Meredith: Find your inner 'Googliness'

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Holy cow—was Google something. There’s a workplace that embraces its millennial employees. From free food 24/7, to on-site laundry facilities and doctors and dentists right there on “campus,” Google has certainly cracked the millennial code.

They recognize that it’s not all about the bottom line with us Gen-Y-ers, instead it’s about work/life balance, associated “perks” and appreciation. They’ve discovered that if you provide your employees simple creature comforts, they are even more likely to work extra hours and go the extra mile without complaint.

And they’re more likely to have better job satisfaction, which leads to better performance.

While we can’t all offer on-site medical professionals and delicious cafeteria food that’s free (I still can’t get over the free part!), what was most inspiring about Google was the structure of the organization.

Google embraces the philosophy that it’s not when you work; it’s what you do at work. It focuses not on clock-watching and timecards, but instead on results. Managers bring in speakers and display art to foster a creative environment and inspire their workforce. And their CEOs are available for office hours and lead weekly “town hall” style meetings.

Even though Google is a ginormous technology conglomerate with countless arms and projects—it felt like a team. I saw more employees smiling during our tour than I think I have anywhere.

The energy was contagious. I left inspired and I don’t even work at Google.

I’m sure some of you more cynical readers are probably thinking: “Bet I can find a disgruntled Googler.” And I bet you can, but that’s not really the point, is it?

The point is, what can we learn from Google? What can you do to make your millennial workforce feel more inspired, more appreciated, more engaged?

A friend of mine told me that her Chairman of the Board recently remarked that he “wouldn’t want to work for her, or have her work for him.” The Chairman, who I’ve been told is of a much older generation has, at times, been frustrated by my friend’s enthusiasm, energy and unyielding expectations.

I feel her pain—I’ve at times been nicknamed the “Tazmanian Devil,” by members of our Board—admittedly a less-than-flattering nickname, and one that sometimes makes me sad.

I get it—we’re frustrating, with all our notions about the world and desire to “do good” and “effectuate change.” We’re young and hungry, and we see the world differently.

But my challenge to you, agriculture, is to embrace my generation. Rethink your frustration, your defensiveness, your dismissal of that energy and those notions. Don’t squander that passion. Don’t ignore the opportunity to take risks and do things differently.

Reconnect with your hippie roots and remember the Magic Bus. Take a page from Google. Millennials aren’t the enemy: we’re just you—20, 30, or yes, even 40 years ago.  And for agriculture and the world’s sake—I hope we never lose that passion, that fervor or that hope for a better tomorrow.

#millenniallove. Give it a try.

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About the Author

Emily Meredith
| Emily Meredith serves as the Communications Director for the Alliance and manages all aspects of the communications strategy. She is responsible for the Issues Management Committee and coordinating effective responses to the issues of the industry.

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Kentucky  |  August, 13, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Emily: Right on! ( they say...) I am not of your generation, but wholeheartedly agree with your perspective. Youth has energy that the older generation no longer can muster (most of the time), plus ideas that may or may not be new, but certainly deserve consideration all of the time. I've noticed a curmudgeonly current in this forum, some of which is decidedly mean-spirited. I don't believe it comes from millennials, but even if there are some who are less than enthusiastic, let's face it, the future belongs to those who act, and those of us who are not young need to appreciate what this young generation is bringing to the table. And after all, who's going to inherit that future...? Keep it up, Emily and don't let any naysayers have an influence on you!

Arnold L. Goldman    
Connecticut  |  August, 15, 2014 at 09:08 AM

"I get it—we’re frustrating, with all our notions about the world and desire to “do good” and “effectuate change.” We’re young and hungry, and we see the world differently." Yes and hopefully with experience and maturity many more members of the current generation will come to understand that human nature is unchanging. Circumstances change but People, not so much. And while our Millenials may see the world differently, it is not clear much of the rest of the world sees them as any different, or ever will. These may be some hard truths. Let's just be glad we're all Americans.

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