The 5 Insurance Products Most Millennials Need

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Insurance often steps in when life throws those costly curve balls and saves the day. These unfortunate events include things like car accidents, home break-ins, vet bills, even illness or injury. 

That said, millennials tend to have different insurance needs from preceding generations. For example, property insurance is often irrelevant, as the housing market of today makes homeownership less likely on the average middle-class wage. 

Insurance for MillennialsWith this, these are some of the most common insurance policies amongst millennials. 

Auto Insurance

Auto insurance is crucial for all drivers; this policy provides financial protection in instances of road accidents, vehicle repairs and even offers beneficial services like roadside assistance. 

While auto insurance is essential, it’s important to purchase insurance from a reliable insurer. Reading insurer reviews is a great way to uncover policy details; evaluating Allstate auto insurance reviews can help you decide.

Renters Insurance

With the astronomical increase in housing costs, fewer millennials can purchase homes at the same age that their parents did. This leaves a lot more renters out there. Property insurance might not be relevant to the average millennial, although renters insurance is. 

Renters insurance is a lot like property insurance, although it does not provide cover for the structure of the home, as this is the landlord’s responsibility. However, this insurance does provide cover for personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical payments that cover injuries sustained by others in your home. 

Pet Insurance

Due to the astronomical increase in housing costs and costs of living worldwide over the past few decades, more millennials are deciding not to have children and adopting pets instead. 

Pet insurance is now an increasingly popular insurance product with the new rise in pet ownership. This type of cover will provide financial protection for vet bills and other pet ownership costs. 

Life Insurance

Life insurance is a staple insurance product for everyone, even young working professionals. Because it’s impossible to predict your death accurately, it’s best to purchase this insurance product. 

You can rest assured your funeral costs will be covered with life insurance while a lump sum is paid out to your designated beneficiaries. In addition, this payout can help cover debts like mortgage loans and personal loans in the event of your untimely demise; this will spare your loved ones the burden of managing your debts after you’re gone. 

Disability Insurance

Disability cover is a form of income protection. With this insurance, you’ll receive policy benefits that supplement your income and cover costs that stem from a temporary or long-term physical disability or illness. 

Just like you cannot predict your death, you also can’t predict whether an injury or illness will render you unable to earn an income. So, it’s easy to understand why disability insurance is an essential policy. 

There are several more insurance products out there that can provide peace of mind and help you maintain financial stability. Instead of leaving yourself vulnerable to unpredictable costs and financial misfortunes, it’s best to determine your insurance coverage needs and purchase a relevant cover with a reliable insurance company. 


The Gig Economy Isn’t Just for Millennials and Other Trends That Will Impact Society in 2020

Birnbach Communications Predicts 2020 Will Bring Continued Fragmentation, Mistrust of Mass Media in “Age of Anxiety”


Norman Birnbach, President, Birnbach Communications 

There’s a change going on, and while it’s driven by technology, some of the trends in 2020 will not be determined by a specific gadget. Here are 10 trends that we believe the media will cover this year, and have nothing to do with politics. As an agency, we focus on technology, and last month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) focused on specific cool, innovative and off-beat technology that we may (or may not) want or need. But we feel that it’s important to take a 10,000-foot perspective on the implications of the technology: not just what a particular device does but how it changes what we do and how we live and work. 

We think the following trends will be the focus of think pieces in the media in 2020: 

  1. The Gig Economy isn’t just for millennials. Older Americans are entering the gig economy driving for Uber or Lyft, working in food service and retail as well as personal care/health aides. Americans in their 50’s or older are taking gigs either to augment their retirement or because they can’t find steadier work after getting laid off from a corporate job. Since older Americans tend to vote more, we think there could be more attention paid to the gig economy, specially its low wages and no benefits.
  1. Consumer spending patterns are shifting. It’s usually referred to as the sharing economy for such things as AirBnB to stay in someone’s place instead of a hotel; Citi Bikes or electric scooters to get around, or any number of sites that rent the latest fashion trends. But it’s really a non-ownership economy or a convenience economy. People are forgoing ownership for flexibility, choice and convenience – just as businesses have been opting for cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) to provide similar benefits. This part of the economy is expected to grow to $335 billion in 2025, up from $15 billion in 2014, according to Forbes. That doesn’t include convenience services that are poised to deliver more items (not just take-out orders), faster via drones or other automated technology. Even how consumers manage their spending — via fintech services instead of banks — is changing, and companies need to figure out how to rethink their offerings.
  1. The sharing economy will become more expensive. Making a profit will be more important for some sectors in 2020 than growth, which is often fueled by massive debt. The need to prove their value prop works and is sustainable will drive some sharing-economy companies to increase fees or to abruptly stop operations, abandoning their customers. WeWork, Uber, Slack and other once high-flying companies with billion-dollar valuations hit a hard patch that may affect other startups this year. Expect more attention to gross margins (a measure of profitability), detailed financial models for startups looking to raise money, and a focus on discipline. High-flyers will need to adjust, and that will have an impact on their growth as they raise prices. For example, Consumers who rely on food delivery services like GrubHub and DoorDash may pay more since restaurants are complaining those services cut into their profit margins. Or some of those services will shut down because they’re not profitable.
  1. Streaming — but not owning — content increasingly means you might be able to access the version you want. Streaming content has its benefits but consumers will become increasingly aware of the risks, which include ongoing monthly costs that will increase; content that disappears when a streaming service loses its rights even if you were in the middle of the program); and services that might disappear or abruptly shut down. Also, streaming services are Internet dependent so if you lose Internet access, you lose access to content and services. And, if there are multiple versions of a movie or a song, you may find that you can watch or listen to the one version the service offers —  such as Greedo shooting first in the newest version of “Star Wars: A New Hope,” available on Disney+, rather than earlier versions in which Han shot first. The other risk is that the service may change dramatically, depending on profitability, market conditions, and changes in senior management.) We think these issues may get written about more in 2020.
  1. Going cashless will also affect consumer spending. The push to a cashless economy is increasing, and will have at least two effects: Tipping will increase because many of the payment windows offer an easy selection of different percentages for tipping the person delivering the service or good. They tilt the screen and you have to make a choice even if the vendor is handing you a can of soda. (This isn’t the case if you pay in cash.) An increasingly cashless society will make it much more difficult for the poor, who may be unbanked (as the banking industry calls it) and can’t get a credit or debit cards.
  1. Robots won’t take over in 2020 but will be more commonplace. While the market for consumer robots like vacuum cleaners will be strong, we feel that real growth in 2020 will be fueled by business purchases. We’re already seeing a slow-moving robot in a local supermarket (though we’re not entirely sure what it’s doing there.) We do expect to see growth especially in 2021 in robotics-related jobs such as data labelers (the people who label things so robots can identify them), AI scientists, even robot managers who make sure robots are working effectively.
  1. The age of plant-based “meats” has gone mainstream. Now that a number of fast food chains offer plant-based meats, it’s time to acknowledge this trend as mainstream. We expect additional growth of materials grown in the lab, replacing faux fur, leather, cotton using recycled plastics. That said, we don’t expect a lot of coverage of plant-based foods – except in terms of whether they’re actually better for you and for the planet – about this since newspapers have already done comparisons of the different brands of plant-based hamburgers.
  1. Too many podcasts eventually will overwhelm listeners. There are already too many podcasts that it’s difficult to listen to everything and still get your work done (whatever that may be). Or: there are not enough errands in a day when you can listen and catch up to all the podcasts you’ve been told you must listen to. Probably by 2021, we will have reached podcast saturation and there will be a backlash, both from advertisers and from listeners so that the proliferation of new podcasts will slow down, if not actually decrease. We’re not saying we want that to happen. We just don’t have enough time to listen to anything more.
  1. The expectations of well-design products will include connectivity and voice control. This won’t happen all at once in 2020 but consumers will soon expect everything to be connected. American consumer will want to control devices using their voice, either indirectly through virtual assistants or directly to the device, whether it’s our thermostats, lights, security system or what’s cooking in the toaster oven. You might even be able to find your missing keys or AirPods just by voice.
  1. The trade-off between convenience and data collection will get recognition. There may be two problems about which everyone can agree: 1) The torment of robocalls and 2) the problem of data collection that means everything we do — whether online or offline — is being monitored by someone, even if we don’t know by whom or what they are doing (or intend to do) with our data. Surveys have found that Americans don’t think the trade-off for convenience is always beneficial — especially since they feel a lack of control over their data, and that is likely to generate coverage, especially after specific data breaches, which will continue to generate media attention when (not if) they happen. 

These trends are worth evaluating because they are part of the larger world that consumer and business media are likely to examine in 2020. Understanding how your organization may be affected by these trends may help stay relevant, and score some positive media coverage.

Norman BirnbachAbout the Author: Norman Birnbach is the president of Birnbach Communications,, a Boston-based PR and social media agency that has been issuing annual predictions for nearly two decades. His blog, PR BackTalk, provides insights and attitude about PR, journalism and traditional and social media.


Understanding the Evolution of Organizational Communication as Millennials Become Leaders

McKenzie Brower, Media Relations Specialist, DiversityInc Best Practices

Millennials, commonly defined as the generation born between 1981 and 1997, are often mischaracterized and highly misunderstood by their predecessors. You have probably heard the stereotypes: “Lazy,” “unreliable,” “egotistical,” “unmotivated.” On the whole, these judgments are often overblown and have proven untrue time and again in the modern workplace. An entire generation, one that currently consists of over 75 million people, cannot be generalized by such terms, and it is not uncommon for older generations to be wary of the paths later generations take.

Whether you like “them” or not, however, the Millennial generation is here to stay, especially in the workforce. Their rise into leadership positions will come with many benefits and changes in management style, particularly when it comes to communication. This guide presents an overview of where and how you can expect to see evolution in the workplace as the Millennial generation ages.

1. They prefer digital communication.

This characterization should not be surprising, considering Millennials are well-known as being “digital natives” in fairly constant contact with social media, instant messaging, and e-mail. As more Millennials assume leadership positions, the importance of digital communication in business organizations is certain to grow (more than it already has). Millennial leaders will be more comfortable trying out and adopting new communication technologies, such as instant messaging apps that are geared towards business teams. On the other hand, Millennials also highly value face-to-face communication, so no one should be concerned that personal interaction is going away anytime soon.

