Category Archives: Workplace


Mike Rowe’s message continues to find traction

Mike Rowe has made a career out of, for a day, doing jobs that most people wouldn’t want. The host of the Discovery Channel show “Dirty Jobs” is a funny guy who isn’t bashful about making fun of himself while he’s elbow deep in mud, manure, fish entrails or some other nastiness, and that makes his show entertaining.

But beyond cracking jokes, grossing out his audience and drawing ratings, Rowe’s show has a purpose – demonstrating that one doesn’t have to work in an office building or wear a coat and tie to make a good living. He has doubled down on that message by launching a website,, to promote blue-collar trades and by his involvement with I Make America and Go Build Alabama, campaigns designed to promote manufacturing and industrial trades and to attract high school graduates into them.

While Generation X wisdom has been that college is a necessary step toward career success, more and more millennials are taking Rowe’s message to heart. A recent story in the New York Post found growing numbers of millennials who are choosing to bypass a college degree and instead learn a trade to go straight into the workforce.

An obvious allure to this strategy is the avoidance of student loans, but one blue-collar millennial interviewed by the Post had a 4.0 grade-point average and his pick of scholarships. Instead, he chose an apprenticeship as a steamfitter.

Why? “In the end my decision was more about economics and benefits and job satisfaction,” 20-year-old Washington Mayancela told the Post.

Who says millennials are entitled or impractical?

While their college degrees aren’t keeping computer programmers and marketing specialists and journalists from getting laid off like factory workers, demand remains constant for skilled tradesmen. The Post cited a Department of Labor statistic that placed the 10-year projected employment gain through 2022 for carpenters in the United States at 24 percent, and noted that experienced journeymen carpenters in New York City can earn $80,000 a year.

Some school systems are recognizing and addressing this trend even before graduation. In Mobile, Ala., where I live, each of the public school system’s 12 high schools features a specialized Signature Academy, in which students can prepare for careers ranging from Aviation and Aerospace to Engineering to Health Sciences to Manufacturing, Industry and Technology. Students are leaving those academies and going straight into jobs at local industries like Airbus, Austal Shipbuilding and Outokumpo Stainless.

While the very word “millennial” may, for many of us, conjure up images of “safe spaces,” campus protests and humanities degrees, there are clearly a large number of twentysomethings out there who aren’t scared of a little hard work, providing that the benefits are worth the effort.


Succession Planning – The Time is Now

The Great Recession of the late 2000s wreaked havoc on most of our plans in some way. Plans to buy or sell a house, plans to fund a college education, plans to move up in our careers to a better job – all had to be postponed, downsized, or even abandoned until the economy started moving again.

The downturn also affected succession planning for Baby Boomers, many of whom set aside long-term necessities while dealing with short-term realities.

A recent story at cited a 2016 Kreischer Miller report, which surveyed family businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, and found that barely over one-third of those senior-generation business owners had a clear succession plan. Just over half of the respondents had no plan at all, although nearly two-thirds expected to pass their businesses on to the younger generation within the next decade.

“In 2010, the first of the Baby Boomers turned 65. At that time, our country was two years into the Great Recession and most family business owners were not even contemplating retirement; they were focused on keeping their companies afloat,” the report said.

Certainly we can all understand that it’s difficult to plan for the future when you’re just trying to keep your head above water. But what have they been doing for the last five years? It doesn’t take that long to come up with a plan, does it?

The Kreischer Miller study found that a fifth of the respondents who lacked a plan were in the process of developing one. Fifteen percent of respondents said their planning had been delayed by the age or ability of the next generation, while another 12 percent were planning to sell.

And of course, a rebound of the economy at large does not guarantee a commensurate rebound for each individual business. Many of those that survived may still not have rebuilt their fortunes to pre-recession levels.

For those Baby Boomers who are playing catch-up with their succession plans now, The Alternative Board offered these tips from executive business coach John F. Dini:

  • Choose a successor whose skills compliment yours, but don’t expect them to necessarily be as up to speed in all areas of the operation as you are.
  • In order to maintain the values and culture of the business, understand and take into account why you run it the way you do when choosing a successor.
  • Get an appraisal to ensure accurate valuation.
  • Make sure you have the proper documents, including new employee agreements and stock buy/sell documentation, and the proper planning, including not only a financial plan but a management succession plan.
  • When you retire, let it go. Your successor can’t run the business effectively if you’re always there looking over his or her shoulder.

