3 things to consider if you want to attract millennials onto your Boards

More and more, we are seeing companies and charitable organisations making efforts to attract millennials into their Non-Executive or Leadership Boards.

Although these statements below are fairly general statements, they are very helpful for Baby Boomer and Boomer II generations to consider in order to attract millennials to offer their time, energies and skills (particularly in digital) to Boards and Executive teams.

  1. Millennials are values and authenticity driven

If an organisation doesn’t know its mission, vision and values, or can’t communicate that effectively, then the millennial is going to want to help the org identify, name, and promote its fundamental raison d’être! Millennials join Boards where their energy and efforts will produce outcome and impact for the common good and for the development of other human beings. Don’t fob off a millennial for not having a particular skill necessary to join your Board. If your organisation’s mission aligns totally with their values, the millennial is going to learn and eventually master that skill in order to be of better service to the organisation’s mission.

If an organisation has their mission, vision and values clearly defined, but don’t live out the ethos authentically in its BAU and culture, the Board will soon lose (or not even attract) its millennial.

2. Millennials appreciate good governance, fairness and transparency

Organisations that harbour secrecy and exclusivity within its organisational culture and performance is a turn off to millennials. This is a generation of people who believe in equality, diversity and value. It believes in fairness, openness and healthy governance to achieve those things, and that requires selfless and humble leadership. If you want to bring a millennial into your Board, be prepared to answer to injustice, abuse of power and hidden agendas – because they will bring it up as an agenda item if they sense it existing anywhere in the organisation.

Likewise, millennials will use their position as leaders to prevent any case for injustice, abuse of power and hidden agendas. They’re generally prepared to stand up for what is right. This means that Boards need to be prepared to hear things that they might not want to hear or that potentially cause discomfort.

3. Millennials are the perfect inter-technological generation to seek expertise from

Millennials are the generation that had the best of both worlds: playing outside in the garden eating worms and playing at home on their gameboys, Nintendos or Sega consoles. They learned to touch type to 65wpm at the age of 14 (well, at least I did) but also developed inter-personal communication skills in the playgrounds close to home. Digital is a natural and efficient environment to be manoeuvring and using; so if a millennial combines their digital with their effective communication skills, you’ll discover heart-led and meaningful business solutions that will increase outreach and engagement with clients, customers or beneficiaries in the post millennial generations.

Last few words…

Millennials have become victims of its preceding generation’s tendencies. Previously, recruitment into Boards (and even into employable positions) was based on a candidate proving that they already had the necessary skills to do the job. I sincerely believe it’s time for a change in that regard. Boomers deserve congratulations for having worked hard and merited the skills to the high levels they have developed. Part of the reason for this is that the Boomer generations have often spent many more years on average in the same organisations, meaning their leadership experience tends to be more secure. Millennials don’t stay in the same organisations for as long. Therefore, their leadership skills are developed differently. If you feel that a potential candidate might not have the leadership experience you are looking for in your Board, provided you have a strong existing group of leaders capable of mentoring or supporting the millennial, then give the millennial a chance to show you what they’re really capable of. The millennial leader is a natural change-maker and will invest surprising amounts of time and energy in bringing the organisation closer to its fundamental mission, vision and values.

Wellbeing tips for employees working in desk-based office jobs – Pt I

Today, I was at the Hounslow Chamber of Commerce’s Health & Wellbeing event, which was great. I left feeling really inspired by the speakers and the products/services on offer; but most of all it occurred to me that I’ve got so many tips to share about employee wellbeing in an office environment.

 

TOC - 8 Wellbeing Keys - White BackgroundAs a holistic massage therapist, healthy eating & wellbeing adviser, and a professional accredited life coach, I’ll unleash a multitude of tips to improve your wellbeing if you sit at a desk 5 days a week to keep a roof over your head and food on your table. My philosophy on wellbeing is very much centred on the 8 principles, or ‘keys’, featured in this picture: spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual/psychological, occupational, financial, environmental & physical. These make the sense of wellbeing holistic. But what is wellbeing?

 

I’ll be very honest and say that not much of what I’d learned in secondary school stuck. However, since I had the funniest Geography teacher, I happened to retain his teaching more than other subjects. I remember he taught us the difference between quality of life and standard of living. The definition of ‘quality of life’, which is complex when attempting to measure it in a scientific context, circumscribes a measure of the good-ness of multiple aspects of one’s life like (but not limited to) social, emotional, psychological state. Standard of living looks at the economic (financial) circumstances that may influence those aspects. The definition of ‘Wellbeing’ is very similar to that of ‘quality of life’ and could be considered as interchangeable in this day. When someone makes a personal assessment of their own life or of particular aspects of their life using measures of satisfaction, happiness, or other self-assessment scales, then solutions following the assessment are more often classed as ‘wellbeing’ than ‘quality of life’. So whilst wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.”, I would argue that wellbeing is simply, “the state of one’s being”, which can be self-measured using the 8 wellbeing keys/principles above.