2. They understand the importance of personal relationships with customers.

This means Millennial leaders are more likely to make face-to-face interaction and instant messaging core components of their customer service programs. The growing importance of social media to businesses means more customer interaction will take place through social media instant messaging (and on organizational webpages). This is highly beneficial to businesses, because more customers want to feel like they have a personal and easily accessible connection with their favorite companies. Millennial leaders are set to devote more resources to growing their social media presence and creating opportunities for instant channels of conversation with customers and clients.

3. They value diversity and inclusion.

More than any generation before them, Millennials highly value diversity. They are more likely to speak up if they witness injustice happening in the workplace and want to connect with people of different cultures, races, and genders. This means that Millennial leaders are more likely to have diverse teams, and let upper management know if they feel a company’s policy is unfair to any demographic, especially those in traditionally vulnerable, underrepresented populations. This is beneficial to business because it will bring new ideas from multiple intersections of people to the forefront and foster room for unique innovation. With an increasingly globalized society, Millennial leaders will reach out internationally to obtain talent and its resulting broad diversity of ideas. Beyond diversity, Millennial leaders emphasize inclusion initiatives. To Millennials, an inclusive workplace is one in which a group of colleagues comes together to collaborate without attention to job titles or years of experience; everyone is encouraged to comfortably and safely contribute their voice and ideas without restraint or fear of judgment.

4. They prioritize a work-life balance.

Millennials don’t believe in the need to stay chained to the same desk day-in and day-out. They place intrinsic value on living a fulfilling life and want to spend more of it out of the office while remaining productive. Technology is fueling this revolution, especially the development of cloud technology, which allows employees to access their files and data from anywhere. Digital communication as a whole lends itself well to allowing employees to work remotely and remain in contact with the rest of their team from anywhere. Millennials also understand the overhead cost savings that can be had if they allow their employees to work from home some of the time.

5. They use multiple channels of communication.

Millennials understand that when it comes to communication, one size often doesn’t fit all. Because of this, they are much more likely to utilize many different communication methods to interact with their employees, colleagues, and customers. As long as results are up to standard and goals are met, Millennial leaders will be open to different communication styles and work arrangements. This will generally make the workplace more flexible and inviting to people who prefer communicating in different ways than what has been the more traditional, restrictive norm.

6. They are brief, to-the-point.

Millennials don’t like to mince words. They don’t see much point in holding a long, boring, and unproductive meeting, because they don’t like to waste time in efforts that won’t lead to results. This can make them very effective leaders, because they are not inclined to waste their own or anyone else’s time. This is another reason why they are fond of multiple communication methods. Millennial leaders will use whatever method is fastest and most effective for the occasion, whether face-to-face, instant messaging, or e-mail, to get the job done.

7. They prefer collaborative efforts.

The importance of collaboration for Millennials cannot be overstated. Their appreciation for it is evident in popular, new collaborative industries such as crowdfunding, ridesharing, and crowdsourcing. To them, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This means they are more likely to take everyone’s viewpoints into account and seek out viewpoints from a diverse group of people. These viewpoints are more conducive to growing innovative ideas from a variety of perspectives, which prepares organizations to be trailblazers for future developments, and Millennials stand ready to harness this energy.

The Millennial generation is on track to change the workforce forever. This is especially true in communication, where Millennial leaders are already starting to utilize more technology, inclusion, and flexibility than ever promoted in the traditional workplace. These changes and value shifts have already permeated most aspects of everyday society.

About the Author: McKenzie Brower is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for DiversityInc Best Practices. She writes for an array of human resources and training blogs. A millennial herself, she is a strong supporter of social justice causes and encourages others to have an active voice in promoting equal treatment and opportunity for all.

Report: Millennials Trust Social Media Influencers Less

CommPRO Editorial Team

Perhaps more than any other industry, fashion retail has been upended by social media and the rise of digital influencers. Millennials, in particular, are increasingly reliant on social media and the influencers who dominate them to curate trends, new brands, and the styles they wear.

Social shopping and influencer marketing platform, Dealspotr conducts an annual survey of Millennial shoppers to better understand the shifting dynamics between consumers, lifestyle influencers and retailers in today’s digital economy.

This year’s edition, Dealspotr’s Millennial Fashion Shopping Study, underscores some surprising shifts in Millennials’ perceptions of social media influencers. Notably, in 2017, Millennials are starting to trust influencers less than they used to. Millennials are also becoming more sophisticated in how they evaluate influencers – a previously important indicator of trust, an influencer’s number of followers, is now largely ignored by this demographic. At the same time, Millennials are now more reliant than ever on lifestyle influencers for fashion ideas and inspiration, creating a critical yet challenging landscape for fashion brands to navigate.

“Millennials now trust social media influencers more than their friends and family for fashion picks and recommendations,” says Michael Quoc, founder and CEO of Dealspotr. “However, as the influencer economy matures, brands must be hyper-aware of shifting perceptions and increasing skepticism towards online influencers when crafting an influencer marketing strategy.”

Report Highlights:

  • Social media influencers are now the #1 factor driving fashion shopping decisions among female Millennials (41% selected as their primary influence). Lifestyle influencers now have greater impact than more traditional factors such as friends and family (37%), TV / magazines / advertisements (20%) and celebrities (19%).
  • At the same time, 52% of Millennials say they trust social media influencers less these days.
  • Millennials no longer judge influencers by their number of followers. Only 7% primarily care about an influencer’s number of followers, far outweighed by the influencer’s sense of style (60%).
  • Millennials are extremely price conscious when it comes to fashion brands. 70% of Millennials say price and value are the most important attributes of a fashion brand, above the brand’s style at 43%.
  • 36% of Millennials say the availability of a discount code is their primary factor determining whether they would try purchasing from a new or unfamiliar fashion brand.
  • 65% of Millennials primarily make fashion purchases in-store, compared to 41% who primarily buy online.
    Dealspotr surveyed 500 Millennial female consumers in the United States between the ages of 18 to 34, screening for those who follow social media influencers online.

To download the full report, click here.


Study Reveals That Financial Worry is More Pronounced Among Millennials Than Any Other Generation Editorial Staff

E*TRADE Financial has announced results from their most recent study, which showed the frustration many Millennials feel as they build their financial foundation.

Top insights include:

  • “Millennials arguably have not had the easiest time getting their financial footing—many came into the workforce during a weak job market and may be straddled with high levels of student debt,” said Mike Loewengart, VP, Investment Strategy at E*TRADE Financial. “Compounding these obstacles is the influence of social media, which seems to be amplifying anxiety. Exaggerated images of luxury spending and status often displayed on social sites run counter to the principles of sound wealth building. One would be hard-pressed to find a social media star promoting the merits of getting their employer’s 401(k) match, the purpose of dollar cost averaging, or the advantages of enrolling in an automated investing plan. But these types of disciplined actions are exactly what is needed to help create a nest egg.”

Millenials just aren’t satisfied financially. Despite their current income and savings, more than two thirds (69 percent) of Millennials feel they could be doing better.

It’s affecting their relationships: More than half (53 percent) of Millennials feel that worrying about finances puts a strain on their relationships with friends and family.

And their health: Half (50 percent) of Millennials believe worrying about finances negatively affects their well-being.

Social media and TV may be making it worse. Almost three out of five Millennials (59 percent) report that images of exaggerated wealth on social media and television make them feel less successful.

Mr. Loewengart offered a few steps young investors may consider as they build their financial foundation:

  • Define your goals. Ask yourself, what do you want to save for? How comfortable are you with risk? When do you need the money? This will all help define your investing approach.
  • Try an investing tool. Today there are a great variety of digital tools and resources to help plan for some of life’s biggest financial decisions, like buying a house or saving for retirement.
  • Contribute consistently. One of the biggest factors to reaching your goals—hands down—is being disciplined about contributions. Try to avoid emotional investing pitfalls—like timing the market—by focusing on the long term and sticking to your plan. And the earlier investors start saving, the better, as time and compound interest can help your portfolio grow exponentially.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize. Building and maintaining a well-diversified, risk-appropriate portfolio for the long term is one of the most important ways to stay on track to meeting your goals.

Millennials Are Comfortable with Retailers Tracking Their Purchasing and Browsing Behaviors Editorial Staff

Many retail companies have begun to shift their omnichannel marketing efforts to focus heavily on online shoppers, especially for younger tech-savvy millennials. But according to a new report from SmarterHQ 50% of millennials actually prefer shopping in-store.  This means some retailers could be missing the mark in engaging this 80 million strong demographic.

“While we’re seeing much more mobile traffic than we ever have in previous years, especially with the younger buyer, our survey found that brick-and-mortar is alive and well with millennials, and the need for a strong, well-executed and cohesive omnichannel presence beyond online is key when capturing millennial spend,” said Michael Osborne, CEO of SmarterHQ. “Another finding that stood out was that while security may be a concern with older shoppers, 70% of millennials are actually comfortable with retailers tracking their purchasing and browsing behaviors, if it means they’ll receive more relevant communications. This further emphasizes the need for strategic personalization, in an industry still plagued by mass marketing techniques.”

Additional survey findings retail executives and marketers should keep in mind:

Millennials are distracted: 95% of this demographic are doing other things while shopping, including working, watching TV, or talking to friends. Real-time, personalized communications can break through the distractions.

Don’t bombard millennials with marketing tactics: 74% of millennials said they are frustrated with too many marketing communications, and the majority prefer 1-3 marketing emails per month. Quality not quantity – with relevant content – will make those emails truly count.

Brand loyalty is limited: Only 6.5% of millennials respondents considered themselves brand loyal, however, those who prefer personalized communications have a 28% higher brand loyalty than those who do not.

Personalized emails trump batch and blast: 70% of millennials are frustrated by brands sending irrelevant emails, and prefer to receive personalized emails offering certain info like sale notifications for previously carted items, sale notifications for previously browsed items or categories, and recommended products based on their interests.

