Interview: HR Director in mid-size full service shop
April 25, 2008

This is another interview from my trip to Chicago. This HR director was extremely helpful, and told us about what it’s really like to manage the infamous Millennials.


On Millennials in the workplace and the generation gap…

  • First, it’s important to know each Millennial is an individual and there are exceptions to generational trends. But the HR director challenges Millennials (new hires) to:
  • Not presuppose more than they really know.
  • Respect authority in the workplace; don’t think your judgment is the only one that counts.
  • Know that skills and knowledge of the industry are not a substitute for years of actual experience.
  • Be humble. In the past, interns were lucky to be in the office and willing to help on anything. Now they are too self-assured and act as if the agency is privileged to have them.
  • Pay attention to cues in the office that suggest certain expectations or protocol. Just because the culture is laid-back and open, doesn’t mean the employees don’t obey certain unwritten rules. For example, when an office door is closed, it means the person is requesting privacy, and should not be bothered unless the matter is urgent.

In an effort to meet Millennials’ need for more feedback, this agency has implemented a more frequent performance review schedule (every 3 months). (more…)

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Interview: HR rep at Digital Media arm of a global ad agency
March 31, 2008

AdBridge caught up with this Recruiter to talk about interdepartmental collaboration and how his HR department is adapting to the generation gap in the workplace:

On collaboration… 

  •  It depends on the client and the holding company more than anything else. Two agencies will struggle to collaborate if they are owned by competing holding companies or if the client has multiple people managing multiple agency relationships.
  • Internal collaboration between departments is tricky because employees are over-extended. When departments fail to collaborate, everyone loses, but it happens mostly because people are too pre-occupied with their own projects and deadlines to be able to contribute to a colleague’s as well. Territory battles are a reality, but stress is the bigger factor. 

On Millennials…

  •  They tend to do well in digital because their co-workers are closer in age.
  • HR departments really are actively working to adapt agencies to generational differences 
  •  Millennials want everything too soon. They expect to get promoted quickly because they perform their duties well, but don’t understand the other factors at play.
  •  Millennials tend to “top out quickly” because they lack management skills and have a hard time delegating day-to-day responsibilities. Promotions are about putting employees in charge of people, not just projects.
  • Ad agencies are structured with intermediary job titles (Assistant Planner > Planner > Supervisor > Director) so that employees can gradually prepare for management roles. Hierarchy is an unfortunate side-effect of that model.
(more…)