As Millennials, we grew up in a world surrounded by technology, a known social stigma for a love of taking selfies, and we are infamously known to “steal” jobs away from experienced Baby Boomers. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, Millennials surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce - which means that Millennials are here to stay. But how can Exec Millennials gain the trust of older, skeptical peers?
In a recent WSJ article, it discusses multiple instances where our young generation is taking over Executive-level roles in organizations. Although this can be seen as unfair, and perhaps unwarranted, I think that many organizations understand the need for innovative leaders with new and fresh ideas to change their company in the direction of the future workplace. Nobody understands the Millennials like Millennials, ourselves.
As a recent 2017 University of Oregon graduate with my degree in Public Relations, I found this article very interesting and, let’s be honest, somewhat alarming. It seems as though 2017 grads are getting a bad wrap - and while many may be unprepared to enter the workforce, I find myself in a different place post-graduation.
University of Oregon’s PR program really encouraged students to get involved with work opportunities and internships while in school. I was able to take advantage of this advice – this not only gave me valuable experience, but helped me better understand what I wanted to pursue post-graduation. I was able to complete multiple internships throughout my time at UO and received college course credit for the work I was doing.
Something I found interesting about UO is that almost all of my professors had previously worked in the corporate world. This opened up opportunities to gain a strong network with professionals around campus and within the community.
As a final graduation project, I was able to work with TrackTown USA to complete a Public Relations and Marketing campaign and host an event to help identify their brand more effectively. My professor had a relationship with the CEO of TrackTown, so this connection allowed myself, as well as other students, to work with a professional client and get real world experience outside of the classroom.
As a communication major, I find myself somewhat confident in my interviewing skills, but that's because I do my homework. I research the company and position, any recent articles in the news about the organization, make sure to bring up what I can offer the company, how I can make an impact on the company culture as well as have at least 2 questions prepared for the interviewer. I understand that the interview is as much about me interviewing the company, as it is the company interviewing me. Most importantly, the follow-up email is essential. I think that writing a note thanking the interviewer for their time leaves an impact and can make the difference between an average candidate and a great one.
Upon first glance, this article is making a blanket statement that 2017 grads may not be as qualified as previous classes - but that doesn’t mean there aren’t highly qualified candidates applying for jobs at your company. Most importantly, college students need to capitalize and utilize the resources on campus before hitting the real world to optimize their chances of post-grad opportunities.
-Ashlee Sutherland, SBC Recruiting and Events Coordinator
SBCo has proven to me how a small team can work together to make a big impact. We are a close-knit, collaborative group that fosters creativity, flexibility in thought and in working logistics. It has amazed me that while we all work virtually, we manage to operate as if we see each other daily. Our small group never seems to miss a beat; both in finding creative ways to help our clients or working together as a cohesive unit. While the nature of our business has ebbs and flows, what remains constant is our commitment to clients and the holding of ourselves to the highest standards.
I can’t believe it has been over 17 years ago that I started this journey with SBC. As I made a leap from the corporate world to consulting, little did I know that I was joining an organization that would make such an impact on my life, working with the best leader and team. After working with our first client, Allergan and AMO, I remember thinking to myself that this organization was something different - it's not just an ordinary firm, but one that has built its foundation on relationships and integrity. These core values aligned with what I was looking for and have truly allowed me to experience the perfect work/life balance. I have been able to pick my kids up from school, work in their classroom, and attend sporting events, all while being able to fulfill my passion for building relationships and helping great people connect with great companies. I love that each person on our team is always willing to help out and brainstorm ideas, and even though we are virtual, we are able to collaborate and support each other. As I look back I feel so blessed to be part of an organization that values its clients and for the relationships that I have made along the way. Congratulations to 20 years and thank you Sherry for being a mentor, and allowing me to be a part of this journey!
Perhaps you can relate. Imagine my surprise when I showed up in corporate life with a burning desire to contribute, bundles of energy to get things done, and an never-ending flow of ideas (at least some of which were even feasible), only to realize the company just wasn’t willing to let me work to my potential. It felt like I was a salmon throwing myself on the rocks time and time again trying to get the company to let me make the contribution of which I was capable!