To review all of the survey findings and additional tips that retail marketers should know to help create effective personalized marketing campaigns, you can download the report here.

Andrew Faas on a Boomer’s Guide To Millennials: I is for Inclusive

Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles on the A-B C’s of Leadership, outlining the characteristics for effective leadership.

Andrew Faas on a Boomer’s Guide To Millennials: H is for HumbleAndrew Faas, Author and Activist

Astute observers will notice that where you once saw the word “diversity” being used in the business world, you now see “inclusion”—but being inclusive is so much more than ditching an overused word for a fresh synonym. I think Jean Vanier captured the essence of inclusion when he wrote, “Those who are weak have great difficulty finding their place in our society. The image of the ideal human as powerful and capable disenfranchises, the old, the sick, the less-abled. For me society must, by definition, be inclusive of the needs and gifts of all of its members. How can we lay claim to making an open and friendly society where human rights are respected and fostered when, by the values we teach and foster, we systematically exclude segments of our population? When we do include them, they add richly to our lives and add immensely to our world.”

This enrichment extends to the corporate world as well. Consider this evidence:

This Forbes study shows how diversity and inclusion fosters innovation in a workforce. McKinsey and Co. showed how top-performing companies have the most diverse top teams. A study of Fortune 1000 companies showed that businesses with women at the helm earned investors a 340 percent return. And a study by Harvard Business Review shows that “diversity unlocks innovation and drives market growth.”

In other words, being inclusive is good for business.

I learned the art of inclusion early on. A few years ago at a talk I gave at a university a cocky student stood up and challenged, “Well it’s pretty easy for you to say considering you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth.”

My immediate reaction was to verbally smack him, but then I thought — he’s right, and responded by acknowledging it with a qualifier, indicating that I grew up with many silver spoons; but, they were not material in nature, but rather a community of people who instilled in me values and beliefs, and the characteristics and attributes necessary to become successful in life as a citizen, a family member, a worker, a leader, and a role model.

Much of what was instilled and learned happened in my hometown of Dresden, Ontario. For me, Dresden was a magical place to live, learn, work, worship and play. There I developed a wonderful sense of community and belonging.

When my family emigrated from The Netherlands over a half century ago, we were inclusively embraced by the community and integrated into its social fabric. Although we were immigrants, we were not outsiders. We became equal citizens.

Dresden is where I learned that, like individuals, no community is perfect; and that the real test of character is perfecting making right what was wrong. In Canada, when we arrived, there was still a racial divide. In 1956, Dresden native Hugh Burnett became an unsung national hero by forcing the government to, for the first time in Canada, declare racial equality to be a civil right.

I remember well how Dresden responded, and evolved over time, perfecting making right what was wrong.

My dad, Casper, of whom my brothers and I are so proud, played a part in this by welcoming black clientele when he opened his barbershop after working for a few years at Ford’s barbershop where blacks were not welcome. Dresden, at the time, had five barbershops; so there was a fair bit of competition. Because of this decision, the barbershop thrived – not just because he had black clientele, but more importantly, the white clientele switched to show their support of this stance. In the 1960s, because of the Beatles, it was pretty slim pickings for barbers. Most of the young men (including me and my four brothers) in town let their hair grow down to the shoulders. Dad’s shop survived when the others failed. Inclusion made it possible.

True democracies are inclusive. Sadly, there seems to be fewer Dresdens today. Now we are witnessing an erosion of democracy, where individuals and groups of individuals are being denied the fundamental right of inclusiveness. Populist politicians, extreme fundamentalists, the established elite, misinformed protectionists, and self-righteous isolationists are on a systemic campaign to drive out those who don’t conform to their ideal.

Much of the right wing elite in business and politics have, for a variety of reasons, disregarded the whole notion of diversity and inclusion. It’s a shame because examples like my dad’s barbershop are still true. I still consider one of the greatest achievements of my career providing access to jobs for youth with intellectual disabilities. It was early in my career when I was an executive at Loblaw, Canada’s largest retailer. Loblaw hired many students part time and we asked them to mentor the intellectually challenged young people to help them succeed. The dividends were enormous. The students learned how to work with and support others who were different from themselves and the program had an enormous positive customer impact. The program lives on today and many of those students found careers at Loblaw or used it as a springboard for other opportunities. And their mentees had careers that allowed them to be self-sufficient.

Examples like Loblaw and Costco where differences are embraced and add to the success of the company are too few and far between. In spite of the billions spent on diversity programs and sensitivity training over the last two decades, inclusion has barely improved, and, some can legitimately argue, has gotten worse. My assessment of these programs is they amount to little more than a pile of human resource gobbledygook and exercises in appropriate linguistics and political correctness. In far too many companies these programs are just there to provide legal cover.

Consider a 2017 Deloitte poll that reported, “Seventy-two percent of working Americans surveyed would or may consider leaving an organization for one they think is more inclusive.” The survey also found that 30 percent of millennials said they have already left a job for one with a more inclusive culture. Clearly diversity programs aren’t getting the job done. True inclusion requires more than sensitivity, it requires a systemic change where self-realization and the Ethic of Reciprocity become guiding principles of the company. This can also help forestall another major obstacle to inclusion—the bully boss.

Bully bosses are infamous for excluding those who offer different perspectives and challenge their ideas. Whistleblowers are particularly at risk of being excluded to the point of being eliminated.

In Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, Karen Armstrong observed: “We can either emphasize those aspects of our traditions, religious or secular, that speak of hatred, exclusion, and suspicion or work with those that stress the interdependence and equality of all human beings. The choice is yours.”

So the question becomes—where to begin? To create an inclusive culture, individuals need to reflect on how inclusive they are and why they include or exclude others from their universe.

Everyone has conscious and unconscious biases. My challenge to everyone is to do an honest assessment on what your conscious and unconscious biases are. Here’s what I discovered when I assessed mine:

My conscious biases go against:

Those who do not practice the Ethic of Reciprocity
Chronic liars
Sanctimonious hypocrites
Those who abuse others
My conscious biases favor:

The vulnerable and defenseless
Those who play by the rules
Those who challenge the status quo
The intellectually honest
My unconscious biases have gone against:

Those who are not able to effectively communicate
Those who do not assert themselves
Those who champion the nebulous and abstract
My unconscious biases have favored:

Those who have presence
Those who appear confident
Those who appear authentic

In this assessment I have discovered that I was in many instances wrong about those I went against and those I favored. Thanks to this process, my unconscious biases have either been challenged or have become my conscious biases. This is just the first step to becoming more inclusive. As I continue to bring more inclusion into my life, I will keep in mind George Washington Carver’s most compelling argument for inclusiveness:

“How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”

About the Author: Andrew Faas is an author, activist, revolutionist, philanthropist and management advisor promoting psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces. Before becoming a philanthropist, he led some of Canada’s largest corporations for over three decades as a senior executive. He founded the Faas Foundation, which supports non-profit organizations concerned with workplace well-being and other personal health and research endeavors. Currently he is partnering with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on a groundbreaking initiative, Emotion Revolution in the Workplace, which will revolutionize the way organizations operate, leveraging the power of emotional intelligence; and Mental Health America, to help reduce unnecessary stress factors at work and eliminate stigma around a condition that affects one in five adults. His latest book “From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire,” reveals deep-seated dangers of bullying to everyone who works pinpointing the identifying characteristics of bullies and outlining how bullying undermines corporate profitability and value and how CEOs and boards can remedy it.

Andrew Faas on a Boomer’s Guide To Millennials: H is for Humble

Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a series of articles on the A-B C’s of Leadership, outlining the characteristics for effective leadership.

Andrew Faas on a Boomer’s Guide To Millennials: H is for HumbleAndrew Faas, Author and Activist

St. Augustine wrote: “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”

Today we live in a world where narcissistic, self-serving, egotistical autocrats have taken control of almost every aspect of society. We have allowed this to happen and if left unchecked, these aspiring dictators will destroy Western democracy as we know it. To understand the dangers, reflect on what occurred in the early 1930s in Germany and the horrible consequences of what followed.

The business world plays a role in this cult of ego. The workplace has become a breeding ground for narcissistic leadership and, despite billions of dollars spent on diversity, harassment, motivation, sensitivity, mindfulness and other human resource programs, there has been precious little positive impact.

In “Why do CEOs fail, and what can we do about it?” in Psychology Today, Ray Williams reported that, “According to the Harvard Business Review, two out of four new CEOs fail in their first 18 months on the job. It appears that the major reason for the failure has nothing to do with competence, or knowledge, or experience, but rather with hubris and ego and a leadership style out of touch with modern times.”

This was never truer than with the bully boss. When we review the downfall of the many organizations over the last couple of decades, the bully boss was the most common culprit. I assert that the majority of North American workers work for a bully boss, which I discuss in my recent book From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization out of the Line of Fire.

There’s a reason why bullies seem to reign supreme. After more than 40 years as a senior executive in the corporate world, and after conducting research for my books, articles and blogs on workplace dynamics, I have found that people who make decisions on leadership hires rarely factor humility as a prerequisite characteristic. In fact, many perversely consider humility as a weakness of character, in spite of having made previous hiring decisions that turned out badly because of the candidate’s ego and hubris.

Some of the blame lays on America’s top business schools, where the opposite of humility is engrained in the curriculum. In his book, The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite, Duff McDonald outlines how Harvard Business School fell under the influence of former University of Rochester Professor Michael Janson in the 1980s. Janson wrote a paper that laid the groundwork for a seismic shift in philosophy advancing the economic theory that shareholders and must always be first and insisting that institutional investors and Wall Streeters be released from “the obligation of considering anything but their own narrow wants and needs.” I assert that this shift in philosophy legitimized the culture of power, control, greed and corruption at the expense of employees, consumers, communities and entire countries.

Contrary to what they teach at Harvard Business School, some of our greatest leaders were humble. The myth that humility is just about being nice and kind is debunked when we consider these examples.

Moses was considered the greatest biblical prophet, and Numbers 12:3 of the Bible painted a picture of man not interested in dominating others: “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth.”

