Maddie Grant, co-founder of Culture That Works, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series to share her insight on the intersection of sales, marketing, and technology. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
In this episode we discuss why millennials are so optimistic (are they?), nonprofit CRM, and marketing automation deployment.
Below are a few highlights from our conversation:
TechnologyAdvice: How do millennials fit into the 2015 workplace?
Maddie Grant: On the one hand, millennials are all about trying new things, moving on very quickly to different ways of working if something’s not working correctly. They are generally optimistic in that way. There’s no such thing as, “I don’t know.” There’s only, “I haven’t tried yet, I haven’t asked my friends yet, I haven’t asked my network, I haven’t hacked the system, I haven’t done something.” So there is definitely a generational optimism that they have.
But then there’s the other piece in the business world about millennials: they’re entitled, they wear flip flops to work, they don’t respect the nine-to-five, they don’t respect the hierarchy.
It’s all very, very negative.
We can all work together and learn from millennials. It’s not that they have all the answers, but they are a huge generation in the workplace. They’re going to change things — in a way that’s actually good for business.
TA: When I went to the DMV last week, I noticed how old the structure and management is. Is that the nature of the DMV, or does it have to do with the lack of millennials there? Do you think a millennial infusion would change that?
Grant: Yes. So it’s not that there are no millennials there. It’s that these traditional companies — and this is actually the kind of company that we’re very interested in — these companies have been built around a model of management that was started in the Industrial Revolution 100 years ago, and has worked really well until now.
These companies are built in a way that was good for business before. It’s only recently — with of course the advent of millennials into management positions pushing that even more — that these companies are seeing a need to change the way that they do things.
TA: Absolutely. Something you mentioned earlier was the impact of social media on this landscape. I’d like to hear your thoughts on how it has changed in the past few years and how it will continue to change in the next 5, 10, 25 years?
Grant: It’s really democratized communications. People have access to information and content and things they used to have to jump through all kinds of hoops to get to. Especially coming from the association world. The association, the organization, the institution was the one that gave you the information that you needed. But now there’s Google, which you can get to without the association.
That’s been a huge shift in the way that we communicate, the way that we market to and reach our customers, and other certain relationship-building ways. It’s really changed the game completely — but it’s not just social media. It’s obviously all kinds of other marketing technology too, just the pace of change has exploded.
TA: How does something like employee engagement software relate to how companies better work with their employees? How do millennials, specifically, relate to something like that?
Grant: Millennials are very comfortable with technology in general so they would very quickly understand what employee engagement software was meant to do. It’s important as a driver for culture changes if it makes it easier to pay attention to what your company culture is.
Let’s say you as a company decide you want to be more transparent and share more information, which is one of the big things that will attract millennials — they want to know lots of context for decisions. You can definitely use a good intranet or employee engagement software internally to make that happen — as long as it makes it easier and not harder.