The Management Style Every Millennial Should Know

This blog post originally appeared at Great Game of Business Blog to promote the 24th Annual Gathering of Games.

Amy’s Ice Creams’ workforce is made up primarily of millennials, most of which are seasonal employees. It’s important to founder Amy Simmons to engage these employees during their short time with the company in order to make a lasting impact on their futures, as well as the success of the business. Amy’s Ice Creams, a long-time Great Game of Business practitioner, uses fun, fast paced and positive company-wide huddle rallies as one way to educate and engage their employees.

“Millennials overwhelmingly look to connect their work with something larger and meaningful to the world around them.”

Amy’s Ice Creams design their huddles to help connect employees with larger company goals, and the company goals with those of their city and culture. Take a look at what Aaron Clay, Marketing and Communications Director at Amy’s Ice Creams, has to say about how Amy’s Ice Creams engages millennials in open-book management and how you can too:

#1. Teaching is Fundamental

Sharing the numbers alone is not enough. Take the time in this huddle to teach nuggets of what the numbers mean and the story behind them.

  • Amy’s Lesson Learned: When Kim Jordan, CEO of New Belgium Brewing Co., spoke at the 2012 Gathering of Games she sent a powerful message out to the crowd: “Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!” No matter what rally it is we always repeat the basics of the numbers, the financial statements and the rules of the game.

#2. Visual Data-Telling

We all have different learning styles and we provide our visual learners with charts, graphs, financial statements, videos and more. We try to make an interesting story using data to help explain what the numbers truly mean to our young workforce.

  • Amy’s Lesson Learned: To increase comprehension we started using a pie metaphor when explaining the profit and loss statement. Our slideshow shows how a pie is divided up between labor, cost of goods, other operating expenses and net income. Best response received, “Looks like we need to bake a bigger pie!” Yes!

#3. Fun and Games

We play and have fun as much as possible in the huddle. We create game-show-style learning activities inspired by The Price Is Right, Family Feud and The Match Game. We write humor (even dad jokes) into the huddle, show fun videos, taste new products, and have a cocktail mixer 30 minutes before the huddle begins so young employees can mingle and interact with the leadership team.

  • Amy’s Lesson Learned: We have every attendee of the huddle rallies give us a ‘Net Promoter Score’ at the end of the huddle. We’ve noticed that if we don’t have “time” for a game or fun then our scores plummet. We have learned that to engage millennials we have to compete for their attention and the easiest way we’ve found is through games and entertainment.

#4. Connect to the Larger Community

It doesn’t matter if you have Gen Xers, Baby Boomers or Millennials, you have to start with WHY! Jack Stack says, “Skip the praise; give the raise.” With our millennial workforce, we’ve found you have to do both. “Start with praise and follow up with the raise.” We want our employees to know this isn’t just about the bottom line or our bonus, but how Amy’s impacts the larger Austin, San Antonio and Houston communities. Every number, metric or activity has to have a clear line of sight to our mission statement: “Make People’s Day.”

  • Amy’s Lesson Learned: We learned the hard way that we must create a safe environment for any skill level to learn what the numbers mean and how to affect them. The best ideas come from the front line and if that line feels intimidated then we all lose out. My favorite moment came this year when our Net Income fell way below our plan but through the huddle rallies and store huddles we received great ideas to make up that money. We’re 85% to meeting or beating our plan thanks to our scoops [young employees]!