Take the example of President Abraham Lincoln. Dr. Russell Razzaque wrote in Psychology Today, “Abraham Lincoln is regarded by many as the virtual personification of emotional intelligence. Like few others in the corridors of history, Lincoln’s ability to regulate his emotions was the key to an emotional intelligence that produced extraordinary levels of humility.”

In her book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, Doris Kearns Goodwin captures how Lincoln gained the trust, respect and loyalty of his fiercest rivals by asking them to challenge him with opposing perspectives, rather than just surrounding himself with people who would tell him what he wanted to hear.

Perhaps the greatest example of humility, and lesson in leadership as well, was when Mohandes K. Gandhi said, “There goes my people. I must follow them, for I am their leader.”

A more recent example of humility and leadership is that of Theo Epstein, who recognized that he had to grow as a leader when he became president of the Chicago Cubs—once Major League Baseball’s punch line for any joke about perpetual losers. This recognition led the Cubs to their World Series win in 2016 after a 108-year hiatus.

His extraordinary feat was lauded in Fortune, where he made the top spot on the World’s Greatest Leader’s list, but what makes him truly remarkable is what he learned from his years with the Boston Red Sox. In his book, The Cubs Way, author and Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer Tom Verducci, describes it this way:

“Once he’d joined the Cubs, Epstein gave his scouts very specific marching orders. On every prospect he wanted the area scout to give three examples of how that player responded to adversity on the field and three examples of how that player responded to adversity off the field.”

In other words, Epstein realized the importance of character and wanted to build a psychologically healthy workplace. His previous approach with the Red Sox was more of an obsession with statistics, number-crunching and little-known niche talents, similar to the movie Moneyball, but it wasn’t sustainable. By the end of his tenure the team was falling apart. Through this he realized no amount of data could account for character and chemistry.

Describing this to Verducci, Epstein explained “If we can’t find the next technological breakthrough, well maybe we can be better than anyone else with how we treat our players and how we connect with players and the relationships we develop and how we put them in positions to succeed.”

Moses, Lincoln, Gandhi and Epstein practiced what someone once wrote: “True humility is staying teachable regardless of how much you already know.” Let us all become their students.


About the Author: Andrew Faas is an author, activist, revolutionist, philanthropist and management advisor promoting psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces. Before becoming a philanthropist, he led some of Canada’s largest corporations for over three decades as a senior executive. He founded the Faas Foundation, which supports non-profit organizations concerned with workplace well-being and other personal health and research endeavors. Currently he is partnering with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on a groundbreaking initiative, Emotion Revolution in the Workplace, which will revolutionize the way organizations operate, leveraging the power of emotional intelligence; and Mental Health America, to help reduce unnecessary stress factors at work and eliminate stigma around a condition that affects one in five adults. His latest book “From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire,” reveals deep-seated dangers of bullying to everyone who works pinpointing the identifying characteristics of bullies and outlining how bullying undermines corporate profitability and value and how CEOs and boards can remedy it.

Andrew Faas on a Boomer’s Guide To Millennials: F is for Fair

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth in a series of articles on the A-B C’s of Leadership, outlining the characteristics for effective leadership.

Andrew Faas - "A Boomer's Guide to Millennials: The ABCs of Leadership - F is for FairAndrew Faas

Abraham Lincoln wrote “These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as is in my power, they, and all others, shall have.

Today we live in a world where fairness alludes us. To a large extent it is because we have become too self-centered and have forgotten what many of us learned in kindergarten – the ethic of reciprocity, the golden rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Nowhere is this most perceptible than amongst the leadership within toxic workplaces.

If one is not fair in their dealings with others they are poor leaders – period. However if you are fair, despite other character flaws, you garner respect and trust of others and this can be your most significant and rewarding legacy. In the research I conducted for my books, ‘The Bully’s Trap’ and ‘From Bully to Bull’s Eye – Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire’, I found that the number one stress factor at work is unfairness, particularly on how employees are assessed, treated and dealt with.

This was confirmed in a survey conducted in 2016 by Mental Health America and sponsored by the Faas Foundation. With over seventeen thousand respondents the survey revealed the following about workplace health:

  • Only 17 percent feel that their employer often or always appropriately deals with co – workers who are not doing their jobs,
  • Only 27 percent feel that employees are often or always held accountable for their work regardless of their position in the organization,
  • Seventy seven percent of feel that people are being unfairly recognized while others with better experience or skills don’t get recognized.
  • Less than 30 percent feel their organization has realistic expectations about their workload, and
  • Only 36 percent feel that their supervisor often or always supports them if things go wrong.

Given these negative perceptions of staff management, it is not surprising that 69 percent of respondents admitted to speaking poorly about their organization to others!!!!!

Over the last two decades , equity and harassment programs and training has become a multi-billion dollar industry with precious little to show for it. The needle has barely moved a notch. Performance management systems, dreaded by both the manager and the subordinate, are exercises conducted once or twice and in most cases are used by employers to set the employee up for failure. They do not set in place procedures to motivate, develop and positively correct performance and or attitudes. If you hear that you are going to be put on a “performance review” – the ensuing thought is “I am toast!”

Andrew Faas on a Boomer’s Guide To Millennials- F is for FairMy research has shown that in toxic work environments, the human resources are usually part of the problem vs part of the solution.

Executives place proportionately more focus and attention on the shareholder than the other stakeholders. Duff McDonald in his book ‘The Golden Passport’ exposes the shift in philosophy at Harvard Business School, where the corporation only exists to create shareholder value and “papers and teachings released CEO’s institutional investors and Wall Streeters from the obligation of considering anything but their own narrow wants and needs.

I attribute my career successes to the balances relationships I have developed with all stakeholders, be they customers, investors, board directors, employees at all levels, vendors and the communities in which we operated. These relationships were based on a value exchange model. THE COVENANT. To illustrate, the employee/employer value exchange works this way:

First – the employer establishes a detailed list of expectations they have of the employee.

Second – the expectation list is tested for reasonableness.

Third – as part of the reasonableness test employees as asked to develop a detailed list of expectations they have of the employer to be able to deliver on the expectations the employer has of them.

Fourth – agreement is reached – which becomes THE COVENANT – and

Fifth – which is the most important which is to have regular and ongoing CRITICAL discussions using THE COVENANT as the framework for the discussions.

This model – INCREASES:
. Engagement
. Fulfillment
. Respect
. Trust
. Loyalty
. Innovation
. Creativity
. Freedom of expression


. Subjectivity
. Biases
. Fear
. Wrongdoing
. Surprises
. Excuses

Increasing the positives and decreasing the negatives, results in fairness, which results in higher individual and organizational performance, which results in value for all.


About the Author: ANDREW FAAS (  is an author, activist, revolutionist, philanthropist and management advisor promoting psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces. Before becoming a philanthropist, he led some of Canada’s largest corporations for over three decades as a senior executive. He founded the Faas Foundation, which supports non-profit organizations concerned with workplace well-being and other personal health and research endeavors. Currently he is partnering with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on a groundbreaking initiative, Emotion Revolution in the Workplace, which will revolutionize the way organizations operate, leveraging the power of emotional intelligence; and Mental Health America, to help reduce unnecessary stress factors at work and eliminate stigma around a condition that affects one in five adults. His latest book “From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire,” reveals deep-seated dangers of bullying to everyone who works pinpointing the identifying characteristics of bullies and outlining how bullying undermines corporate profitability and value and how CEOs and boards can remedy it. 

Reprinted with permission of the author. Originally appeared on

Which Four On-Demand Skills Do Employers Look for In Millennials?

Cindy Hawthorne, Recruitment Agent, Liberty Lending

Did you know, by some estimates, more than half the workforce will be comprised of millennials in 2020? Did you also know that landing jobs is tougher for millennials despite having access to high-speed internet and other technological advancements? A look at the recruitment field shows that some millennials looking for jobs are not ready for the job market. This begs the question: why not?

Despite differing opinions on the demand for “soft” and hard technical skills, some millennials looking for new employment opportunities lack the basic skills. Recruiters and employers argue that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get entry-level job seekers with strong and solid foundations (build on trust and soft skills) on which the other essential professional or technical skills can be developed.

A millennial reading this might raise their eyebrow wondering, ‘which skills must I have?’ Fret not, in addition to traditional skills like communication, leadership, and collaboration, you should focus on these areas:

1. Customer Service

Long gone are the days when your finance degree would land you a job instantly. Being able to learn the theory of most business and finance aspects is crucial, but the workforce and the entire entrepreneurial field requires that you know how to deal with customers, how to build and support client relationships, and the willingness to learn after graduating.

Employers emphasize that they will only hire college graduates with the willingness to learn. Work curiosity and commitment, as well as basic knowledge of how the “real world” operates are also sought after features.

2. Attention

Heard of this a lot, right? Are you attentive? The ability to focus is perceived as the new IQ by experts and it is reported to be lacking in most millennials. Despite the increase in automated systems, there has been a significant reduction in focus. Consequently, the demand for workers capable of concentrating is high.

You need to be attentive to details as well. Formatting and typing errors cost many individuals their jobs. Being attentive also translates to better time management and the capacity to prioritize at work. Employers are looking for someone who can execute deliverables from the start to completion.

3. Agility and adaptability

Technological advancements have led to rapid changes in the workplace. You have to be an expert at something by learning and applying the new knowledge and skills instantly. You will face setbacks as you transition, but you must overcome the pressure. Cope ability; having the grit to cope in an agile work environment is crucial.

4. Humility

Your employer wants an employee who will admit that they aren’t able to complete a task and ask for assistance. You shouldn’t take yourself too seriously and you should also ask for help whenever you are stuck. Don’t be a ‘know-it-all.’

If you have been turned down for job offers in the past, it could be because you lack these on-demand soft skills. Take time, re-evaluate, and learn how to hone them.

About the Author: Cindy Hawthorne is a recruitment agent at Liberty Lending.

Andrew Faas on a Boomer’s Guide To Millennials: The A-B C’s of Leadership, E is for Engaged

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of articles on the A-B C’s of Leadership, outlining the characteristics for effective leadership.

