Millennial CEO of Millennial Company staffed entirely by Millennials
Posted On May 31, 2016
We’ve given quite a bit of attention in past blogs to the concept of a millennial workplace. Although some millennial expectations may border on the absurd and seismic change may alienate older workers, many companies are transitioning toward a working environment that caters to a younger workforce.
But what if millennials are running the company?
Not only are millennials now the largest segment of the workforce, many are either moving into leadership roles or starting their own firms.
Hoverboards for everybody! A Keurig and a basket of granola bars in every room and a basketball goal outside the CEO’s office!
The New York Times recently looked at one such company – Mic, a New York-based website that caters to millennials and is run by a millennial, 28-year-old Chris Altcheck.
The Times described Mic’s office as having “an aggressively playful vibe, like a middle-school fraternity house.” While I’m not exactly sure what a middle-school fraternity house is – do they shotgun Dr. Pepper and give each other wedgies with Imagine Dragons blaring on the stereo? – it sounds like something a millennial might enjoy.
So does this: “Some (employees) ride hoverboards into the kitchen for the free snacks. Others wield Nerf dart guns or use a megaphone for ad hoc announcements. Dino, a white Maltese terrier owned by the lead designer, snuffles between desks.”
But Mic’s millennial paradise isn’t without its issues. Just like any other workplace with any other mix of generations in its employ, running a business has its challenges. Altcheck’s challenges just have a decidedly millennial bent.
There is an employee who tells Altcheck he has to go to a funeral, only to build a treehouse instead – and blog about it. When it was pointed out to him that his business honored Jewish holidays and not Muslim ones, Altcheck’s admission that this was a valid point was not enough for another employee, who demanded an apology.
“I was a little taken aback by the tone,” Altcheck admitted to the Times. “You have to control your temper.”
Mic also has significant competition. It reaches far fewer readers than competitors like BuzzFeed, and seeks to use social media to cut into that gap. In an increasingly crowded field, Mic has its work cut out in attempting to grow its audience.
Upward mobility is just as important to millennials as it was to earlier generations. Sonoma Leadership notes a 2016 Deloitte University Press study that showed a correlation between millennials’ perception of the potential for advancement and their willingness to stay with the company beyond a few years.
What they’re likely to find when they get on that leadership track, however, is that many of the same challenges their forebears faced still await – motivating employees, putting out fires, realizing a company’s potential and maximizing its profits. A Nerf dart gun firefight may relieve some of that stress, but it won’t eliminate it.