What do Millennials Really Want?

By Lisa Earle McLeod and Elizabeth McLeod

Attracting and keeping top Millennial talent is a burning issue for business leaders. Millennials represent 35% of the workforce. By 2020 they’ll be nearly half (46%) of the working population.

Organizations like G Adventures, Google, and Hootsuite are filled with Millennials who are on fire for their jobs. Yet many organizations struggle to attract, and retain, top Millennial talent.

Below, Elizabeth shares her insights about what top-performing Millennials want, and how leaders can ignite the “energy of a thousand suns.”

An Open Letter to Management:

You hired us thinking maybe this person might be in it for the long haul. We’ve been on the job for six months, then drop a bomb on you. We’re quitting.

We know the stereotypes. Millennials never settle down. We’re drowning in debt for useless degrees. We refuse to put our phone away. We are addicted to lattes even at the expense of our water bill. Our bosses are not wrong about these perceptions.

But, pointing to our sometimes irresponsible spending and fear of interpersonal commitment isn’t going to solve your problem. You still need us. We’re the ones who’ve mastered social media, who have the energy of a thousand suns, and who will knock back $5 macchiatos until the job is done perfectly.

I’ve worked in corporate America, administrative offices, advertising agencies, and restaurants. I’ve had bosses ranging from 24 to 64. I’ve had bosses I loved, and bosses I didn’t. I’ve seen my peers quit, and I’ve quit a few times myself. *

Lisa Earle McLeod is the creator of the popular business concept, Noble Purpose, and author of the bestseller, “Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud.” Elizabeth McLeod is a Millennial, cum laude graduate of Boston University, and daughter of Lisa Earle McLeod.

* TO FIND OUT MORE — To learn what’s REALLY behind a Millennial’s resignation letter, see the March 2019 Employee Assistance Report (EAR) newsletter, which will email the last week in February. To find out more about EAR, go to http://www.writeitrightllc.com.



On Getting Older and Turning the Big 6-0

Note: This post marks the return of regular blog posts after a holiday hiatus. Topics for future posts are always welcome!

“When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now… Will you still need me, will you still feed me? When I’m sixty-four.”

Perhaps you recognize this little ditty? “When I’m Sixty-Four”, a song by the Beatles, written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon-McCartney), was released in 1967 on the album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

I thought mentioning these lyrics was appropriate, seeing as how I turned the big 6-0 on Monday. Besides that, this was one of the many pop songs we sang in high school chorus. Sixty-four?! That number seemed like an eternity away when you were in your teens. Now, in just four more years, I WILL be sixty-four!

Certainly, there are things we all lament about aging. We can’t see or hear as well as we used to. The aches and pains we easily shrugged off as youth now take a lot longer to get over. I get a twinge in my left shoulder when I put on a coat or jacket – this never happened 20 years ago! Those examples are just for starters. Like most of you, I could go on and on about the not-so-fun aspects of getting older!

But when it comes to aging, why do we tend to only dwell on the negative? There are plenty of positives, too! Think back to some of the stupid, impulsive things you did in your teens or 20s. What about those? Would you be even as remotely likely to do the same, dumb thing today? I doubt it.

It’s like the insurance commercial goes… “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.”

It’s like the insurance commercial goes… “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.” It’s not so much that we’re that much smarter now, it’s just that we have learned from experience what to do – or what not to do – in any number of situations.

I attended a reunion last fall of my alma mater’s journalism department, and I observed, and listened to, current J-school students pose questions to a keynote speaker, which seemed like old hat to me. But not to someone still in college! It was all new to them! Remember?!

Listening to, and conversing with young people made me realize the multitude of things I know about my field that I just take for granted. I simply have years of experience to fall back on when a given problem arises. A number of students were happy to learn what I had to share. As I say, I’ve gone through a lot of experiences that someone in their 20s hasn’t. Talk about a person feeling better, and not just older!