Andrew Faas

In 1963 President John F. Kennedy visited Cape Canaveral and asked employees there what their job was. Given the nature of much of the work done there (rocket science) he got a lot of technical replies. When he encountered a janitor and posed the question, the janitor replied, “Well Mr. President, I am helping to send a man to the moon and bringing him safely back to earth.” Just imagine if you and everyone you are responsible for in the workplace were similarly engaged.

I define engagement as giving fully, emotionally and actively to whatever you do and whatever you agree to do. Engagement is an essential ingredient for individual and group performance, the development of positive relationships, fulfillment and the ability to have critical discussions. For individuals, reputations are made or lost based on the level of engagement.

Engagement is perhaps the most misunderstood characteristic. I believe that engagement is driven by emotions, which in turn drive decisions that determine how engaged we become.

Lack of engagement is an ongoing problem in American business. Polling done by Gallop indicates that more than 70 percent of North American workers are not engaged and their most recent poll showed that 23 percent of the 70 percent are actively not engaged. Gallop has been conducting studies on this for a few decades and the numbers have not shifted.

My research shows that most employees either do not trust the confidentiality of surveys nor do they feel that surveys can properly convey how they feel about their job. Before engagement surveys became the vogue, attitude surveys were conducted and some human resource geniuses shifted the term from “attitude” to “engagement.” What engagement surveys have failed to do is determine how employees feel about the work they do, the relationships they have at work, and how they feel about the organization they work for. More importantly, they do not determine why employees feel the way they do and as a result employers are not hearing what they need to hear, and employees are left feeling frustrated, angry, abused and/or powerless.  All of this has a direct effect on engagement—how employees feel is usually reflected in their attitude and their attitude reflects on how engaged they are.

I attribute my success, and that of the organizations I was responsible for, to employees working to their full potential, including creativity and innovation. I also know that the employees I was responsible for attribute their success to our mutual ability to leverage the power of emotional intelligence. Understanding how people feel and factoring this in all human interactions was the cornerstone of the value exchanges we developed with all of our stakeholders. Key to our success was regular and ongoing critical discussions to ensure expectations we had of each other were being met, and if not, being able to positively address any barriers. This model reduced ambiguity and subjectivity in setting expectations, reduced excuses and surprises on achievement, and increased individual and organizational performance and fulfillment for all. This value-exchange model eliminated the need for engagement surveys because we knew, in real time, how people felt and as a result how engaged they were.

Given that the development and training on diversity, harassment, discrimination, performance management and motivation has become a multibillion-dollar industry, why are the levels of employee engagement so low?

In interviewing more than 500 people and working with numerous organizations for my book on creating psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces, From Bully to Bull’s Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire, here is what I heard, and can now assert are the six primary reasons employees are disengaged:

  1. Trust and Respect: For a variety of reasons employees do not fully trust their boss and by extension the organization.
  2. Performance Management:Employees feel that expectations and assessments are ambiguous, subjective and unfair.
  3. Culture:Abuse, bigotry, coercion, discrimination, discrediting, exportation, extortion, harassment, intimidation and threats are applied.
  4. Loyalty: While employers expect employees to be loyal to them and the organization, employees don’t feel loyalty is reciprocated.
  5. Relevancy and Alignment:Employees are unable to define the overriding purpose of the organization and how they contribute to this. (See the janitor’s reply to President Kennedy).
  6. Boredom: Ahigh proportion of time is spent on non-value added activities where process is a substitute for purpose. Also many feel they are overqualified for the work they do.

Employers should take note of these reasons, and assess whether their employees have similar feelings. Employees must also play a role in reducing, and ideally eliminating, the reasons they are not engaged. I offer the following advice:

  1. Don’t fall into the victim trap. This happens when employees feel that what they experience is just the way it is and there is nothing that they can do to change it. When this happens apathy sets in and becomes resentment, which leads to disengagement and almost always negatively impacts performance. You must realize when you fall into this trap you can legitimately be assessed as having a bad attitude or being a disgruntled employee. This is perhaps the most career-limiting move you will make and it will follow you wherever life takes you.
  2. Become a change agent. Understand the core reasons for your discontent and look for ways to influence a change. I have found the best way to get at this is to engage coworkers to validate your concerns and then to strategize on what changes need to be made and how to make them.
  3. Become a revolutionist. Where the core reason for your discontent is behavior or requests that are unethical and/or illegal in nature, become and agent and right what is wrong. This also applies if you find yourself in a toxic environment. As a change agent, engage others. I have found that there is nothing more powerful than when employees become resisters, defenders and protectors in a positive way for the right reasons.
  4. Focus on the positives. Even in the worst environments there are usually some positives such as the people you work with, your customers and/or aspects of the job you like. Focusing on the positive will help you cope with what causes your discontent and will put you in a more objective place when you become a revolutionist.

While I have put engagement in the context of the workplace, it also applies to most of the aspects of life, your family, friends and other affiliations such as clubs and associations.


About the Author: ANDREW FAAS (  is an author, activist, revolutionist, philanthropist and management advisor promoting psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces. Before becoming a philanthropist, he led some of Canada’s largest corporations for over three decades as a senior executive. He founded the Faas Foundation, which supports non-profit organizations concerned with workplace well-being and other personal health and research endeavors. Currently he is partnering with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on a groundbreaking initiative, Emotion Revolution in the Workplace, which will revolutionize the way organizations operate, leveraging the power of emotional intelligence; and Mental Health America, to help reduce unnecessary stress factors at work and eliminate stigma around a condition that affects one in five adults. His latest book “From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire,” reveals deep-seated dangers of bullying to everyone who works pinpointing the identifying characteristics of bullies and outlining how bullying undermines corporate profitability and value and how CEOs and boards can remedy it. 

Reprinted with permission of the author. Originally appeared on


Andrew Faas on a Boomer’s Guide To Millennials: The A-B C’s of Leadership, D is for Dependability

andrew-faasAndrew Faas

This is the fourth in a series of articles on the A-B C’s of Leadership, outlining the characteristics for effective leadership.

“Only recently a prominent public man was criticized throughout the newspaper world as not having enough character to keep his promises. He had not the stamina to make good when to do so proved difficult. He hadn’t the timber, the character fiber to stand up and do the thing he knew what was right, and that he had promised to do. The world is full of these jelly-fish people who have not lime enough in their backbone to stand erect to do the right thing. They are always stepping into the spotlight in the good intention stage, and then, when the reckoning time comes, taking the line of least resistance, doing the thing which will cast the least effect on money regardless of later consequences. They think they can be as unscrupulous about breaking promises as they were about making them. But sooner or later fate makes us play fair or get out of the game.”

One hundred years after this was written by Orison Swett Marden in Making Life a Masterpiece, Boris Johnston and Nigel Farage, the main players in the Brexit debacle, got out of the game because they are “jelly fish people who have not lime enough … to stand up to do the right thing” and fix what they broke.

Someone once defined being dependable as, “it means that I do what I have said I would do when I said I would do it and in the best way I can.” I assert that this is too narrow a definition which was validated when I asked a number of people – ‘What do you consider the most important characteristic in others?’  Dependability outranked all of the others I highlight in this series of articles, by a huge margin. In probing this further I have found that, people view those who they consider dependable as also being, not only true to their word but; consistently loyal, empathetic, honest, reliable and responsible.

Sadly, when asked to identify at least five people (either people they know or know about) who they consider dependable, under the broader definition, most could not go beyond two people. This, I assert, is why I am experiencing the discontent in society today.

When I asked these same people whether others would describe them as being dependable, most responded with a qualifier – “depends on who you ask?” This question prompted many to volunteer that the different environments in which they live, work, learn play and worship influences how they behave and therefore how they are perceived. This reinforces the notion that we become products of our environment. Another major influence is having been disappointed by those they have entrusted with their confidence, causing them to be cynical, and distrustful of almost all they have to interact with or should be able to count on. Also for many, these negative experiences are used as rationalizations for their being undependable. This dynamic has normalized undependability and is giving rise to the various revolutionary forces I see playing out in almost every segment of our society.

I assert that the world would be a much better place if the golden rule – ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, became more than just something that is recited in elementary school. This ethic of reciprocity should become a standard by which all are measured and entrenched in our cultures.

Andrew Faas on a Boomer’s Guide To Millennials-The A-B C’s of Leadership, D is for DependabilityA starting point for this should be self reflection on how dependable you are by asking to what extent do you:

  • over promise and under deliver?
  • arrive late or are a no show?
  • indicate you will get back to someone and don’t?
  • reach out to someone you know is having difficulty?
  • become a bystander vs being a witness, defender or resistor when someone is wronged?
  • turn on people because of political or social pressures?
  • take unethical or illegal actions to achieve something?
  • overcharge clients, customers and employers?
  • exploit employees, family members and friends?
  • deflect your mistakes to others?
  • take credit for what others have done?
  • sabotage the work of others?
  • discredit others?
  • not fix something you broke?
  • Lie
  • make fun of others?
  • assess people based on subjectivity, ambiguity and bigotry?
  • rely on your religion to gain trust and credibility?
  • suck up and kick down?
  • cheat?
  • cover something up?

It’s a rare soul who could honestly answer never to all of these questions, however based on people I asked who could not even come up with two people they considered dependable, it is safe to assume the majority of people, if they were honest with themselves would have to answer in the affirmative to many.

The next step is to ask yourself ‘When I am on the receiving end of these actions and behaviors – how would I like it?’ Unless you are a totally narcissistic psychopath, the answer should be: I HATE IT WHEN SOMEONE DOES THAT!!!!!

The third step is to establish a personal covenant, golden rules to guide your comments, actions and behaviors in every point of contact with others.

The Golden Rules

  1. Meet or exceed what is expected of you.
  2. Be accountable and take responsibility.
  3. Don’t compromise on your values and beliefs.
  4. Be respectful, open, honest, fair and direct in all of your interactions.
  5. Be kind, sensitive, empathetic, compassionate and supportive.
  6. Be a witness, defender and resistor vs a bystander when someone is wronged.
  7. Listen to and hear other points of view.
  8. Obey the laws of the land, established codes of conduct and terms of engagement.
  9. Embrace those who others shun.
  10. Minimize the negatives and accentuate the positives.
  11. Share your successes and celebrate the success of others.
  12. Be charitable to all.
  13. Fix what you break.
  14. Be loyal to your family, friends, coworkers and employers.
  15. Expose wrongdoing.
  16. Understand that “Right makes Might”.
  17. Understand how your comments, actions, behaviors and decisions might negatively impact others.
  18. Understand how those you interact with feel.