Your wellbeing is part of you, and you bring that everywhere you go… including your workplace. So, here’s some tips to help improve your wellbeing in the office environment!!

 

SPIRITUAL

Spiritual wellbeing is the ability to experience and integrate meaning and purpose in life through a person’s connectedness with self, with God or other higher power, others, elements of creation or creativity.

Prayer / Meditation

Sadly, our workplaces are more often not very supportive of talking about ‘spirit’ or ‘spirituality’. I’m a big believer in prayer. By law, employees in the UK are entitled to work breaks, and I encourage you to read your contract if you don’t know your entitlement. There is no reason why part of that break can’t be allocated personally to prayer or meditation. Meditation, coming from the Latin meditatus means ““to think or reflect upon, consider, design, purpose, intend”.

Affirmation cards

Affirmation cards are a great thing to have in your drawer. You don’t even have to buy them… you can make them yourself! Picking up a card that says “I believe in me” or “I am grateful for…” or “You are enough” or “I won’t let fear hold me back today” when you’re going through a tough moment may uplift your spirits. As well as having them in your drawer, you can opt to make yourself a little vulnerable by handing some to the colleagues in your team so that when they notice that you are someone else is feeling downhearted, they can give you (or the other person) a card of their choice.

Retreat

Schedule a retreat into your diary at least once a year for at least 4 days. Make sure it has a spiritual element to it. I personally love the effects of 7 day silent retreats!

 

SOCIAL

If you’ve ever heard of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs, the 3rd and 4th segments, which span psychological & self-fulfillment needs cover social wellbeing, which is the extent you feel a sense of belonging and social inclusion. A connected person is a supported person in the workplace. Lifestyles, ways of working together, value systems, traditions and beliefs are all important to our social well being and quality of life. We want to know that we are accepted for who we are within our daily workplace relationships.

Team volunteering at a local charity or community

Often, employers believe that it is essential for team-building to spend lots of money on the next team-building fad. I would like to let you know that whilst they may be fun, the context is usually lacking in authenticity and reality. If you want your team to bond, do it over something real, where other people can benefit from that time. There is no better way to bond than over voluntary work at your local charity or community. It may be a foodbank, it may be a tiny charity that need their garden cleared out (or a new one planted and maintained), it may be clearing rubbish or even establishing and promoting an environment-friendly campaign.

Opportunities to chat

I’m sure we’ve all experienced this… endless emails between co-workers who work just a few desks away through to a floor or two up! Would it be such a bad idea if the team ate one lunch-a-month together at a local cafe? After-work drinks are also an idea… but when I mean ‘after work’, I mean: if your normal working day finishes at 5pm, then stop working at 3:30, head to the pub, and pay them until 5pm.

 Employee Assistance Programmes

Whilst I do believe that all employees would benefit from an employee assistance programme, the public and third sector organisations would most benefit from such a programme. The fact that these programmes offer trained counsellors and legal experts on the other end of the phone means that an employee doesn’t have to go through personal or work-related problems alone. Having an employee assistance programme ensures that employees will always have someone independent to talk to confidentially.

 

EMOTIONAL

Not only does our working lives contribute a great deal to our emotional wellbeing, but that’s also the truth the other way round. Our emotional wellbeing contribute a great deal to our working lives – from how we handle pressure (resilience), to how well we perform. When we are not emotionally well, we may lack a sense of purpose and achievement. This then has a knock-on effect on self-esteem and confidence. A negative loop could then result from this. Although related to emotional wellbeing, stress will be covered under psychological/intellectual tips.

Praise & motivation

Anyone who has been through solid management training will know that praise and motivation is essential for the emotional wellbeing of their team. If you are a manager, please find creative ways of giving due recognition to your team and use the myriad of sites available on the internet to build creative motivation into your daily weekly work plan.

Bring the ocean to you

Very few people in the world would say that when they went to the beach, they had such a bad experience that just the thought of the sea provokes negative feelings and/or emotions. It may be too many miles away, but today’s technology can bring the sea to you! Stick your headphones on, open up youTube (if you can), type in ‘ocean sounds’, and pick from hundreds of videos of the ocean, listening to it whilst you close your eyes and imagine you are at the beach. LoungeV Films have a huge range of different nature sounds that you are bound to like one of! Our sense of hearing is extremely powerful… so give your ears a treat.

Find peace… through your nose

I absolutely love the private collection of home fragrances by the ethical Rituals company. I was in their flagship Covent Garden store the other day when a delightful young French sales assistant told me about their wonderful philosophy, which I absolutely connected with. Although it’s a home fragrance, as long as it doesn’t irritate neighbouring co-workers, you could spray one or two shots over your seat/desk. Choose a fragrance that you feel makes you feel positive and peaceful. It’ll be like bringing the spa to your workplace!


So here are the first set of tips for improved wellbeing for employees in a workplace, if the employees sit at a desk for the majority of their work day. There’s loads more tips to come!