So get with the program. What choice do you have? You can’t take it with you when you go.


Boomers as Workplace Loyalty Role Models? Hardly.

If you’re an employer you might worry about retaining workers, and the difficulties that high job turnover presents to your bottom line – such as the costs of finding and training new workers. Millennials, in particular, can’t hold down a steady job because they don’t know how to, and/or they don’t want to, or so we’re told. They are just too selfish to commit to anything or anyone, including the people who sign their pay-checks.

Fret not! Recent research highlighted on under the heading Millennials found that Millennial disloyalty is – a bit of a myth. Researchers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compared the number of jobs held by Millennials at the start of their careers (between the ages of 25 to 28) to the number of jobs held by Baby Boomers – those stalwarts of employer loyalty! – at the start of their careers. Guess what? Millennials had, on average, 2.5 jobs at that age, while Boomers had an average of 3 jobs.

So the Millennials are more loyal than the Boomers were? How can that be? Maybe this has something to do with economic conditions? When jobs are scarce, the reasoning goes, people are less likely to quit their job. There is some truth to this. The researchers at fivethirtyeight found that job-hopping decreased slightly among 22-28 year-old college graduates following the start of recessions in the early 1990s, early 2000s and the Great Recession of 2007. Job-hopping then increased slightly among the same age groups when the economy came out of recession. But the same is true for all workers, regardless of their age – in general people are less likely to quit their job if the prospects for finding another one are low.

In addition, the long-term trend is for younger workers to stay with their employers for the same amount of time that young workers did 30 years ago. Every two years the BLS, as part of the Current Population Survey, examines job tenure of workers. Among 25 to 35 year olds, the average years of service to the same employer has hovered around 3 to 3.2 years over the past 20 years (although it dipped to around 2.7 on the late 1990s). In 2014 it was the same as it was in 1983 – 3 years.

So why do the Millennials get such a bad rap for low loyalty? Part of the reason is that older workers have always had longer tenure than younger workers. In 1983 workers aged 45-54 had on average 9.5 years of service to their employer; in 2014 it was 7.9 years. With such tenure, they look upon the youth as job-hoppers not remembering that they, too, were exactly the same.

There is plenty of evidence that Millennials are different from Gen-Xers and Boomers. There is undeniable evidence that Millennials are attitudinally and demographically different from their parents. They might come across as more demanding in the workplace and they might expect to be promoted quicker than they deserve. But that doesn’t mean they are more likely to quit their job than their parents were their same age. The data says, in fact, that the Boomers were worse.


Should employers care what employees think?

I’ve written in recent months about the wisdom in moving slowly when modernizing a workplace with millennial touches, if one doesn’t want to alienate Generation X workers.

One Gen-Xer’s experience, however, has been that some employers could care less about turning off employees.

Dan Lyons went to work for a start-up software firm after being laid off from a 25-year journalism career and, as he noted in a recent piece in the New York Times, found a “surreal, and cruel” culture that chewed up and spit out employees, simply replacing them with fresh crops of new recruits.

Lyons initially found the idea of working for a start-up intriguing, but quickly found the workplace stifling, even as his managers pumped up their employees as “rock stars” who were “changing the world.”

“It turned out I’d joined a digital sweatshop, where people were packed into huge rooms, side by side, at long tables,” Lyons wrote. “Instead of hunching over sewing machines, they stared into laptops or barked into headsets, selling software.”

The company for which Lyons worked for two years, HubSpot, operates under a “culture code” that is written with a millennial bent. In juxtaposing how people have supposedly changed in the way they work, pensions are traded for “purpose,” an office for “wherever” and a career for “whatever.” It differentiates itself from companies are “frozen in time,” punctuating its theme with a photo of smiling millennials wearing party hats and masks.

This model follows those of successful tech businesses such as Amazon and Netflix, companies that pride themselves in hypercompetitive cultures. A New York Times expose found that Amazon employees are expected to mercilessly rip apart their co-workers’ ideas and, in some cases, performance, and firings are frequent in what one former HR director called “purposeful Darwinism.”

Meanwhile, Netflix’s “organizational culture” identifies the company as “like a pro sports team” that has “stars at every position,” touting the importance of “attracting and retaining stunning colleagues” but then holding them to a standard under which “adequate performance gets a generous severance package.”