The plight of refugees, and various positions being taken on relief, immigration, nationalism and protectionism, really puts to test how dependable we are as nations and individuals. There is a deep divide descending on us, which unabated, has the potential of destroying our moral fibre and ultimately our freedom.  We are bystanders to repeating the events in the early thirties with the rise of Nazism and McCarthyism in the early fifties. This can and must be abated.

I believe that if the majority of our citizens step back from how they feel, gain the benefit of the feelings of others and apply what we learned as children – ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ – we can and will change the course of history.


About the Author: ANDREW FAAS (  is an author, activist, revolutionist, philanthropist and management advisor promoting psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces. Before becoming a philanthropist, he led some of Canada’s largest corporations for over three decades as a senior executive. He founded the Faas Foundation, which supports non-profit organizations concerned with workplace well-being and other personal health and research endeavors. Currently he is partnering with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on a groundbreaking initiative, Emotion Revolution in the Workplace, which will revolutionize the way organizations operate, leveraging the power of emotional intelligence; and Mental Health America, to help reduce unnecessary stress factors at work and eliminate stigma around a condition that affects one in five adults. His latest book “From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire,” reveals deep-seated dangers of bullying to everyone who works pinpointing the identifying characteristics of bullies and outlining how bullying undermines corporate profitability and value and how CEOs and boards can remedy it. 

Reprinted with permission of the author. Originally appeared on

A Boomer’s Guide to Millennials —The ABC’s of Leadership: C is for Courageous

andrew-faasAndrew Faas

“First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was nobody left to speak for me.” — Martin Niemollers

Courage is by far our biggest test of character. It challenges the extent to which we stand up for what is right, fight for those who are wronged, and confront those who endanger our freedom and rights. Courage is one of the single most defining characteristics anyone can possess, but it doesn’t require us to be perfect to make right that which is wrong.

The call for courage has never been louder. Each and every day we are exposed to denials of freedom and rights, corruption and wrongdoing, abuse of power and people, and exploitation. We are witnessing in real time on prime time the dismantling of democracy.

Leadership requires tremendous courage. I have learned the hard way that trust and respect trumps popularity in making the tough decisions, particularly those that go against conventional wisdom and those that are vigorously opposed by internal and external forces.

David Frum, the senior editor of The Atlantic, recently wrote: “Those citizens who fantasize about defying tyranny from within from fortified compounds have never understood how liberty is actually threatened in a modern bureaucratic state; not by diktat and violence, but by the slow demoralizing process of corruption and deceit. And the way that liberty must be defended is not with amateur firearms, but with unnerving insistence upon the honesty, integrity, and professionalism of American institutions and those who lead them. We are now living through the most dangerous challenge to the free government of the United States that anyone alive has encountered, what happens next is up to you and me. Don’t be afraid, this moment of danger can also be your finest hour as a citizen and an American.”

In my book From Bully to Bull’s Eye: Moving Your Organization out of the Line of Fire, which focuses on adult bullying, I assert that you, and everyone you know has been, and will be, a bully and/or target and/or bystander. It’s this last that’s demands our attention; when it comes to bullying, the most important players are the bystanders. They can make a huge difference in the lives of others. I challenge bystanders to become witnesses, defenders, protectors and resisters.

If history is any indicator, only a small percentage will become defenders, protectors of those who are bullied, and resistors to dictatorship. Where there has been genocide, which is the most extreme form of bullying, only a small percent of the population became witnesses, defenders, protectors and resistors. Had that number been raided to a mere 10 percent, the course of history might have had a different outcome.

Stanley Milgram in Obedience to Authority provides a realistic assessment  “… ordinary people simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry our actions incompatible with fundamental standards of mortality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.”

This assessment provides us with a lesson on what is required to prevent people from becoming “agents in a terrible destructive process,” which is to give people “the resources needed to resist authority;” and the best resource is bystanders who have the courage to become witnesses, defenders, protectors and resistors.

Courage is by far our biggest test of character.In my book I also assert that if more people in the know had the courage to expose wrongdoing during scandals in every segment of society, disastrous outcomes might have been very different.

All of this begs the question, why do most people choose not to become witnesses, defenders, protesters and resistors? It is wrong to label those who do not as cowards. For most, the risks are too high. Historically, many of those who did stand up were severely punished. And, as we know, in all too many cases people and their families were exterminated. In the workplace whistleblowers are usually considered traitors and retaliated against for their treason.

These risks are real, and it is irresponsible to advise people to ignore them. What must be done is leverage the power of the many to create safe methods and environments where people can become witnesses, defenders, protectors and resistors. The resistance movement we are seeing today gives us some hope that barbarian regimes can be opposed. This is equally true in the workplace. In my book I outline how employees can become activists to create psychologically safe, healthy, fair and productive work environments.

Reflect back on what we all learned in kindergarten—the ethic of reciprocity: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and be motivated by Mohandes K. Gandhi’s words, “It is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an evil empire to safe his honor, his religion, his soul, and lay the foundation for that empire’s fall or its regeneration.”

Doing what you can now can spare you anguish later on. My mother, who is 98, spends much of her time full of remorse and regret. Even though she and my dad were in the resistance movement in Nazi-occupied Holland, she feels that they could have done so much more to protect and help those who were targeted. In our daily discussions she constantly reminds me to not have similar end-of-life regrets. Her reflections are a legacy to me and my brothers and have motivated me in my work in organizational and human dynamics.

As I have indicated in my previous articles, everyone—regardless of position or status—can become a leader. A wonderful grounding in leadership is captured in the book, The Education of Cyrus written in the 4th century by Xenophon where he says, “love for honor, love for humanity and love for learning” are the fundamentals of leadership. In determining whether to become a witness, defender, protector and resister consider whether you have ingrained these fundamentals in your being. If they are the decision becomes easy.

There are dangers, but also rewards, to standing up for what you believe in. In a college commencement speech I gave on workplace bullying, I challenged graduates to understand the risk of not being a witness, defender, protector and resister by challenging them to:

  • Consider never having to say,
  • I could have prevented the ruin of my coworker’s career.
  • I could have prevented the breakup of a family unit.
  • I could have helped avoid the demise of an organization.
  • I could have prevented a suicide or attempted suicide.
  • I could have prevented someone from killing others.

I predict that all of us will be challenged in relatively short order to consider never having to say, I could have helped protect democracy and all that it represents. Courage is the key.


About the Author: ANDREW FAAS (  is an author, activist, revolutionist, philanthropist and management advisor promoting psychologically healthy, safe and fair workplaces. Before becoming a philanthropist, he led some of Canada’s largest corporations for over three decades as a senior executive. He founded the Faas Foundation, which supports non-profit organizations concerned with workplace well-being and other personal health and research endeavors. Currently he is partnering with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on a groundbreaking initiative, Emotion Revolution in the Workplace, which will revolutionize the way organizations operate, leveraging the power of emotional intelligence; and Mental Health America, to help reduce unnecessary stress factors at work and eliminate stigma around a condition that affects one in five adults. His latest book “From Bully to Bull’s-Eye: Move Your Organization Out of the Line of Fire,” reveals deep-seated dangers of bullying to everyone who works pinpointing the identifying characteristics of bullies and outlining how bullying undermines corporate profitability and value and how CEOs and boards can remedy it. 

Reprinted with permission of the author. Originally appeared on





Time to Connect with Millennials

Jill KurtzBy Jill Kurtz, Owner, Kurtz Digital Strategy

Millennials are a generation (and a marketing target ) that is larger than the Baby Boomers. It’s time we stopped targeting all of our content strategy on the boomers and take note of how to reach the 80 million Millennials in America.

Goodbye Mass Media, Hello Targeted Connections

These young consumers have their own set of values and expectations, which marketers must learn in order to connect with them. The mindset needs to move away from mass media and mass appeal to carefully targeted communications.

As a group, Millennials are less likely to be influenced by ads and things that come off as ads. Reaching this generation involves building relationships with targeted individuals who need what you have to offer. Millennials don’t respond well to being a member of a large target audience.

They want to be catered to more directly. To reach Millennials, target, target, target.

Build Relationships

Millennials are open to connecting with brands. But, like people, they expect brands to offer genuine relationships with them. They expect two-way interactions. Trust is built through these exchanges.

Millennials are generally hyper connected to social media, but too often blogs are overlooked as a great way to connect with this group. Blogs can provide authentic interactions between brand managers and millennial consumers.

Studies show that today’s young consumers are looking to blogs rather than traditional media for guidance. That’s not surprising since these consumers seek to communicate with people, not ads.

So, blogging is a stronger communication channel than ever if you want to reach Millennials. Post that share a human voice, that invite comment and action, and that show an interest in the life and interests of these young consumers can generate the relationship that this audience craves.


About the Author: Jill Kurtz founded Kurtz Digital Strategy to help clients see the communication potential of the newest trends and technologies. She is an expert at website strategy and redesign, social media planning, and developing exceptional content.

Millennials@Work: Perspectives on Diversity & Inclusion – New IPR & Weber Shandwick Research

Nearly Half of American Millennials Say a Diverse and Inclusive Workplace is an Important Factor in a Job Search

By CommPRO Editorial Staff

Research released today from the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) and leading global communications and engagement firm Weber Shandwick found distinct differences between Millennials and older generations in their experiences and attitudes toward diversity and inclusion at work. The survey reveals the importance that Millennials place on diversity and inclusion (D&I) when considering a new job—47 percent of Millennials consider the D&I of a workplace an important criterion in their job search compared to 33 percent of Gen Xers and 37 percent of Boomers.

