09: Hiring & Working with Millennials

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In today’s episode, we dive into hiring, firing and working with Millennials in this ever-changing work environment. Joining me is Chris Sims the owner of Sigao Studios, an agile coaching and software development company in Birmingham AL. He has hired hundreds of employees in his career, at one time he hired 120 employees from all over the world in a 6-month period! This experience, along with the guidance of a mentor, led Chris to understand that the ‘old’ way of doing business in the IT field was not going to work any longer and a new approach to dealing with these ‘thought-workers’ was needed.

Over 75% of IT projects fail, the assembly line development companies not only turn off workers, but they don’t work well in the IT field. One of the main issues is a lack of clear communication and poor management.

What you’ll hear in this podcast:

  • Sigao is a Greek word meaning ‘Stunned Silence’
  • How to motivate thought-workers
  • Fail often and fail fast
  • Most programmers are millennials and expect a different work environment
  • A cohesive team dynamic is critical for millennials
  • How a longer interview process leads to great hires
  • New management approaches are needed with the new workforce. The earlier approach to management from the days of Henry Ford is obsolete in most businesses these days and do not work well with millennials
  • The Tower of Babel syndrome can occur when you get multiple cultures working on a project with different communication styles and backgrounds and can derail the entire team
  • You must know how your employees are motivated in order to get the most out of them
  • Communication must be open and clear. Clarification, feedback, and praise are important for any team leader and Boss
  • You must understand what team culture you want to create and your interview process should screen for this culture. When you have poor team dynamics, you have a conflict breeding ground
  • The cost of a bad hire is high. Be slow to hire and quick to fire
  • Universities are doing a good job of preparing the millennial workforce. Most Millennials have been trained, and prefer, to work in teams
  • Chris looks for employees who are Hungry, Humble & Smart (from the book The Ideal Team Player see resources below)
  • Emotional intelligence is important but rare in the development field
  • When dealing with conflict do so with Grace and from a place of service, Chris often ‘becomes an actor’ in order to have those hard conversations that all Bosses must have, it is a role that may feel uncomfortable but important to be fair.
  • When you Fire an employee, it should never be a surprise to them, they should see it coming
  • Intentional diversity is important for a strong team, not just checking boxes but hiring those that have diverse experiences
  • When you bring together people with lots of different life experiences and approaches the more diverse a team is the more value that team is going to bring
  • Chris uses 2 metrics to evaluate his employees
    • How engaged (present) is your team. They must be ‘sold’ on the success of the company
    • How happy are your customers? Do they see the value, are they getting what they want?
  • The work environment is different than it was 20 years ago, from dogs in the workplace to the beer fridge, but this may be a chicken and egg situation, which came first the change or the expectation of the change?
  • Millennials desire
    • Team open environments and mobility in their work
    • To work together
    • Most Millennials have been trained, and prefer, to work in teams
    • Do not value status symbols such as a big office or award
    • Want a family atmosphere
    • To work hard and play hard
    • Flexibility
    • Flourish in a collaborative and creative environment
  • Millennials bring significant value and if you don’t hire them, you won’t have anyone to hire


Sigao Studios

The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni


At the end of the day, every person on the team is a salesperson

Millennials are like Gluten, everyone has an opinion about them

You’ve got to get over yourself and realize that this is the world you live in

Show Intro music is Whispering Through by Asura


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