Instead of party time, Lyons found HubSpot to be a place where an admitted maniacal commitment to metrics leaves employees scrambling to make arbitrarily set numbers, and where they can be fired without explanation while co-workers are invited to congratulate them on their “graduation.”

It is possible that experiences like that of Lyons could be the result of poorly trained or ill-tempered managers more than systemic organizational culture. It is possible that many stories such as these are being told by disgruntled employees cast aside with just cause. But the weight of the anecdotal evidence and the wording of such firms’ own mission statements seem to confirm that in a laser-sharp focus on customer satisfaction and profits, employees have become mere commodities, to be discarded if found operating at anything less than peak performance and replaced by newer models.

These are admittedly a small sample of companies in one highly competitive industry. But they raise a question that’s intrinsic to the millennial workplace: Does retention matter? Are competitive, or even generous, salaries enough to offset a hypercompetitive culture that values high employee output but not the employees themselves? Should employers care what current employees think or simply position themselves to attract the next crop of workers?

The answers will depend on your business model, the demands of your industry and your own personal beliefs. They will also go a long way toward defining what a “millennial workplace” really looks like.


Against the Freebies – VA Beach Official: “Move to Norfolk.” Amazing…

Unsure whether to convert your workplace to a more millennial-friendly space or avoid the expense and stick with the tried and true? Virginia Beach knows how you feel.

According to a recent story in the Virginian-Pilot, efforts have been underway in the Hampton Roads, Va., area — which includes Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Newport News in southern Virginia — to enhance public transit, including light rail. It makes sense, since Virginia Beach has one of the highest percentages of residents between 20 and 29 of any city in the nation, and data tells us that public transit is important to many millennials.

The Virginian-Pilot cited data from the Rockefeller Foundation, which found that two-thirds of millennials have high-quality transportation in their top three concerns when choosing a place to live, and three-fourths hope to not need a car.

Virginia Beach City Treasurer John Atkinson isn’t hearing that, though. Atkinson is leading a grassroots effort to kill a planned light rail extension from Norfolk into Virginia Beach, and he’s using the stereotyped image of the “entitled millennial” to make his case.

“Those who want a freebie,” he told the Virginian-Pilot, “can move to Norfolk.”

Atkinson is concerned with the cost and believes Virginia Beach isn’t ideally set up for wide use of mass transit. The high percentage of millennials in the area may be misleading, as well, as there is a high concentration of military personnel in the Hampton Roads area at naval bases in Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

But Atkinson, most certainly not a millennial since he’s been in office since 1978, is ignoring a few things with his “freebie” comment – the first being that most mass transit isn’t free. Riders typically do have to pay to use it, though the cost is often minimal.

And there are other advantages to mass transit that should be considered, like decreased traffic congestion and reduced carbon emissions.

But if Atkinson were thinking like a business owner, his main concern might be that too many millennials will take him up on his offer. While much of Virginia Beach’s twenty-something population didn’t come there by choice – they’re stationed there in the Navy — resistance to millennial ideals like public transportation could drive many non-military young people away as well.

And if young people move elsewhere, the city becomes stale, the workforce aging, the influx of new talent dried up.

Whether millennials go or stay won’t likely hinge on one thing like a light rail line. But a dismissive attitude from city officials could have the same effect as an office manager who clings too tightly to cubicles and rigid schedules – a message to millennials that they might be better off looking elsewhere.


Japan – Going Out of Business…

Note from Cam: Gerald Bierling is an invaluable resource to my work. He is a statistics and demographics professor at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and gathers most of our research for us. I sent him the link to the BBC article and asked him if he would draw some conclusions in a blog which you’ll find below.

Not many children are born in Japan. In fact, so few that the population shrunk by nearly one million people in the past five years. This means there are more people dying there than being born, by a big margin. This was reported in a recent BBC story that caught our eye. How did this happen? What impact will this have on the workforce? And will the same thing happen in the United States?

For a country’s population to stay the same it needs a total fertility rate of 2.1. On average every female needs to have 2.1 children over her life-time for the total population to remain the same (ignoring immigration patterns). This magic value of 2.1 is what demographers call the population replacement rate. Japan has not had that since the mid-1970s – and it is currently only 1.4. The result is that there are now more deaths in Japan than there are births, by roughly a ¼ of a million. As well, their population is much older now. For example, in 1975 only 8% of Japanese were age 65 or older. In 2014 almost 26% of the population is aged 65 years or older!