Millennials Tune-In to Discrimination Issues at Work

Nearly six in 10 of all employed Americans (58 percent) report that they see or hear about some form of discrimination and/or bias at their workplace, most frequently racial or ethnic in nature (22 percent). Millennials are significantly more likely than older generations to be attuned to such behavior at work, and also much more comfortable discussing D&I issues at work than their older colleagues.

According to Sarab Kochhar, Ph.D., Director of Research at Institute for Public Relations, “The findings indicate how Millennials understand and are transforming traditional concepts of diversity and inclusion.”

IPR Trustee and Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist Leslie Gaines-Ross added: “It has long been understood that diversity and inclusion initiatives are essential for business success but also for career choices being made by Millennials.”


Forms of Discrimination or Bias See/Hear About Most Frequently at Work (Top 5)


Employed Millennials

Employed Gen Xers

Employed Boomers




Any of the following (net)
















Sexual orientation/gender identity




Job type, title, occupation




“I am comfortable discussing diversity and inclusion in the workplace” (% agree)




*Statistically significantly higher than other generations

Diversity and Inclusion Makes for a Better Place to Work

The survey asked respondents why they believe employers emphasize diversity and inclusion in the workplace. All three generations cited “To make it a better place to work” among their top three reasons. Millennials also recognize increased opportunities while reputational benefits and outside pressures are noticed by Gen Xers and Boomers.



Reasons Employers Emphasize Diversity and Inclusion (Top 3)


Employed Millennials

Employed Gen Xers

Employed Boomers


To make it a better place to work in general (38%)

To increase opportunities for all employees (27%)

To make it a better place to work in general (29%)


To increase opportunities for all employees (31%)

To make it a better place to work in general (25%)

Because of outside pressures (25%)

To make themselves look better/improve their reputation (26%)


To improve employee morale (28%)

To make themselves look better/improve their reputation (21%)

Because of outside pressures (25%)


The Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion

Millennials also see the business benefits of D&I, as they are significantly more likely than Gen Xers and Boomers to say “To improve overall business performance” (27 percent vs. 18 percent and 20 percent, respectively) as a reason employers invest in D&I.

Given the importance of D&I at work to Millennials in particular, employers should consider better communications of their D&I activities to their employees. Fewer than half of all employees (44 percent) agree that their employer does a good job communicating its D&I goals, programs and initiatives, with a scant 12 percent strongly agreeing.

Diversity at Work Means a More Diverse Life

Although not every employee has a diverse workplace, one-third of employees (34 percent) acknowledge that they have more diversity at work than in other aspects of their personal life outside of work. This finding suggests that employees are exposed to different cultures and lifestyles at work that they might not normally be.

Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick, weighed in on the importance of recognizing the Millennial preference for working in a diverse, culturally-rich and inclusive workplace: “Weber Shandwick understands that having a healthy and successful workplace where people want to work requires a climate based on diversity, respect and inclusion of differences. To have an impact, leaders must listen attentively to all employees and foster genuine dialogue in good times and bad, something we consider essential to our values and responsibilities. The Millennial viewpoint provided in this research gives us deeper insights into building a better environment that benefits everyone.”

Tina McCorkindale, President and CEO of the Institute for Public Relations, says: “A recent study by Dr. Dean Mundy for IPR found that leadership is key, and leaders must be visibly involved in diversity efforts and reflect diversity themselves. Dialogue about diversity and inclusion must be maintained and embedded long-term in all functions to be shown as something that is valued rather than managed. IPR is committed to championing fairness, diversity, and inclusion in the profession through our programs and research. Researching generational differences is one way to do that.”




Stop Targeting Millennials Like Zombies

Jack MonsonBy Jack Monson, Director of Digital Strategy, Qiigo

Is there anything more ridiculous to Millennials than the phrase “Marketing to Millennials?”

It seems the entire consumer marketing machine in the US has done the math, and has targeted Millennials as the key to selling anything. Marketers struggle with how to easily reach this massive crowd. I’m still struggling with spelling Millennials without the use of auto-correct.

But, Just who is “They?”

We see many criticisms of Millennials saying, “They are… “ or “They don’t…”

There are 80 million people in the US that fall into this age group. A cookie-cutter approach to marketing to or communicating with any group of 80 million people is doomed! I’m not sure how you stereotype 80 million people as having the same characteristics, nature, and experiences.

“Advertisers say, ‘we want Millennial Moms!’ Well, which Millennial Moms do you want?” – Bob Pittman, CEO of iHeartMedia, and broadcasting legend, at Media Tech Summit

Why does this happen? It’s just easier.

Aging Baby Boomers and some still-clueless Gen X’ers may find it easier to just paint all 80 million Millennials with the same brush. We talk about them like they are interchangeable zombies in an old film: “There’s only one way to stop ’em!” If we paint all of the Millennials with the same bush, we will sell them short, as well as our own businesses and services.

Don’t be lazy.

Millennials are now up to 33 years old. They’re not all young kids any more. John Bonham, Keith Moon, and Jesus were all younger than many Millennials are now. Within those 33 years, it’s likely 80 Million people developed more than one style, taste, or preference for communications. Drill down to find multiple ways to communicate with a large group of people with diverse interests, preferences, and lifestyles.

About the Author: Jack Monson is the Director of Digital Strategy at Qiigo. He has been helping global brands, enterprises, and franchise systems with Digital Marketing for nearly two decades. He blogs at Social Media Workbench and is the co-host of the weekly Social Geek Radio program and podcast. Reach him on Twitter at @jackmonson. 


Millennials As Protesters: You Have To Be Carefully Taught

Ann FishmanBy Ann Arnof Fishman, President, Generational Targeted Marketing 

From Bernie Sanders to Black Lives Matter, Millennials (born from 1982 to 2000) are just doing what their history has programmed them to do—react as a group. The major weakness of this generation is they feel peer pressure so intensely, they have lost much of their ability to think for themselves, to analyze a situation on its individual merits, and to have the guts to step apart from the group.

Millennials have been carefully taught to react this way. As children, they were team-taught, team-graded, and presented with trophies, not for achievement, but for participating in team sports, by simply being a part of something. The three support systems that society offers its young—family, religion, and government programs—were so strong during millennials’ formative years, it has given them a feeling of empowerment and a sense of entitlement.

At college, consideration of their feelings affects everything. Triggers have become de riguer. Triggers are phrases posted at the beginning of articles or blog entries warning the reader something in what follows might cause offense or hurt their feelings. Speakers at universities have been canceled due to the fact their opinions differ from those who might attend.  Yale is considering changing its long-standing Major English Poets class because its subject matter is about too many white men such as Shakespeare and Chaucer. Food from other cultures served in the dining halls is deemed offensive if not cooked authentically. From Ivy League schools to the inner city, millennials are getting the message. Their demands will be met if their cries and actions are strong enough. This generation intends to make a grand statement with their lives—and they are succeeding.

Millennials As Protestors: Your Have To Be Carefully TaughtSo, what we have here is the Baby Boom generation (born from 1943 to 1960) meets “Lord of the Flies.” Many Baby Boomers, known as “The ME Generation,” feel a bit of pride that their little darlings are extensions of themselves in their youth, picking up the fallen banner of protesting, calling the police “pigs,” planning to demonstrate at the Democratic and Republican Conventions, and not trusting anyone over 30 (except for Bernie Sanders). Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton blames the Dallas disaster on white people and the police. The DNC issued a five-paragraph statement after Dallas that highlighted offenses to African Americans and only referenced the shooting and killing of police as “tonight’s shooting of officers in Dallas is unacceptable.” President Obama, an attorney and law professor, rushed to judging of police without waiting for facts to come in. Newt Gingrich remarked that no white person in America could understand what it is like to be an African American. You don’t have to experience incest to know that it’s wrong. And, then, there’s the constant drumbeat of the ratings-seeking media, seeing the truth as they choose to see the truth.

Millennials hold in their hands the promise of what teamwork can accomplish. The World War II Generation (born from 1901 to 1924) saved the world by working together. Many millennials want to work together to save the world, not with force, but with good deeds. But, team spirit can become a perversion when it is combined with empowerment and entitlement.

When Ronald Reagan was governor of California, protesters at the University of California at Berkeley took over a plot of land owned by the university. UC-Berkeley wanted to build a parking lot and other facilities for the university. Students, professors and outsiders claimed the land as “the people’s park” and threatened to destroy the campus if they did not get their way. Reagan called on the university police and the California Highway Patrol with orders to do whatever was necessary to quill anarchy. One student died, 128 ended up in the hospital. Order was restored and UC-Berkeley was not physically destroyed. When asked by a reporter why he didn’t spend time negotiating with the students, Reagan’s reply was, “What is to negotiate….All of it began the first time some of you who know better and are old enough to know better let young people think that they had the right to choose the laws they would obey as long as they were doing it in the name of social protest.” Messing with millennials’ minds, especially in this election year, can yield terrible results.

Killing police is not open to negotiation. Police who kill unnecessarily must and do stand trial. That’s not up for negotiation either. Turning incidents involving guns into calls to do away with the Second Amendment is not up for negotiation. Do you really think the lone gunman with his well-planned attack could not have bought a gun under any conditions? And, not mentioned until now, is the question of who is pulling the strings of Black Lives Matter and the occupy movement and what is their agenda.

The major danger at this time in our history is we are losing much of our ability to think for ourselves, to analyze a situation on its individual merits, and to have the guts to step apart from group thinking. Adults in power are patterning after millennials to further their own agenda. That’s not leadership. It’s as if the youngster has gotten a learner’s permit and is driving the car. The adult sitting beside that millennial is yelling “faster, faster” instead of “slow down.”

There’s bound to be a terrible collision.

About the Author: ANN A. FISHMAN was invited to Washington, D.C. to write on generational trends and was the recipient of four Research Fellowships awarded to her from the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. She authored several white papers and was the principal developer for the National Mentor Corps, Federal legislation placing trained adults into the public school system as mentors. She also informed other countries how generational-targeted marketing can impact their businesses. She has taught generational marketing at New York University and is president of Generational Targeted Marketing, LLC, a specialized marketing firm providing insights into the preferences, trends, and buying habits of each of America’s six generations. Her book, “Marketing to the Millennial Woman,” was recently published. 