Now, one needs to be humble, and recognize there are ALWAYS new things to learn! Rather, as someone in their 40s, 50s, or even 6-0, it’s important to also realize that you have simply taken a LOT more steps down the road of life than a young person.

The moral of the story: Don’t just lament getting older. One, you can’t do anything about it anyway. Second, bear in mind all of the life lessons you know NOW, that you had no clue about decades ago.

Many Employees Uncomfortable Asking for Holiday Time Off

1 in 2 employees is uncomfortable/somewhat uncomfortable asking their managers for time off during the holidays, according to a new study from West Monroe Partners.

The study goes on to say that 51% say they feel either unmotivated or overwhelmed (26%) after returning to work, which makes sense – if you’re on edge about asking for PTO, your “time off” isn’t going to feel very relaxing.

Mike Hughes, a managing director with West Monroe and author of the study, says organizations should examine what they can do to help employees….like giving them the ability to work remotely.

In fact, the ability to work remotely came as a top requirement for employees to be more productive during the holiday season, and 91% said they feel productive when working remotely.

As businesses enter the holiday season, it’s important for leaders to consider how they can best position their business for success in the New Year with a focus on employee productivity and engagement. The following recommendations are based on survey data and experience as workforce consultants in a tight job market:

Close the office on days beyond federal holidays, when feasible: Companies that do not close extra days during the holiday season may look at the cost of this action and decide it’s too steep – but consider the return on investment. Employees report increased satisfaction and productivity leading into the time they’re most likely to search for other jobs. And in a tight job market, that ROI is very real. If it’s not possible for your business to close on additional days during the season, then it’s even more important to offer workers alternative ways of disconnecting and recharging, such as greater scheduling flexibility.

Accommodate more remote working: With the holiday season now in full force, leaders should strike a balance between business goals and accommodating employee preferences, especially more remote working. The impact on productivity could be immense: Imagine an employee who would otherwise request PTO to visit longer with family out of town, but through remote working can accomplish two days’ worth of work while still getting to enjoy family time in the evening.

 Consider flexible scheduling — and recognition: During the holidays, 38 percent of employees want fewer in-office distractions so they don’t feel they have to put in overtime to get their work done. Others want to come in and leave early to have more holiday family time. For these workers, flexible scheduling options during the holidays can significantly drive productivity and morale.

Showing Staff Appreciation this Holiday Season

By Danielle Korins

It’s been said that “a company is nothing without its people.” A solid team of professionals makes for a successful and booming business—after all, they are what keep the engine running.

This holiday season, make it clear to your staff how important they are every day of the year. As the Chief Human Resource Officer at Sterling—the global leader in employment background screening and talent solutions— we put together ten best practices when it comes to showing staff appreciation.

A few of them appear below:

Time off. With so much to do to get ready for the holidays, giving employees extra days off, or even a portion of a day, will help them tremendously. But however you decide to approach time off, make sure that it will not affect the employee’s workload. The last thing you want to do is recognize one member of your team while burdening the others with extra work.

Personalize rewards. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to rewards will not be a successful way to increase engagement. All employees have different personalities and preferences, so to get the most out of the rewards you give, choose things that are most likely to make them feel appreciated.

Speak up. Showing appreciation does not necessarily have to be in the form of a gift. Just saying “thank you for a hard day’s work” or “thank you for your contribution to this project” can make employees feel valued, especially if the recognition is coming from someone in upper management.

Do it often. Thanking employees is not just something you should wait for the holidays to do. In order to inspire the engagement you need to keep productivity high and turnover low, be sure to make employee appreciation part of your workplace culture.

As the saying goes, “little things mean a lot.”

Will Fancy Office Buildings Become Extinct?

You’re likely aware that more people are working from home than ever before. According to a recent survey from Indeed, more and more jobs are allowing employees to work remotely.

Out of the 500 employees surveyed, 55% percent said they were allowed to work remotely, and among those, 75% said this perk improved work-life balance, and 60% said that their productivity improved.

