MReport November 2019

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16 | M R EP O RT FEATURE ship and support, and of having leaders within an organization who understand how important work-life balance is to their em- ployees morale and productivity. "There are no nine-to-five concrete rules anymore," Badalamenti-Kalas said. "We can be a lot more flexible and make life easier for everybody if their situation calls for it." Managing Millennials A n article by earlier this year reported that mil- lennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) are expected to make up half of the American workforce by 2020. By 2025, millennials are forecasted to make up 75% of the global workforce. Companies such as Ernst & Young and Accenture have already reported that millennials make up more than two-thirds of their entire employee base. Hamilton said, unlike older generations, those in the younger workforce want more of a say in their workplace and want to feel like they're making a bigger impact. "They want to feel like they are providing a service and not just doing a lot of widget work," Hamilton said. "They want to have some level of fulfillment and sense that they're contributing to a greater good." Millennials also communicate much differently than other generations and are in general more technologically inclined than any generation before them. Pew Research found that 93% of mil- lennials have a smartphone, 55% own a tablet computer, and 86% use social media. Hamilton said Bron Inc. recog- nized these changes and imple- mented Facebook for the work- place as a platform to showcase the positive things the company is doing and discuss updates. "Implementing things like instant messaging, and even text messaging and Facebook, has its place," he said. "You've got to find different ways to be able to com- municate, because that's what they want to be able to see." Samples said the workforce has certainly changed during his career—describing the atmosphere as "you come in, you put your head down, you work hard, you collect your paycheck, and you move on." That mentality, he said, doesn't work for millennials—even the older millennials who are in their early 30s. He said millennials and the younger generation are more focused on the work-life balance, working at places that are posi- tive, and places where "they feel like their work is good." Echoing Hamilton's sentiments, Samples said his company has altered how it communicates to better suit the younger generation, offering them texting services, as well as configuring the office to have more open spaces, common areas, and amenities. Another aspect to the millen- nial workforce, according to Ed Watson, Chief Culture Officer at Fay Financial, is that millennials have a strong focus on "giving back." He said that 80% of Fay's employees are enrolled in its char- ity program, which helped donate 1,800 backpacks in July. "Every generation has a spec- trum of performance within it, and it becomes so individual. Yes, we are garnering huge ben- efits from the millennials in our company contributing at every level across the organization. We would have a hard time being in business without that important generation," Watson said. Noting the differences in gen- erations, Samples noted that he is used to coming to work in a tie. However, he told MReport that he was working on an email to his employees about a Halloween costume contest and potluck—a far cry from the "buttoned up" mentality of years past. Driving Diversity H amilton said that diversity is a strong focus at Bron, as 63% of his management team are women. Hamilton said the majority of his bosses have been female, and he does believe there is a difference between how men and women are treated in the work- place. However, he noted that it is important for women to work with female leaders. "I'm going to be so happy and so stoked when the women in my organization can be recognized like at The Five Star conferences and show that they're making a positive impact. Those are the things that I'm going to view as measurements of success," he said. Baladmenti-Kalas said that Five Brothers has a significant LGBTQ and transgender population within the company and a strong focus on ensuring that those employees need to be "treated as though they're not different." "People need to feel like they belong, and so we don't dwell on it," she continued. "We just do what we do. You come to work, you do your job, and you ac- knowledge the people for or who they are and what they do." Ashley Taylor, AVP or Operations for MCS' Ruston, Louisiana, office, said that a com- mitment to advancement from within is crucial in the modern workforce, but that hiring person- nel from diverse backgrounds— and from other industries—offers many benefits. "With a background in health- care and higher education manage- ment, I utilize those skills to give an alternative perspective on a task or problem at hand," Taylor said. Watson said the biggest change he has seen in the workplace is centered around inclusion, suggest- ing that the shift has been "driven by both human and legislative initiatives." "People's attitudes and acceptance of differences is what has evolved the most," Watson said. "Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that individuals don't deal with chal- lenges today by any means, but the progress that we've made deserves positive acknowledgement." He added that it is important to make employees feel that they are being judged by the work that they do. "There's so many more deriva- tives of what diversity is, and that's a good thing. We thrive on it. The diversity of a company's people con- tributes greatly to its success, mostly because a culture of acceptance cre- ates a safe climate for differences of opinion," Watson said. "If you have that type of climate, then you're able to garner greater efficiencies and collaboration. You need a depth of experience just to see how beneficial it is to a company." Over his 35 years in the work- force, Watson said he has seen the industry and its workforce change significantly. While the scope of those changes could be lost on the younger generations, he suggests that "they own the continuance of its evolution." Watson noted that he has two daughters in their late twenties who are now in the workforce. "I'm excited for them and excited for all of our young employees for the opportunity to be in my shoes decades from now, so they can see how further change in diversity and inclusion has made their work- places better then," he said. "It's going to keep going, and it's what makes workplaces better." MIKE ALBANESE is a reporter for DS News and MReport. He is a University of Alabama graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in communications. He has worked for publications—both print and online—covering numerous beats. A Connecticut native, Albanese currently resides in Lewisville. "By taking care of your people, raising them up, making them better when you go into battle means that you have a better team." —Kevin Hamilton, President and CEO, Bron Inc.

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