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Entrepreneurship and retaining millennials

As a mentor to many young, bright millennials, here are some of the lessons we've taught each other.

Tuesday May 23, 2017,

3 min Read

As a digital agency, the average age of our employees is about 24. 24 times as smart as we were when we were 24. 24 times as evolved with 24 times more choice and access. This means one thing – 24 times more likely to quit.

So in a world, where the millennials are bombarded through social media with unrealistic expectations from a job, where their news feeds on Facebook are populated by Mark Zuckerberg’s office photographs, and posts from bloggers on the importance of constant happiness, of following your dreams, even if it changes more often than the weather, how does one set realistic expectations?

An open door policy is CRITICAL. While on some days we want to lock ourselves into our cabins and hide under our desks, there is nothing more important then a flat structure where we are always and I mean constantly teaching, guiding and leading. Access to senior management and having a mentor is key. After all, we may not be able to teach a millennial how to better schedule a Facebook post but we can give them the perspective that only age and life experience can.

Hierarchical organizations are passé. While some days, we feel like trained therapists, the constant mentoring and communication with some of these kids has meant they are ready to take on the advertising strategy of some of the world’s biggest brands. Albeit after many tears and tantrums and a few resignations!

Again this means often we need to remind them that their job is important. That they are not just writing a post for a major brand or designing a menu for a restaurant, they are building brands and that is serious business. So really entrepreneurship in a digital agency, is about teaching the millennials and learning some hard lessons.

Work culture is key. Have culture agents. Organise drinks. Organise dance lessons. Remember people who drink together are more likely to stay together! Team building exercises and Friday Beers! We have after many failed attempts, now weeded out those who are naysayers, who influence with negativity. What makes an organization is positivity and a team of people who cherish an opportunity, who cherish each other and who realize that life isn’t always perfect, that your bosses make mistakes which brings me to the final bit.

One of the biggest lessons we have learnt is no matter how compassionate, empathetic or intelligent, once in a while it’s great to have a large serving of humble pie. As entrepreneurs, as a mother, the pressures on us are huge. We crack, we curse, we cry. What’s important is, we apologize. And then we get out of bed the next day, and continue to try and inspire and build.