Ron Alsop's book, The Trophy Kids Grow Up, continues to provide a mother lode of new and informative stuff about Millennials in the workplace.
The book shares the angst of Millennials, their parents, teachers and employers as we all try to adapt to the trophy kids' unique work ethic. Unlike their predecessors, for example, Millennials work to live, and not vice versa. Most see their jobs as a means to an end and not their meaning for living. If "driven" was the best word to describe Generation X, hints Alsop, then "self-absorbed" probably best defines their successors.
Many employers are balking at Millennials' perceived sense of entitlement, especially in the aftermath of the market meltdown. Others, though, seem to have adopted a mentality that says, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Organizations such as Best Buy, IBM and Capital One have implemented "Results-Only Work Environments," or ROWEs (btw, what's up with all the acronyms in business? It seems to get worse with each passing year. Look for an upcoming blog on work acronyms I'd love to see.).
Anyway, Millennials working in ROWE units can come and go as they please, as long as they accomplish their assigned tasks. It's not about working hard, but working smart. The trophy kids love it and, says Alsop, will often organize frisbee golf matches and other types of recreational breaks before, during and after their team assignment.
ROWE would have derided at my former employer, a division of J. Walter
Thompson, that was run by a true, old-school Martinet. He not only had us sign-in each and every morning at the reception desk, but would also receive a list of absent or tardy employees from the receptionist every morning at 9:30. It didn't matter if those who were seated at their desks were working in smart, creative ways (they mostly weren't, btw). What mattered was 100 percent attendance. Needless to say, his approach did little for morale and the agency slowly, but surely, sunk into a morass of anonymity.
I'm not a big fan of most Millennials and their casual work ethics (especially when it affects quality). But, I must say I like ROWE and see how it makes sense. We adopted flex-time long ago. And, it seems to me, we could benefit from a frisbee golf tournament every now and then. Of course, the Park Avenue South cabbies and bike messengers might make the course a tad difficult but, hey, we Boomers are always up for a challenge. So, who feels like playing the back nine this afternoon? We'll designate Cosi's as the sand trap.