CEO Australia: I was interviewing a young man for a pricing role last week. He seemed curious about the role. He was certainly not shy in telling me what he wanted:

– 1. a stimulating role

– 2. a great team

– 3. a qualified boss (which he explained meant someone that actually knew what they were doing – not just a CEO Australia title)

– opportunities & pathways

– 5. title and status

– 6. and an extremely high salary & incentives package.


I thought to myself, with that kind of chutzpah, I want to see what this guy could do, and invited him to Taylor Wells online pricing & commercial manager assessment platform.


He went through the initial online screening promptly and with relative ease. He scored pretty well and showed potential for pricing. He would need some pricing skills development and management guidance to be successful in this pricing role.


He was overpricing himself in the market somewhat, but overall, he was a good candidate and we continued the conversation.


We met to discuss his assessment results and the role in more detail. He was very keen to learn where and how he could improve his skills. He took the feedback well – great signs.


When we started to discuss the role and business in more detail, however, I noticed a distinct change in his demeanour and energy levels.


He took out the client’s job description again; looked at it for a few seconds and furrowed his brow.


I thought this is unusual behaviour, most people right now would love to be in his position and have the opportunity to work in a leading organisation. Wouldn’t they?


I started to wonder: Why the change in behaviour?


Is he only here to get some free insights into his personal development? Is he really interested in getting a job?


I was taken aback. I needed to look at his reaction differently. I went back through my notes for any clues he was giving me in our prior conversations that could help me understand this situation better.


There were…


Culture – he had friends in the hiring organisation who said the business was slow moving and management heavy.


Annual report – he read their annual reports and was completely aware of a decline in business performance & profitability.


Industry – he mentioned how online platforms were ‘smashing’ traditional business models & cheaper overseas competitors are taking large chunks of market share with low ball prices.


Team structure – he asked about the team structure (there was multi layers of management), and asked me whether he would be able to make decisions in the business.


Job description – he was curious and engaged when we talked about the job, but when I sent him the client’s job description he switched off.


Technology – He asked about what technology the business was using. He questioned why they were not automating basic tasks when they could easily be automated.


Business model – he asked about changing consumer preferences impacting the business model. A key concern for the industry – and one with no easy answer.


I began to see the danger of attributing ‘hiring challenges’ and workforce engagement issues to generational forces – this young man was making some valid points irrespective of his age and upbringing.


I began to see how even saying millennials are a nightmare to hire helps us feel better.  ‘Generational differences’ is a get-out clause allowing us to avoid answering difficult questions relating to business model disruption and workforce engagement issues such as workload, career development, sufficient financial reward, and meaningful work.


Millennials compared to other generations may appear to put themselves first – a what’s in it for me mentality. But maybe it’s not as clear cut as that.

  • They are informed about business issues because they have all the information at their fingertips.
  • They do not fear asking difficult questions
  • They have aspirations to change the world


Maybe the problem, then is not generational difference, but a clash of values.


CEO Australia: What to know when hiring millenials!


According to a recent workforce study, CEO Australia do not really understand the needs of millennials.


A problematic declaration when millennials will represent 40% of the total workforce by 2020.


Why would you hire people you don’t understand? A recipe for disaster.


Addressing human capital challenges with flawed thinking and talent management approaches does not work.


Yet, increasing numbers of bosses claim millennials are a nightmare to employ, with 63% reporting that 20 somethings and those in their early 30s require much more guidance.




The main reason repeated time and time again is generational differences (i.e., lazy, entitled, privileged etc).


Admittedly, the sense of privilege that exudes some millennials during a hiring process or at work can be really off putting.

  • But should we be calling them out for being so connected to their values?
  • Are we just feeling bad or reacting irrationally to their requests to be treated humanely?
  • Are we in disappointed in ourselves for not living by our own values and standards?


Over the years, people have become desensitised to their surroundings. We have moved from a mechanistic industrial revolution to an egalitarian platform revolution, and are expected to know how to feel and behave appropriately to this change with relatively little help or guidance.


We have long conditioned ourselves to keep our work and life separate and are now re-learning how to integrate our work and lives.


Un-learning habits of old is not easy. This is true just as much as commitment to a goal is vital also and needs willpower.


Seeing someone display courage of conviction can be confronting because it can cause dissonance. This means that our value systems and views on the world have collided with someone else view of the world – an unsettling learning experience.


I fit into the older generation category (i.e., pre 1982), I know how much it goes against the grain to say ‘no’ to opportunities – experiencing the late 1980’s and early 1990 recession stays in the mind of the older generation because we have lived through some of the worst jobs shortages since the Great depression in 1929.


Like all trauma, economic trauma stays with us albeit deep in our subconscious and manifests in various ways. Older generations tend to say yes when asked by the boss to take on extra projects, roles and responsibility with little to no pay increase.


Millennials, on the other hand, tend to much more vocal when a role does not meet their expectations or when they are given additional work. Don’t be surprised if they put their personal values ahead of organisational goals.


How you hire millennials into the business is a CEO Australia priority. The majority of CEO Australia are looking to hire more people. They are either implementing “disruptive technology,” gearing the business for growth or defending a sinking ship.


From what we can observe, CEO Australia are either taking over smaller companies or hiring people with the right skills to align with the future of work and business.


Yet, there is a confluence of agendas occurring between young professionals and large, traditional businesses.

  • Outdated recruitment and talent management processes are holding businesses back from finding the best people for the job.
  • Identifying underlying values, commitments and motivations is incredibility difficult, yet an imperative to successful hiring.
  • Bringing the right collection of people together regardless of their age and/or generational differences will drive innovation and diversity of thinking.


It is likely that team management issues will be an ongoing challenge for individuals and businesses alike in 2018/19.


This includes: team underperformance, bad hires, high staff turnover, missed opportunities, turf wars, stress, absenteeism and profit loss.


If you want to attract and retain the best talent, you need to face reality and start thinking radically different about the future of work and how you hire talented people into the organisation.


Don’t address the issue by redesigning more interesting jobs or offering flexible hours. People no matter what generation they come from want to be a part of something bigger. A greater purpose in life. Genuine leadership. Role models that can trust and believe in. Businesses that make a difference.


As a CEO Australia, Is your business set up to hire and retain millennials?


See our blog on overcoming stress in the revenue management community.


See our blog on why CEOs need to focus on the customer value proposition.