The answer to the second question (the impact on the workforce) is that the workforce will typically age along with the population. There will be relatively fewer people in what economists call the prime workforce ages of 25-54. This too is what is happening in Japan – in 1975 around 44% of the Japanese population was between the ages of 25-54; in 2014 that decreased to roughly 39%. In absolute terms, the total number of people in the prime workforce age group has been decreasing since the mid-1980s.

So the workforce of the future (or the present, in Japan’s case) will be more generationally diverse. Until every job is automated, employers need workers. And if there are fewer people aged 25-54 employers will naturally try to retain older workers. Economists generally agree that in this type of scenario – of both an aging and decreasing population – economic growth depends on both retaining older workers, and increasing the productivity of all workers (which is often done by increasing the use of technology). How will this play out in the workplace?

  • Will younger workers feel frustrated with co-workers from older generations who traditionally don’t adapt easily or quickly to technological innovations?
  • Will older workers feel threatened by the presence of younger workers who, in turn, feel that their careers are stymied by older workers who won’t retire?
  • And will employers be able to integrate workers of different generations, who often have different expectations, goals, and outlooks?

Maybe this last question doesn’t apply so much to Japan, in which younger generations are often noted as having more of a deferential attitude towards older generations. But what about in the United States, where generational differences are more clearly on display?

First of all, the population of the U.S. is not declining. In fact, the latest population projections done by the U.S. Census Bureaus indicate that the population will continue to grow until at least 2060. The total fertility rate is only slightly below the replacement rate (around 1.9), and there are currently around 1.4 million more births than deaths each year.

But … the population and workforce is projected to age over the next few decades. In 2016 just over 15% of the population is aged 65+; in 2026 that will increase to just over 19%. While this is not nearly as high as it is in Japan, the trend is clear. And there is already evidence that people are working longer – perhaps due to concerns over Social Security, big mortgage debt, and recent personal financial losses in the stock market. So the U.S., demographically speaking, is in a better position than Japan. But even in the U.S. the generational diversity of the workforce will increase. And this means that similar challenges lie ahead.


“Hard work is just hard work. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes…it doesn’t.”

An open letter written by a (now former) Yelp employee to her CEO has drawn a lot of attention recently, both for elements of the entitlement issues that are so often associated with millennials and for the harshness with which another millennial reacted to it.

The original letter, posted on by a 25-year-old Yelp employee who identifies herself as “Talia Jane,” related in great detail the difficulties of getting by on an entry-level salary in the expensive San Francisco Bay area as well as her disenchantment with her lack of upward mobility, told she’d be stuck in customer support “for an entire year” while she aspires to work in media.

“I can’t afford to buy groceries,” the former English literature major wrote, adding that she’s not alone. “Every single one of my coworkers is struggling. They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home. One of them started a GoFundMe because she couldn’t pay her rent.”

While many other millennials might have nodded their heads in agreement as they read Talia Jane’s letter while getting their lunch out of a vending machine, one 29-year-old was unimpressed.

Stefanie Williams, a New York-area television screenplay writer, fired off an open letter of her own to “millennials like Talia,” also on, noting that while Talia Jane mentioned her co-workers taking second jobs, she hadn’t done so herself, and apparently had enough money to post Instagram photos of expensive bourbon she’d purchased.

Williams, also an English lit major, related her own story of being “let go from an office job” at 22, taking a hostessing position in a restaurant and working her way up to a decent salary as a bartender while writing on the side, all of which ultimately allowed her to sign with a talent agency and begin her career as a screenwriter.

Then she unloaded on Talia Jane, writing that she is “utterly disgusted by your attitude.”

“The issue is that this girl doesn’t think working a second job or getting roommates should be something she has to do in order to get ahead after three months of an entry level job in the most expensive city in the country,” Williams wrote. “She believes Yelp should cover the cost of the financial decisions she’s made, which include living alone and accepting that salary, two options that any sane person would never make. She believes she deserves these things that most of us would call luxuries. You expected to get what you thought you deserved rather than expected to work for what you had to earn.”

