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Firm Management

Firm Leaders: Are Your People Lost?

Understanding the mind of the new millennial generation is one of the growing challenges firms of all sizes are faced with today and this challenge often results in firms feeling that these new millennials are entitled and lazy, but are they really ...

Staffing 1

Understanding the mind of the new millennial generation is one of the growing challenges firms of all sizes are faced with today and this challenge often results in firms feeling that these new millennials are entitled and lazy, but are they really entitled or are they lost at work with no clear destination?

Imagine this, next Monday you arrive at the office and are told you need to go visit a client and that you need to start driving north and the firm will call you shortly with directions. At first you get in the car and head north, but after a few days, you begin to wonder if you are still going the right way. You repeat this process day after day, heading further north, but you wonder if you are still on course and if this is what you want to do with your life.

While you may think the above story isn’t applicable to your firm, you might be surprised. Most firms today, regardless of size are failing to provide a clear direction to their staff. This may have worked for firms in the past, but now the millennial mindset has changed and as a generation they have a stronger need to understand the direction in which their career and lives are headed. So before another busy season rolls around, let’s take a deeper dive into how you can provide actual GPS coordinates to retain your people for the long haul.

Let’s start with how these technology integrated millennials approach a road trip. They spend a good deal of time researching reviews online, on their favorite travel websites and apps to understand the destination. They not only read reviews, but look at pictures, compare prices, scour social media for any insight they can find to make the right choice. They tend not to just take a random trip, they are use to being able to access a vast amount of free and open information that is all available at their fingertips. Once they pick a destination and put the coordinates into there gps in their car, they are accustomed to constant updates on the estimated arrival time, any hazards in the road, construction, and even ads for places to stop along the journey.

To better understand how to motivate the millennial mind at your firm, follow the approach they are used to with their GPS when they plan a road trip.


Start at the beginning, just like when they put the destination into there GPS, millennials need to know exactly where they are headed and why they choose to reach that destination. All your employees and not just millennials need to know the direction in which the firm is headed. This includes not just the overall vision of the firm, but how each employee fits into the plan to reach the destination and the role they have. When it comes to millennials they have a higher desire to understand the vision and direction of a company they are working for. You need to get them connected to your vision and their role in reaching that vision. Allow them to buy into the value of going on the journey of working at your firm and becoming a part of that vision.


We live in a world that is infinitely more connected than it was ten years ago. While other generations are getting use to this new connected world, millennials only know this new connected world, full of tweets and status updates. Feed this desire for information with your millennial staff to engage them better in the firm vision and destination you have communicated to them. Don’t assume that anyone inside your firm can read minds and knows what you are thinking and want them to do. Just like the GPS provides turn by turn directions and road hazards, communicate with your people on the progress the firm is making moving towards it vision. Each month communicate within the firm at least three key aspects of how the firm is doing in moving towards its destination. These could be aspects updating everyone in the firm on the progress of tax returns heading towards a tax deadline, or what new clients the firm has on board, or the partners top concern for the next 30 days. The opportunities to communicate more within your firm are endless and won’t cost the firm anything.


One of the appeals of GPS systems is you can see in real time how much longer you have until you reach your destination. Adding onto the concept, providing millennials information as to how the firm is doing is equally important. It is necessary to provide feedback on how millennials are doing in their role helping the firm reach the destination. This doesn’t mean creating a complex comprehensive feedback program either. The time to tell a millennial that you see them as a future partner is not when they have already taken another job. Don’t assume your people know how they are doing and what their future holds within the firm. Keep your people informed along the journey, if they provide outstanding service to a client, recognize them for that fact. If they take full ownership of an engagement which results in a satisfied client, let them know they did a great job. The opposite holds true, if they had a misstep on an engagement, show them how that misstep works against the vision and direction of the firm. If you can tie any constructive feedback to the vision and direction of the firm vs. what the individual did wrong, you are more likely to see them take that feedback to heart.

You wouldn’t get in your car for a road trip with your friends without knowing where you are going. Understand how millennials connect with technology today, in this case their GPS, and engage them at your firm. If you can provide a destination, keep your team informed, and provide them with an ETA on the journey update you will take a step forward inturning your millennials from lazy to engaged at your firm. At the end of the day we are all better when we work together towards a common goal. Take a positive step to take control of the wheel at your firm and drive it to greater success.

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