Oh Baby! What Happens When Millennials Become Parents?

Natasha FleuryBy Natasha Fleury, Marketing Partner, Generator Inc Marketing

Millennials are the dominant consumer and a huge focus for brands everywhere. With 80 million in the U.S., we’re hard to avoid.

Research demonstrates Gen Y is different from Gen X in several ways including motivation, expectations, and attitude. But what happens when we become parents? What takes priority then? How do purchasing habits change? What do views on family look like? How do Millennial parents use social media?

We work with dozens of family-focused companies and have compiled a few tips for brands when marketing to the 22 million Generation Y parents in the U.S. right now.

No connecting, no buying.

Millennials are one of the most compassionate generations in history. Speak to that compassion by painting a picture of how your brand will help them. To this group, that’s far more compelling than sharing results.

Oh Baby! What Happens When Millennials Become ParentsWhen you show that your brand understands mom’s pain points, such as not spending enough time with her family, she feels heard and understood. That puts you in the position of a partner she’d like to do business with. What’s more, a Baby Center study found that ads are 62% more likely to capture mom’s attention if they are relevant to their child’s age. This lets you connect on a more literal level with photography and storytelling.

Informative, authentic content builds loyalty.

Millennials want to be heard, have personal connections with brands, and are deeply inspired by others. A Forbes study found 43% of Millennials need to trust a company first. Build content that speaks to their current approach on parenting. For example, Millennial mothers have ditched the “Tiger Mom” approach; they are playful, hands-on and carry nostalgia for a simpler life.

Social media isn’t passe.

Where are Gen Y parents finding this trust and loyalty we mentioned? Social media, of course. Parents on Facebook are especially avid users: 75% log on daily, including 51% who do so several times a day. This is a statistically significant difference when compared with non-parents, of whom 67% log on to Facebook daily, including 42% who do so several times a day.

A recent study found 59% of social­ media-using parents say they have come across useful information specifically about parenting in the last 30 days while scrolling through social media. What comes next is sharing, liking, pinning, tweeting, snapping, forwarding, and commenting.

That equals more engagement for your brand.

 About the Author: Natasha is a passionate professional with over 13 years of experience in marketing and communications. She and her partners manage a marketing agency at Generator Inc. Their clients include include start-ups without a designated marketing team, CMO’s with project queue overload, and entrepreneurs who are trying their best to do everything. 


The Age of Aquarius Meets the Age of Millennials

Are You Marketing to and Managing a Younger Version of Yourself?

Ann FishmanBy Ann Arnof Fishman, President, Generational Targeted Marketing

It’s impossible to market to and manage a generation you think is a younger version of yourself, especially if it’s not! That’s what’s happening these days between baby boomers (born from 1943 to 1960) and millennials (born from 1982 to 2000).

Baby boomers look at this generation—its idealism and its revolutionary tendencies—with a remembrance of things past. Millennials’ recent political disruptions seem reminiscent of the 60s, a special time for boomers, many of whom came of age during the Vietnam War. Today, they look at these young protesters from this vantage point. That’s a big mistake. It puts marketers and managers on the wrong path.

Imagine two birthday cakes, both with pink frosting and a cherry on the top. They look identical but the cake inside—the part that gives that lovely frosting its raison d’être—is different in every way.

Granted, baby boomers and millennials have some similarities. Both are large generations. Both have been intensely focused on by their parents, society, marketing outreaches, and the media. Both want to change the world. Cut. End of scene.

The devil for marketers and managers is not only in the details, but in the differences. First of all, protests reveal different generational characteristics. Baby boomers broke rules just for the sake of breaking rules. Because of a war they couldn’t or wouldn’t understand and the “I am not a crook” Nixon era, they are an anti-establishment generation that questions authority. Boomers are inwardly turned, a generation of individuals who focus on themselves. They protested the Vietnam War in direct correlation to how active the draft was at the time.

The Age of Aquarius Meets the Age of MillennialsIn contrast, the millennial revolt is led by the desire to make a grand statement with their lives. Their motivation often stems from their desire not only to succeed, but also to help others. They are an outwardly turned generation, a generation of groups who focus on the team and the greater good. In marketing and management, millennials want to know how a business producing products and services is contributing to mankind as a good, corporate citizen. There are 80 million millennials. By this number alone, they have forced corporate America to stand for something greater than the bottom line.

Next, each generation’s attitude toward free speech reveals generational differences. Baby boomers fought hard for this. They want to talk about everything, from “The Vagina Monologues” to presidential sex in the Oval Office. But on the other hand, millennials need “safe rooms” at college to protect themselves from the free speech that might hurt their sensitivities.

Then, each generation’s style of working is different. Boomers work hard, often putting in 60-hour work weeks to get the job done and to look good to the boss. Millennials, well, if employers don’t accommodate their style of doing things, they’ll go rogue entrepreneur on you and leave. For example, LinkedIn, with more than 400 million members, understands the millennial need for a more personal and professional life. For instance, family and friends can eat with employees in the cafeteria for free. Millennials don’t thrive on long work weeks, so LinkedIn, gives them one Friday, every month, to work on personal projects. And talk about unlimited vacation time! Sweet.

Finally, how each generation is motivated is different. Boomers are highly motivated by money; millennials need a profession with a purpose. Boomers, as idealists, want to teach the world to sing; millennials are saviors who want to help people around the world better their lives. Millennials are really more like the World War II generation (born from1901 to 1924). They are going global to save the world, but the millennial way is not by war, it’s by acts of volunteerism, days of kindness, and contributing time and money to charities of their choice.

Millennials expect a company to make a difference on the environment and the betterment of people’s lives. Whole Foods, with its vision of a sustainable future, hangs banners throughout its stores highlighting its good global deeds. Nike help launch “The Girl Effect,” a movement that helps young women around the world climb out of poverty. Many businesses encourage mentoring and other social outreaches on company time.

Examining these differences matters because it helps marketers and managers better understand and work with all generations. The more you know, the better the marketing effort, the more efficient the workplace. Let the sunshine in.

About the Author: Ann A. Fishman was awarded four U.S. Senate Research Fellowships to study generational trends and is an expert in providing insights into the preferences, trends, and buying habits of each of America’s six generations. She taught generational marketing at NYU. Her book, “Marketing to the Millennial Woman,” was recently published.  






Millennials Want More Texts and Why You Should Care

How Industries Can Leverage Millennials Love for Texts with SMS Marketing

Dan Slavin Discusses  Why Millennials Want More Texts and Why You Should CareBy Dan Slavin, CEO & Co-Founder, Codebroker

New research confirms that millennials prefer using their phones for everything but making phone calls. Now numbering at 80 million, this group comprises a quarter of the US population. Businesses in every sector are looking for ways to win their hearts and minds. A survey conducted by OpenMarket showed that when given the choice between texting or calling, 75 percent of millennials would rather lose the ability to talk than sacrifice texting. They find texts more convenient and less intrusive than talking on the phone.

A vast majority of respondents in the survey say they love getting texts and warmly welcome the SMS marketing messages sent by retailers and vendors. But businesses aren’t taking full advantage of this affinity for the texted word. The same survey claimed that only 30 percent of millennials are receiving texts from companies they do business with regularly. That leaves plenty of room for clever mobile marketing strategies.

Given the extreme attachment to text interactions, are businesses fully exploiting this dopamine-rich mobile channel for all its potential? It seems like we are just beginning to tap into this promising channel. Today text message marketing is being used mostly by retailers and banks for such things as:

  • Promotions via mobile coupons
  • Loyalty program signups
  • Routine appointment reminders
  • Delivery notifications
  • Payment confirmations
  • Dual-factor authentication
  • Fraud alerts from credit card use
  •  Customer feedback surveys

Assuming that consumers are willing to opt-in to receive texts from businesses, what are some other likely strategies for SMS marketing and engagement? A look at four industries shows plenty of potential room for options.


Retailers already know there is no better way to announce a product sale or make promotional offers than via SMS marketing. In-store specials, especially impromptu “on the spot” sales lasting just a few hours or a limited number of days, can be made via SMS. Digital coupons can be delivered instantly; just flash the phone to redeem. Letting a customer know their favorite item on back-order is now in stock or that their special order has arrived is a natural fit for SMS.

Retailers can also steal the playbook from Walgreens and other pharmacies that have been at the SMS forefront. Pickup and refill reminders, seasonal wellness offers like flu shots are common text applications. Retailers that stage special events like fund raisers or storewide clearance sales can use text to get the word out.


The hospitality industry has a limited number of rooms at any one time. This makes SMS marketing and outreach particularly affordable for them. Because hotels generally have their guests’ mobile numbers, they have the opportunity to easily be in contact and can for example send a text message to all guests in advance of their arrival, with a reminder of check in time, and for an added bonus, a link to book a dinner table. Savvy establishments can include links to review sites like TripAdvisor or Yelp, or can include a mobile coupon offer for their next stay.


Rather than passing out a buzzer nobody really likes to carry and limit mobility, restaurants in malls can let their waitlisted customers keep shopping until their table is ready by using SMS. Restaurants can also build text marketing lists to announce new menu items or daily specials, stoking interest in the brand and driving traffic.

Broadband Internet

In industries with a high volume of complaints like cable services, a single customer service representative can use SMS to send out alerts for a host of services. For example, the cable provider could text the serviceman’s arrival time, notifications of service outages could be texted before the avalanche of angry phone calls arrive. Status updates and instructions to “reboot the modem by switching it off” could avoid a lot of irritated customers and unnecessary phone calls.

Whatever the industry, the number of mobile marketing strategies and text message engagement activities are limitless. Like the current crop of political candidates running for office, businesses too should make it easier (and more obvious) for customers to opt-in by simply posting the short code and calls to action wherever they do business.

 About the Author: Dan Slavin is CEO and co-founder of CodeBroker, a leading provider of mobile marketing solutions that help retailers convert shoppers into buyers. He was CEO of Framework Technologies, VP of Open Market, and CEO of International Testing Services. He earned a BS in Electrical Engineering from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. His articles have appeared in Chain Store Age, Retail Customer Experience, Retailing Today, and Street Fight. You can reach him at