Small businesses were among the least likely to allow their employees to work from home, although 40% of small business employers surveyed stated that they supported the option to do so. This begs the question:

“Should the modern employer be less focused on providing state-of-the-art office spaces if employees would rather skip the commute and work from home?”

I read, and then re-read this question, and it really got me to thinking! I have worked in lots of different work environments, everything from quiet and secluded, to noisy and open. Co-workers who largely went about their business each day – versus colleagues who liked to chat a lot.

As a result, part of any decision about remote work needs to address what type of worker YOU are. You have to be a self-starter, self-motivated, and okay with having little face-to-face interaction with colleagues. If that isn’t you, remote work might be a bad idea.

In addition to individual differences, the type of work the business does, as well as its size, also need to be taken into account. Certain professions, like writing, editing and graphic design, are much more conducive to remote work than other fields. When I started working from home (I still prefer that term over “remote” work!) more than seven years ago, the only big change in my day-to-day work was that instead of being handed a paper proof, I received it electronically.

“Brick-and-mortar” issues such as construction costs, office rent, etc. are another big consideration for any business thinking about allowing more employees to skip the office commute and work from home. It used to be that if a company wanted to expand, it was almost automatically looking at building (or leasing) a bigger building. Today this can be a murky matter. The firm might be better off sticking with the physical size building it has, and encouraging (wherever applicable) more employees to work from home. What a cost savings!

Or what if you are an EAP practitioner or other behavioral health professional with an individual practice? Chances are, the cost of renting an office, especially if you live in an expensive city where space is at a premium – such as New York, Chicago, or Seattle – is even more cost prohibitive than it is for an employer!

Then there is the complex matter of how to manage employees who work from home – an area that I believe is going to become a big EAP issue in the near future. Part one of an article by Jan Makela in the December “Employee Assistance Report” (EAR) offers some great advice.  For more on EAR go to http://www.writeitrightllc.com

It’s a lot to think about, but even if you haven’t had to consider these issues yet, you very likely WILL need to examine this emerging trend in the near future. Who knows? It might even involve fancy office buildings becoming largely a thing of the past.


More On Importance of Being Thankful

With the Thanksgiving holiday last week, I knew that it would be appropriate to write about the importance of giving thanks and being grateful. This week, I really thought that would be the last thing I’d be writing about.

But it wasn’t.

First, in my last post, “Developing Optimism in an Age of Pessimism,” I noted that research has shown that: “Eighty percent of physical, emotional, and mental health are a direct result of our thought lives” (Leaf, 2009). See her landmark book, “Who Switched Off My Brain?” at https://www.amazon.com/Who-Switched-Off-Brain-Controlling/dp/0981956726.

EIGHTY percent! If our thinking is THAT important to what we say and what we do, what could we accomplish if we thought more positive thoughts more of the time, and not the negativity that it’s so much easier to lapse into?

But I probably still would have been writing about a different topic had it not been for the segment by A.J. Jacobs on giving thanks for a cup of coffee on CBS Sunday Morning. See more here: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-j-jacobs-thanks-a-thousand-a-gratitude-journey/

Jacobs, you see, embarked on a lengthy journey to thank each of the different people involved in making his morning “cup of Joe” a reality. Jacobs’s 10-year-old son pointed out that it wasn’t enough for Dad to “Give thanks” out loud over his morning pick-me-up, a daily habit shared by many of us.

No, if he was really serious about his gratitude, Dad would thank the numerous people along the way.


That meant thanking a truck driver to, yes, traveling to Colombia where the coffee beans were grown.

Now I’m not saying that we have to go THAT FAR to be truly grateful for something. But Jacobs brought the idea of “giving thanks” to a whole another level.

Let’s say you had a terrific salad for lunch yesterday. It had everything you like on it: Spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, red peppers, black olives. The works. You “might” remember to thank the waiter, but what about the cook who chopped up the veggies? The busboy who cleaned up your table afterward? Maybe, depending on where he lived, even the farmer who grew the vegetables?

