(By Georgia Beasley) We all know what is on everyone’s plate right now… BUDGETS. It’s hard to find someone in the radio industry, or any industry for that matter, who isn’t discussing, delaying or rushing because they’re in the middle of working on their budget. So I want to take this small window of opportunity that comes around once each year to discuss a topic you may not have considered: Allocating or shifting dollars in the budget to pay Millennials MORE MONEY.
In an industry that is cutting back on expenses and hyper-focused on profit margins, the importance of stretching every dollar is critical. Are we allocating more budget dollars to attracting, training, and retaining talented Millennials in radio? If we don’t, we may lose them. With building debt due to student loans and financial pressures, such as increases in key living costs that previous generations have not faced, there is nothing more important to Millennials than securing a financial future where we are getting paid now what we will be worth to a company in two years. As a professional in any industry, our lifetime earnings are significantly impacted by every raise that we get, which means future earning potential is impacted by our base salary today. Most Millennials are underpaid in their roles, but few do anything about it. Radio needs to get competitive to attract the best talent out there and the reality is it all starts with the highest base salary.
Consider that Millennials in our industry are no longer just qualified for entry level positions, do you have a plan or budget to retain this talent? If not, you will most likely lose them to a competitor or another industry. Outside of the technology industries, the economic power of young professionals is often underestimated and overlooked. This has been a missed opportunity for traditional media… hopefully only until now. Talented professionals in this generation aren’t waiting to get advancement before investing in themselves. The lesson here for broadcasters: Lean toward integrating Millennials as active drivers of their own destiny in our industry, and not passive observers of other veterans on the team. For example, consider exploring non-traditional leadership positions.
As a GM, you could create a leadership team of new wave managers and make this a collaborative effort, or strategically develop new positions based on what is needed on your team. Instead of a new business sales manager, promote your hardest-working, most savvy Millennial to Innovative Strategy Manager and outline measurable benchmarks to achieve certain bonuses. Worst case scenario: Reconsider the benefits of being paid based on performance vs. being paid based on potential for our industry. This may also include a unique approach to compensation other than monetary gain that should be incorporated into the budget and 2018 strategy like anything else.
Whatever you decide, decide something that will bring you a greater result than you had this year. Our industry needs creativity when looking at each line item and the potential growth inside each department, instead of just “taking the percentage and distributing it to make the numbers work.” This kind of passive management often feels out of date in a world full of educated, employed Millennials who feel they can make the difference in whether you achieve your 2018 budget.
Georgia Beasley is the director of TopicPulse strategic initiatives at Futuri Media and can be reached at [email protected]