WHY EXIT INTERVIEWS ARE THE WAY TO GO
much has been written in recent years about the so-called millennial generation, which roughly encompasses people born between 1980 and 2000. They are the “digital natives”, having grown up with Facebook, smartphones and Snapchat, and are said to experience a paralysing sense of panic if separated from their mobile devices.
Depending on which reports one chooses to read, millennials are selfish, change careers every year or so, have no brand loyalty and are insufferable narcissists. Given the number of carefully edited selfies that now populate social media channels and clog up the interwebs, the narcissist tag seems hard to deny. But are older generations jumping to conclusions, and using stereotypes to write fancy reports about? Or are they simply jealous of the freedoms that millennials appear to enjoy (and demand), as Arye Kellman of CliffCentral.com posits?
Kellman, a young presenter and creative director at CliffCentral, quips that he “often takes a ‘Millennial Day’”. Which basically means that he works from home and only does the essentials – like monitoring his Twitter feed, for example, and showing up for his daily podcast at 4pm, where the central theme is “uncensored”.
For Kellman, the millennial label contains many truths, and can certainly guide exasperated employers and managers.
“For previous generations, there was no time to think about what they really wanted to do or who they wanted to be, whereas millennials have been raised on these questions,” he says. “They’ve been given the space to explore new ideas and new ways of doing things…which can come across as fickle and selfish, and I get that.”
He adds: “For me, although I may be at home, I’m constantly working – I don’t need to have a set time to come into work.”
But for a popular speaker and founder of presentation company Missing Link (and a non-millennial), it’s all just rubbish, really.
“The segmenting [of millennials] is an extension of generation theory as a whole,” he says. “Now, while this construct made sense in the past – there was a good, clearly understandable reason why an entire generation could have been labelled ‘baby boomers’…that reason was World War II. Even Gen Xers, their kids, could be somewhat explained. However, from then on, there’s no grouping that makes sense, it’s just people being born all the time!”
FREEDOM WITHIN A FRAMEWORK
“For an employer, it’s simple, you then create a culture in which the tail wags the dog…this is nonsensical. If people don’t like how you run your business, let them leave,” he says.
“For the employee though, it’s more nuanced. It turns out that people are not as self-motivated as you’d think. Most people can’t train as hard by themselves as they do with a trainer or friend. If people want to grow, really grow, they need to be part of a team that pushes them, not leave them to their whims.”
When it comes to taking “millennial days” and insisting on the freedom to work from anywhere, he takes the view that while autonomy is indeed important, even freedom needs a framework.
“People need constraint,” insists Mulholland. “Duke Ellington said, ‘I don’t
“They demand clearer, more definitive growth paths, they expect to be challenged constantly.”