You get the idea.

What would our world be like if more people thought like Mr. Jacobs, as opposed to the negativity that comes much more easily to us?

Being thankful isn’t a one-day thing, it’s a lifestyle.

Developing Optimism in an age of Pessimism

When we fail to notice the positive, our brains naturally emphasize the negative.”

I ran across this statement by KJ Dell’Antonia in an article in Time magazine. I read it. Then I re-read it. Then I thought about it. BINGO. What a perfect post for Thanksgiving! Why do we need to have a holiday each year to remind us to be thankful for all of the good things in our lives? Shouldn’t that just come naturally? Sometimes it does, sure.

But also consider the recent midterm election races: One side of the fence was ELATED when a given candidate won– while the other was upset, EXASPERATED. Or what about the economic news that the Dow went down. Again.

Or the latest bombing or school shooting. Perhaps a bad bullying incident at a local school left us in a foul, negative mood about how mean kids are. Etc. etc. Maybe the cesspool of negativity we are surrounded in much of the time has something to do with it?

It’s worth noting again: “When we fail to notice the positive, our brains naturally emphasize the negative.”

What about all of the people whose lives were saved in an active assailant situation because of Officer John Doe’s heroic actions? Why didn’t we think more about that report when we heard it?

But it’s easier to be a pessimist and dwell on the bad, isn’t it?

Or the bullying incident. I remember LOTS of bullies growing up, and your only recourse was to put up with it, or fight back. Anti-bullying campaigns in schools? Didn’t exist in my day! We need to take more note of people trying to do something about societal problems.

But it’s easier to be a pessimist and dwell on the bad, isn’t it? My mom and dad used to have their TV tuned in to CNN much of the day. Then they wondered why they were so anxious and negative much of the time! “Turn the channel or turn it off!” I’d say. It’s great they always wanted to know what was going on in the world – but still. …

Too many times the news we read and hear causes fear. Rather than informing us, it mostly leaves us worried. Scared. Maybe even terrified. What about focusing more on the good things going on in the world that get swept under the rug?

In his book Hardwiring Happiness, neuropsychologist Rick Hanson says, “We are designed to focus on the beasts that are still out there in the deep rather than on those we have tamed.”

“Wow!” I thought. That explains a lot, doesn’t it? But all is not lost: Optimism can be developed. Our thought worlds are powerful, more powerful than we think.

“Eighty percent of physical, emotional, and mental health are a direct result of our thought lives,” writes Caroline Leaf in her landmark book, Who Switched Off My Brain? EIGHTY percent! So, if the bulk of one’s thoughts are negative, it’s no wonder why someone would be so pessimistic!

One recourse, Dr. Leaf says: “Reject incoming info and get rid of what you don’t want, before it wires into your brain.”

I heartily recommend books like Dr. Leaf’s because we CAN learn to retrain our brains to think more positively. Is it easy? No. Does it take time? It sure does. But in the cesspool of negativity we live in, in which positive days like Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday are more the exception than the rule, what does it hurt to try?

Pay more attention to the positive each and every day, and not just Thursday. I’m going to give it a try. What about you?


Veterans training Veterans: A Timely Career Trend Story

Timely consideration for workplace/career features regarding so many of Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA) faculty working as veterans of the US military and instructors …and what we’ve learned is even more fascinating is that quite a numerous faction of the student body are veterans as well.

A number of honorable vets preparing students for high demand careers in aviation maintenance – exemplary use of the GI Bill considering that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics cites that the 2017 median annual pay for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians was $61,260 and that Boeing’s 2018 Current Market Outlook forecasts that between now and 2037, the aviation industry During the next 10 years, airlines will spend almost $4 billion to retrofit more than 9,000 airplanes with satellite connectivity.