Williams’ post, like Talia Jane’s original letter, was passed around the Internet, with each drawing more than 3,000 likes. But lest you think all older-generation workers were whispering “Preach, girl,” under their breath so the guy in the next cubicle wouldn’t know they’re surfing the web instead of working – and later applauding upon learning that Talia Jane was fired at Yelp — one 36-year-old shot back at Williams with some venom of her own.

Sara Lynn Michener, whose birthdate in 1979 places her at the very end of Generation X, blasted Williams for missing Talia Jane’s point about what should constitute a living wage in San Francisco and for assuming Talia Jane had the help and support of family when elements of her letter indicated that she did not.

“Spoiler: kicking a younger sister when she’s down in self-congratulatory snark is neither gracious nor humble,” Michener wrote, purposely mimicking the style and tone of Williams’ letter. “If I’ve learned anything in the seven extra years I’ve been alive longer than you, Stefanie, it’s this: Hard work is just hard work. Sometimes it pays off. Sometimes – overwhelmingly often – it doesn’t.”

So what are we to take from all this?

For one thing, it’s a tough job market out there, particularly for English lit majors.

But to look at this from a generational perspective, the responses of Williams and Michener are a reminder that labels don’t always apply.

There are some millennials who are just as sick of the entitlement issues they perceive in their generation as any of their older counterparts. And there are some Gen-Xers who will look behind those issues and see that some millennials may be battling very real problems that go beyond the stereotype.

All of which means they’re all human.


The Original Workplace Disruptors Would Like Some Love, Too

I’ve written a lot on the blog lately about how many workplaces are shifting – some, perhaps too quickly – to attract millennials. A recent Forbes article, however, argues that employers would be wise to not forget about Generation X.

Writer Natalie Burg, a former downtown development professional, cites executives and human resources professionals who note that Gen-Xers are valuable in managerial roles because they can relate to both Baby Boomers and millennials, and alienating them through fast-tracking company policies toward millennials can result in a leadership void.

But how to ensure, as you seek to attract the most talented millennials, that your workplace is still attractive to Gen-Xers as well? Credence Clearwater Revival on-hold music in the telephone system? A Back to the Future-themed Christmas party? Retaining a few stray cubicles as an homage, like the remnant of the Forbes Field outfield wall still standing in Pittsburgh 46 years after the park’s demolition?

Burg has some more pragmatic proposals:

  • Make sure your “employment brand” is inclusive and isn’t tailored specifically to millennials. A too narrowly drawn focus – images of 20-somethings in hoodies riding scooters around the workplace, for instance – may tend to leave older employees (or potential employees) feeling like there is no place for them in the firm’s future. This extends to the workplace itself, which can leave Gen-Xers feeling like fish out of water – and employees who aren’t part of the plan – if changes to attract millennials are made too rapidly.
  • Address their needs. Most of them have families with which they want to spend time, are likely saving for their children’s college educations and are at least starting to think about potentially having to care for aging parents in the not-too-distant future. They’re looking for tools with which to meet these goals, such as long-term care insurance, college savings plans and flexible work hours.
  • Professional development is important. Gen-Xers don’t like to be told what to do any more than millennials. Give them the tools with which to improve themselves, personalize those tools so they don’t feel like a number, and increased performance should follow.
  • Be generous with feedback. Gen-Xers often keep their heads down and bear down on the work. If you don’t let them know where they stand, they may never know. And if you don’t ask how they’re doing, it may be difficult to tell when they’re starting to burn out – or if all those millennial-geared changes you’ve made at the office have led them to start shipping out resumes by the truckload.

The Job of the Workplace to Fulfill Every Desire?

How important is workplace atmosphere to a millennial? Apparently it was important enough to at least one of them to blow off one of the premier employers in her desired profession.

Hannah Gordon, a journalism student at St. Bonaventure University, recently shared her thoughts about a visit to the New York Times in a letter to The Times is considered by many journalists to be the pinnacle of the profession, a place to which the most ambitious reporters and editors aspire.

Gordon, however, saw it differently, noting her disappointment at finding a “near-silent newsroom” instead of “the bustling, comradery-filled (sic) newsroom I imagined.”

“My visit,” she concluded, “made me realize it was sterile journalism.”

Gordon did not give examples of work produced by the Times that she considers sterile, but seemed more concerned with the newsroom environment, saying she knew she “wouldn’t fit in with the culture” in a place where she couldn’t “fully express my creativity and quirkiness.”

