CWC 17: Ann McCain on hiring and working with millennial PR professionals

On the latest episode of Chats with Chip, Ann McCain of McCain Strategies joined Chip to discuss strategies for hiring and integrating Millennial employees into PR and communication agencies. Their conversation covers the differences between Millennials and previous generations, tactics to implement Millennial talent, and tips on hiring these younger professionals.

Chip opened the conversation by asking Ann if Millennials truly differ from other generations. According to Ann, the multitude of research and conversations happening around this generation indicates that a difference does exist.

One of the marked differences between the Millennials and prior generations is the access to technology. Ann states that Gen Xers “feel a little ripped off” about the lack of access to this technology during the early stages of their careers, but she recognizes that this technology can be problematic because it allows managers to have near-constant, immediate access to the Millennial employee. According to Ann, however, this access motivates younger employees to restructure their idea of the workplace and hours.

This concept of flexibility resurfaces later in the conversation, specifically as it relates to younger professionals entering their first full-time position. Ann believes that one misconception about Millennials is their motivation to complete tasks. Employers often feel skeptical about hiring a first-time employee, as they fear they’ll have to spend too much time coaching them, but the structure of a first-time job can be valuable to young professionals.

Ann finds that many employers struggle with the hiring and onboarding process. Managers often fail to outline expectations for younger employees, especially prior to meetings. Chip agrees that organizations often lack an effective onboarding process, as well as pre-meeting expectation planning. Regardless of the age of the employees, Chip states that they can benefit from better pre-meeting outlines. Ann agrees, stating that outlining expectations allows Millennials to gain perspective and understand their role within the organization.

Chip agrees with this idea, but notes that if they’re going to be treated as equals by explaining how their role contributes to the organization, they must also be treated as equals when discipline or criticism is necessary. Later in the conversation, they delve further into how to deliver criticism. Ann explains that people often feel uncomfortable criticizing, but it’s necessary for improvement. To minimize the discomfort, Ann recommends giving criticism verbally, either in person or over the phone, and doing it in a timely fashion. Similar to pre-meeting planning, connecting criticism to the bigger picture is important. Explaining the reason for the critique allows the Millennial to understand why they should avoid repeating it.

As they neared the end of the episode, Chip asked Ann for tips on hiring Millennial talent. Her answer reiterated concepts that appeared earlier in the conversation, specifically focusing on communication and outlining expectations to understand if the young professional will fit in well with the organization.

Listen to the whole episode and check out the full transcript to learn more about strategies to integrate Millennial talent and work well with these younger professionals.

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