In terms of current students on the GI Bill, studying as veterans – follow this link to a variety of more in depth stories: http://pia.edu/alumni-spotlights/

And for b-roll and student veteran insights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDuhA20RR3E  – this piece features comments from faculty Veteran Lee Carnes and students Mark McCray, Stacie Powers, David Smith.

Warren Guthrie 49 years, PIA ALUMNI (AMT), Air Force Veteran Mr. Guthrie is one of the longest serving faculty members at PIA, sharing his experience from his military service with B52 Bombing & Navigation Systems and Low Level Terrain Avoidance Radar. Mr. Guthrie spent 34 years as an Industrial Electrical Specialist with the U.S. Postal Service, as well as working with Strategic Air Command, American Airlines, Executive Jet and light aircraft at Northern Airmotive.

Mark Mihalko  5 years, (AET), U.S. Navy Veteran Mr. Mihalko comes to PIA after serving over 21 years in the United States Navy, with a specialty in combat systems and communications while deployed on the USS Trenton, Carter Hall and Ponce. He then served as a submarine repair facility production supervisor and a Naval Station airfield manager.

Kevin Reid 14 years, PIA ALUMNI (AMT), US Navy Veteran and Army National Guard After Mr. Reid’s service in the U.S. Navy he went on to work at Interstate Airlines, Conrad Aviation Services and the Army Aviation Support Facility in Washington, PA. He has forty years of experience with all types of aircraft including jets, small aircraft and helicopters. While in the aviation industry, Mr. Reid continued serving his county for 15 years in the Army National Guard. Mr. Reid is certified to test individuals seeking the FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certification.

Randall Reynolds 16 years, (AMT), US Airforce Veteran Mr. Reynolds served 24 years in the Airforce. From 1986-1992 he was the crew chief for Air Force 2, the Vice President’s aircraft under Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr. He also served as an Aircraft  Crew Chief on C-130 cargo planes. Mr. Reynolds brings to PIA extensive experience with over 40+years in a multitude of aircraft. Mr. Reynolds retired after 9 years as PIA’s Youngstown Branch Campus Director and has returned to PIA’s main campus to teach Powerplant.

Frank Says 30 years, PIA ALUMNI (AET), US Army Veteran Mr. Saye served 21 years in the military specializing in long and short range radar missile systems including the Nike Hercules, Ajax, Patriot and Hawk Missiles. After serving overseas in Germany and Korea he returned to his native Texas to teach military officers at the Air Defense School at Fort Bliss.

Albert R. Simon, Jr.  15 years, (AMT), US Marine Corps Veteran Mr. Simon is a specialist in Powerplant Mechanics with over 20 years at US Air and 10 years at Fed Ex. Mr. Simon is consulted for his expert troubleshooting skills after 44+ years of aviation experience. He also has taught at PIA’s branch campuses.

Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics was recognized as the #1 school fighting the nation’s skills gap in a list published in 2018 by Forbes

For more information, call 1-800-444-1440, or visit www.pia.edu.



Election Aftermath: We CAN Agree to Disagree

Blue. Red. Democrat. Republican. Moderate. Conservative. Liberal. Whatever your political affiliation, I hope you exercised your right to vote on Tuesday. And I also hope you are able to reach across the aisle and congratulate the winner, regardless of whether you voted for him or her. Being civil might seem like it should be a given, but with the amount of name calling, nitpicking, and negative ads occurring in politics these days, civility and politics is no small matter.

But polarizing politics actually isn’t anything new in the United States. Far from it. As far back as our nation’s infancy, the Federalists (led by Alexander Hamilton) and the Republicans, also called Democratic-Republicans (led by Thomas Jefferson) were on opposite sides of the fence on many issues. Nowhere was that division more apparent than Hamilton’s insistence that the federal government create a national bank – something Jefferson vehemently disagreed with. But calmer heads prevailed, and a national bank is exactly what happened. See also http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/outlines/history-2005/the-formation-of-a-national-government/hamilton-vs-jefferson.php.

