(By Georgia Beasley) While I’m sure many general managers may think attracting Millennials is as simple as throwing a few beanbags on the floor and supporting a local non-profit, if our industry is serious about growing and retaining young, talented superstars, then keep reading.
Radio has all the makings to be the epitome of a dream job for any Millennial, right? We can work in music for a living and rub elbows with artists weekly. Radio is fun and creative with plenty of perks, like attending local events and concerts for free. Unfortunately, radio still isn’t seeing the numbers we should be across our industry, so I’ve created a list of three things our general managers can do to attract Millennials like me.
See Ya Later, Yellow Pages! You may need to sit down for this. The days of “the yellow pages” training and “eat what you kill” commission-only compensation are over and are a big reason you aren’t getting the qualified Millennial talent you deserve. That’s right, we want the money but we need the professional development even more. Like most Millennials, I’d choose to invest my energy into a job I’m passionate about, that will invest in my future and overall happiness, over a potential higher salary any day. The reality is, we have watched our parents and grandparents loyally work at the same job their entire life without any real benefit or reward, so blame it on technology or complete delusion, but we’re willing to take the risk on an easier and way-faster way to finding success than they did. If you want me to stick around, be competitive with what I’m being offered in media and at agencies, then increase my growth opportunities. What that means is, as a general manager, take another approach with the way you structure your compensation for entry-level positions. Try offering a small base salary with lower commission structure for a year, not just three months, and then make sure you have a training and certification program outlined to help us develop over that year. We just want a real chance to succeed, so if you can show us you’re invested in our success, we’ll be invested in yours.
Reverse Mentoring. Adding more Millennials to the mix can be extremely advantageous to your business. Obviously, we are extremely savvy with social media and all things digital, but it doesn’t just stop there. When upper management uses Millennials to better understand and elevate their business or company brand, that’s called “Reverse Mentoring.” As a general manager, you can create a Millennial committee that you lead and use our expertise to effectively utilize technology to leverage the station’s ratings or increase billing. Something like this could lead to your station’s first $100,000 annual using Snap without a single commercial being used, or it could result in an organic social media marketing campaign reaching half a million users without a single dollar being spent or needing to be expensed. This will send a message to all employees that innovative and outside-of-the-box thinking is important, and Millennials will appreciate that you’re a leader who believes in them and their growth. Using reverse mentioning will help you build relationships with emerging leaders and help your station succeed.
Beware of Bullies. This is probably more common than most of us would like to admit. We all know those veteran sellers or employees who make a new hire “earn their respect” before they’ll be helpful or even professional. Well, there’s a word for this, it’s called bullying and it shouldn’t be allowed, ever. The moment bullying of any sort occurs, it needs to be addressed and immediately eliminated to show there is no tolerance for it in the workplace. We have grown up with anti-bullying causes and initiatives up to this point, and to walk in as a confident young professional only to be bullied by a threatened veteran is intimidating, and if handled incorrectly, defining. Be a general manager who creates an environment that encourages collaboration and support instead of drama and gossip, or Millennials will leave and tell their friends.
Those are a few simple steps that our industry’s general managers can take that would immediately result in more qualified Millennials. Creating a Millennial-friendly environment will encourage every employee to stay fresh in their approaches and add new value to existing responsibilities or processes. As a general manager, try to stay away from reasons why it wouldn’t work and just embrace the ideas, technology, and change that this generation can bring. Remember, some may fight the change, but general managers who are willing to invite and encourage them will benefit in the end. You may not be targeting Millennials directly with the suggestions above, but the improvement in compensation and training retention, culture and technological enhancements, will naturally appeal to our generation. At that point, you’ll be able to take your pick from the talent pool, because Millennials will be coming to you!
Georgia Beasley is Director of Digital Sales for the Beasley Media Group and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]