).