Or what about the volatile topic of slavery in the mid-1860s, which of course led to civil war? Or the Civil Rights Movement and demonstrations over the Vietnam war in the 1960s? No, polarizing politics is NOT new to our country.

But what it seems we’ve largely forgotten is the importance of reaching compromises on divisive issues, something our Founding Fathers were able to accomplish. One key to doing that, I think, is to really LISTEN to what people of an opposing view have to say. We seem to think that listening is the same thing as agreeing, when it isn’t! You can listen to someone without agreeing! But in listening, and not immediately launching into arguments or name calling, we can begin to understand where someone of differing political views is coming from.

Take the immigration issue as a brief example. At first glance, someone against illegal immigration might appear to be a bigot, racist, or worse. But what about the flip side of the coin in which others are very concerned about letting criminals, drug dealers, and worse into the US – and at a time when bombings, shootings, and worse are occurring at an alarming rate? If you are a conservative, can you see how someone might think you’re a racist? If you’re a liberal, can you see that some of your fellow citizens are genuinely worried about who we let into our country? If you have an idea WHY someone feels (and votes) the way they do …. That, it seems to me, is the first step toward compromises and solutions to difficult problems.

Here are a few related thoughts from Myric’s Voting Checklist:

* I will read and work to understand the Constitutions of the nation and my state.

* I will vote logic and facts, not emotion and popularity.

* I will assume all political memes and posts are false until proven otherwise with solid fact.

* I will neither gloat nor whine about the results.

That’s just a few of some real thought provokers.

Read more here: https://www.facebook.com/myric.mcbain?__tn__=%2CdCH-R-R&eid=ARD4Jn6h1F7O1EFhZ1-JdbDGV34CGAHPLisXfziTtvQ9gEE7UJ0tDUh9eqbxP9mUIdzidJ7hePxZQzx6&hc_ref=ARQKdiMXqdRyXmWXMV5jLW4V1TJXEFgfPIQ3zBa2Pj6QCnqYdhxbll0mw8MGvu-014k&fref=nf

It’s true our elected leaders could set a better example when it comes to civility! But I also think we as individuals need to look in the mirror because we’re plenty guilty, too. Democrat, Republican, or independent, we’re all Americans first and foremost. That’s something I think we need to remember much more often than we do.

Have Some Halloween Fun!

By Alyssa Mertes

Being a business owner can be a very terrifying thing, but it doesn’t have to be all tricks and no treats. Halloween is a good excuse to relax the tie, take your hair out of its tight bun, and let loose. Find out how you can use this holiday to improve office morale and employee focus with a few simple tweaks to the workplace.

Let your employees dress up

Does it really matter if your secretary is dressed up as a lobster for the day? As long as they’re still greeting guests, fielding calls, and entering data, they can be a crazy crustacean all they want. Costumes for Halloween won’t stop your team from rocking it out for the day. Plus, it could warrant some good laughs and start conversations.

According to a study from the University of Warwick, happiness leads to a 12% spike in employee productivity. Setting up a makeshift photo booth or giving a gift card to the best costume is a great way to earn smiles. Sounds like that lobster’s really cooking now!

Throw an office party

Watching your team do the Monster Mash is worth every minute away from the computers.

Make sure you have a great playlist for the occasion. “Strange Brew” by Cream, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, and “Dead Man’s Party” by Oingo Boingo are a few that should be in rotation. Science has found that music spikes the part of the brain that’s associated with reward and emotion. This helps your employees feel valued at the office.

Don’t forget a lot of your employees have kids and want to take them trick or treating. Why not let them go home a little early on October 31st? Now that’s an employee gift as sweet as a bag of candy!

If that’s not a possibility, these activities are a surefire way to increase happiness at the office. We spend a frightening amount of time at work and deserve to go to a place where we feel engaged and appreciated. Costumes, candy, and other creepy crawlies are a step in the right direction!

Note: For additional ideas on how to celebrate Halloween at the office, visit