I finally decided “This Salmon isn’t spawning this year” and moved on. When I met Sherry and came to work at SBCo, I realized this was where people would be allowed to set their bar at the high level everyone wants to achieve in their work. Their ideas would be welcomed, and there would be total integrity, with an unwavering focus on superior client service. And not one rock in sight! How wonderful. Thank you, Sherry!
What I have always admired/loved about SBC is the authenticity of relationships that are created with clients/candidates/community members. Although the majority of our work is done virtually, there is still a very personal connection we make with those we interact with. Whether it’s the pro-bono work we do for non-profits or the recruiting work we do with Fortune 500 companies, our hearts are focused on the people side of business. I find that you can most prominently see the results of these personal relationships at our learning events – there are endless hugs, personal conversations and cutting edge thoughts being exchanged. It’s rare to find an organization that puts such an emphasis on long-term connections!
The year was 2000 and much of the world was bracing for Y2K and impending disaster. My family was bracing for a different development; the arrival of our second child. As parents will tell you, the second one puts you over the top and as evidence of that, I really needed a different work/life blend.
It was at that time I decided to make a phone call that changed my career and you could say, without being overly dramatic, my life. I had met Sherry Benjamins on a consulting project when I was working for a recruiting software company. With some trepidation, I called her and asked if perhaps she might consider bringing me on as a Consultant.
After 15 years of corporate life, I embraced the vagaries of consulting and recruiting and haven’t looked back. The ups and downs, great clients and crazy ones, interesting projects and those that make you want to pull out your hair have made the journey all the sweeter. My roles have varied but the consistent thread has been SBCo's willingness to try new things and put people above profits. Sherry has been my thought partner, mentor and the right brain to my left.
Congratulations SBCo on 20 years. What a joy it has been to be here for 17 of those. Can’t wait to see what the future holds!
Many years ago at our five year anniversary in business, I met with a dear friend who gave me sage advice and said; "write a forward looking vision of what you desire for the next phase of your business journey." So I did that and found my notes to share now. Written in 2005 as an aspirational guide for 2015 and beyond:
"I am laughing a lot more these days – not taking myself so seriously! I can step away and have perspective and total trust in a great team. They bring light, love and lots of balance to this thriving business. We are all having fun.
There are a core group of clients that rely on us for recruiting as an extension of their department. They call when multiple assignments emerge or hard to fill positions exist requiring focused effort. We blend into their system, almost seamlessly for we know their culture. Our process is about “we” not “I” and that is unique about us. Our clients trust us and value our opinion.
We are known as possibility thinkers…where each person on our team brings unique ideas and we celebrate what we accomplish for ourselves and our clients. We work in our home offices but connect virtually. It’s a blend of the possible….all meant to be flexible for us. We know how to capture what we are learning in each new project.
Clients give us regular feedback and we publish our results. We are the only firm that does this in a way that helps the client improve. We use this data for re-inventing ourselves. Sometimes a new service is created from this ongoing input of great data from our clients.
We have a brand that reinforces our goal to add value, challenge ideas, build relationships and share knowledge. The HRoundtable and learning forums are thriving for we value human connection in the best way possible.”
Sherry Benjamins, President of S. Benjamins & Company, 2005
There is no denying that we have reached an era of digital disruption. In the workplace, many CHRO’s are beginning to see the effect of digital disruption through a changing employment style. There is a new workforce rising through the “gig economy” (also known as contingent work, sharing economy, agile talent, non-traditional work relationships, or alternate forms of employment). Gig Economy companies include Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, UpCounsel, Instacart, and TaskRabbit. The rapid growth of the gig economy represents one of the most significant and all-encompassing challenges faced by human resources professionals. The fundamental challenge for HR leaders is demonstrating the agility to lead the change in culture, programs, processes, and policies originally designed for work completed by full-time employees to a new era where more of the work is being completed by contingent workers (also referred to as gigsters, free agents, temporary help, agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, independent contractors, or freelancers).
To gather some perspective, we decided to reach out to Nick Horney, Ph.D., the founder and principal at Agility Consulting. In addition to leading the Leadership Agility Practice, he has published numerous books on agility and change management and recently published an article on this very topic in HRPS.