She illustrated her point by noting that an internship coordinator at the Times may not have appreciated the “shooting stars and flying bats” on her portfolio.

While Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers will laugh this off as a millennial living down to the stereotype (and wonder what kind of journalism student would show up to the New York Times with stars and bats drawn on her clips), we also must assume that Gordon isn’t alone. Finding a collaborative atmosphere and an outlet for their creative passions is important to millennials – and finding talented millennials is important to employers.

So who should give? Should employers like the Times reconfigure their workplaces to cater to the desires of millennials like Gordon? Or should Gordon realize that not every office is going to feel like the campus newspaper?

There’s no one right answer here, but my hunch is: perhaps a little of both.

As more millennials flood the workforce, many workplaces are moving toward environments that foster the kind of collaborative atmosphere for which Gordon seems to be looking – and one day, even the Times may join them. It makes sense for companies that want to attract and retain the best and brightest to make sure their office environments are going to be seen as an asset.

But millennials like Gordon also need to understand that it isn’t the job of a workplace to fulfill their every desire. It’s to get work done. Very few of us, no matter the generation, are fortunate enough to find a job that feeds all our ambitions and interests. Many of us find other outlets for our creative and quirky sides that aren’t satisfied at work.

Perhaps Gordon will find a job that meets all her expectations. Or maybe she’ll have to temper those expectations to find a job.

Tear Down Those Walls

Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down Those Walls. But Ease In To It, Please.

We’ve written quite a bit in this space recently about adjustments in the workplace to appeal to millennials, who now make up the largest percentage of the workforce.

But lest you think that just dumping the cubicles for couches and standing desks makes for an easy fix, heed the advice of Simon and Garfunkel:

Slow down. You move too fast.

We’ll excuse any millennials who may not have gotten that reference. It was from a tune called the 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) that was recorded a couple decades before you were born.

But the wisdom would be well-heeded managers who are looking to make their workspaces more amenable to an increasingly millennial workforce. Change can be good, but make those changes too rapidly or too universally and you risk alienating any Gen Xers or Baby Boomers on the payroll.

One workplace with which I’m familiar is an interesting case study, transitioning its office practically on a dime from a traditional corporate cubicle farm to an airy millennial haven.

Shortly after a reorganization, which included a large layoff and a new focus for the company, it moved into a new, much smaller space constructed for the millennial ethos. An open floorplan with no cubicles or dividers. Communal workspaces that fostered, even demanded, collaboration. Surfaces that could raised to transition to standing desks. The only closed-door offices were unassigned meeting spaces available to any employees in need of temporary privacy.

Employees were allowed, sometimes even encouraged, to work outside the office – at home, from coffee shops, wherever. Supervisors were promoted and dismissed with surprising speed, and levels of management were stripped away until only the bare minimum remained. Employees were given a high level of autonomy and kept in touch with managers largely via instant messaging platforms.

Many of the Gen X employees who remained with the firm found the changes jarring – too much, too quickly. One told me he found that the company was “trying way too hard to be hip.” Others saw the sheer volume of changes, clearly crafted toward the growing millennial base of the company’s workforce, as a sign that their places within the company were growing more tenuous.

Even some millennials complained about the “directionless” nature of the office, feeling that the relative lack of hands-on management resulted in a ship adrift.

Not all millennials are comfortable in workspace concepts designed to cater to millennials. USA TODAY noted a backlash amongst millennials against the idea of a remote office two years ago. A study cited by the newspaper found that despite their comfort with and affinity for their smartphones and other gadgetry necessary to connect remotely, millennials still craved face-to-face interaction.

And BBC noted last year a growing backlash against the open-office floorplan, interviewing a Microsoft manager who noted that too much togetherness and the lack of noise barriers can sap productivity.

“We never see the doors as barriers to communication,” Pankaj Arora, who heads up Microsoft’s Modern IT Innovation Group, told the BBC, “just as barriers to noise.”

Don’t get us wrong. Knocking down office doors and cubicle walls is often a great idea. But there are drawbacks to the millennial ideal. And creating the ultimate millennial workplace doesn’t mean it’s automatically going to be a place where people – even millennials – are going to want to work.

More than standing desks and open floorplans, a workplace is defined by its people and the standards by which their work is governed. Start by making sure yours are consistent and make sense.

And if you value your older employees, you might ease in the waters of change one step at a time instead of cannonballing straight in.

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