ShareLikeBuy 2016: Millennial Employees Expect More, What Brands Can Learn From GE Director of Global University Relations

Posted by: Kari Porter

Millennial employees are quickly taking over the workforce as this group is entering their peak earning years. According to Pew Research Center, Millennials out numbered Gen X in the workplace in 2015. Leslie Coyne, Director of Global University Relations at General Electric is no stranger to recruiting millennial talent. As one of our featured speakers this year at our ShareLikeBuy conference in Austin on November 9-10th, Leslie will share her insights on what Millennials expect from the workplace and how business leaders can better prepare for this new generation of employees.

Read below for a preview of what we can expect to hear from Leslie at ShareLikeBuy in Austin: 

Leah Swartz: What trends are you seeing in regards to Millennials in the workplace?  

Leslie Coyne: Much of what we observe conflicts with what we read in the headlines.  We see Millennials as hard working.  They are passionate and driven to make an impact in their communities and around the world.  They want to be challenged, and they want to grow FAST.  They seek feedback and appreciate mentorship and great leaders they can admire and consider as role models.

Leah Swartz: What efforts is GE making to attract Millennials to the company?  

Leslie Coyne: This is a significant portion of our workforce, so much of our employment branding efforts are designed to attract, motivate and retain Millennials.  We strive to be first on many social media platforms and have tried to be innovative in our approach to attract Millennials.  We recently launched a contest called the “Unimpossible Missions” for students to select a common expression and then describe an experiment that disproves it using GE technology.  Students from over 150 countries visited the site, and we received 576 submissions.  The winner will receive up to a $100k scholarship, a 10-week paid internship at one of our research centers and the opportunity to have their idea filmed in our next series.  Many Millennials have also seen our “Owen” commercials, which are aimed directly at that group.  The Owen campaign is a more lighthearted campaign that features a college grad who has just been hired as an industrial internet developer at GE.  It also shows that we have a sense of humor and can poke fun at ourselves.  It’s resonated well, as we have seen traffic on our careers site increase significantly.

Leah Swartz: How would you say Millennials are changing the traditional workplace methods (time in the office, technology use, etc.)?  

Leslie Coyne: They raise the bar!  Millennials challenge us to think differently, be more open and transparent.  They are interested in integrating work with life, and because they are so connected, Millennials do this effectively.  Organizations must be willing to be flexible in terms of how and when work is done.  We also must learn to trust the fact that when employees can work flexibly, they are often times more productive and satisfied.  Millennials are also helping us learn different ways to use technology more effectively.  Often times, the best ideas around new technology platforms come from those who are earlier in their career and grew up with a device next to their bed.  It comes naturally to them, and we have learned to listen and let them take the lead.

Leah Swartz: What are the top qualities Millennials are looking for in a workplace/career?  

Leslie Coyne: I don’t believe they are vastly different from previous generations.  Some important qualities Millennials look for are a creative and dynamic work environment, leaders who will support their development, innovation, challenging work that helps them to grow, and perhaps most importantly, an opportunity to make an impact.

Leah Swartz: What is one thing we have to watch for to prepare for the next generation?   

Leslie Coyne: Because of my role leading university relations globally, I pay attention to trends in education.  I believe that the next generation will break the education mold.  There will be more options for attaining educational goals, they will be more cost effective, and they will better prepare individuals for careers in which they are interested.  As an organization that wants to hire the best and the brightest, we will have to keep a pulse on how these changes affect the way we recruit the next generation.

Want to learn more about GE’s Millennial workplace engagement practices? Be sure to register for ShareLikeBuy on November 9-10th in Austin, Texas to get the latest scoop on Millennial employees and other extremely valuable topics in the marketing to Millennial space.

CLICK HERE to register for ShareLikeBuy today!

About Kari Porter

Kari is the intern at FutureCast and is excited to further explore and expand her knowledge about millennial trends, as she helps to write content for, Forbes and Business Journals. With a focus in...See Kari's full bio.