APU Business Careers Careers & Learning Podcast Politics in the Workplace

Podcast: Understanding Millennials and Their Value in the Workplace

Podcast with Linda Ashar, Faculty Member, School of Business, and
Dr. Doris Blanton, Program Director, School of Business

Millennials now make up the largest workforce generation in the U.S. As a result, it’s critical for organizational leaders to understand what drives and motivates them.

Start a management degree at American Public University.

In this “Politics in the Workplace” podcast, host Linda Ashar is joined by Dr. Doris Blanton to explore the mindset of millennials to understand how they’re hardwired differently than past generations. Learn what supervisors can do to support millennials and to foster strong work performance by millennial employees. Motivating factors for millennials include as a stronger work-life balance, greater work flexibility, increased engagement and recognition of their passions.

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Read the Transcript

Linda Ashar: Hello, everyone. I am Linda Ashar, your host for our podcast, “Politics in the Workplace.” We explore a broad variety of issues and topics of interest to both employers and employees in our podcast. Some of these are controversial and others are of social interest.

The workplace in our society is the crossroads for everyone in one way or another. Whether people are working in a physical environment, with workers and bosses, or if they’re dealing with everyone through [a] remote workplace, the essential demands of getting along and working together are the same.

Today, we are exploring the phenomenon of the millennial employee. We hear a lot about that term in the media and in conversations. There are some misconceptions and then there are some real concerns that we should talk about.

Millennials are now the largest workforce generation in the United States, and almost half of those folks work in business and professional services. A third work in financial activities, according to a new Paychex survey geared towards small businesses.

So who are the millennials? They are the generation born between 1981 and 1997, approximately. Roughly, you could say anyone born after 1980, but the very nature [of] our society and its technological advances and the millennial employees have been observed to function differently from older generations of workers.

So today we have the privilege of having as a guest Dr. Doris Blanton, who’s a Faculty Director at American Public University Systems. Doris brings a lot of experience for us on this topic. She has over 35 years of professional experience and coaching management. She’s a leader in working with employees and in the workplace issues, in marketing and in higher education.

Her career expands through a transition of traditional organizations, but also in hybrids for brick and mortar and visual business philosophies. And of course here at American Public University Systems, we are [a] largely based remote working environment.

Her background is heavy in higher education and human capital development. So, both from an academic theoretical aspect and a very much hands-on experience, Doris brings us a wealth of knowledge. So without further ado, Doris, welcome to our podcast.

Dr. Doris Blanton: Thank you for having me, Linda. It’s my pleasure to join you today.

Linda Ashar: Well, you’ve heard some of my comments about millennials. I mentioned the age demographics so that we could all understand that aspect of the person we’re talking about in the workplace environment, but how should our listeners understand the term for this employee? Why is there even an issue to talk about millennial employees?

Dr. Doris Blanton: That’s a great question, Linda. And I think it’s important to talk about the millennial simply because it’s incumbent on supervisors and the millennial peers to understand perhaps their differences in the generational upbringing. I think it’s important to tease out that we’ve got about three or four generations working in the workforce, and we’ve got the Baby Boomers who are those ‘45 to 1964, and then we’ve got the Gen Xers that come in after them. They precede the millennials.

The millennials are those Y Generation. And for me, I’ve always interpreted the “Why?” when asked by [a] millennial when I’m working with them is — they’re a little disrespectful, or at least I took defense to someone asking me “Why?” when I was working with them.

So I think it’s important for us to talk about the millennials so that we gain the ability to interface with them. Going back to what I said a moment ago, I found myself questioning the millennials, asking me “Why, why do I need to do that?”

And I discovered that I was considering the millennials decision-making perhaps not as astute as it could be, but quite frankly, it’s just a different process that the millennial goes through. From the experience of my reading, my research, my engagement, my interaction with millennials, they are hardwired just a little bit differently. I’ve seen them to be more creative, more resourceful in ways that I didn’t think of when I was younger or in their age.

I think it’s important for us to continue the conversation talking about millennials. And then of course the next generation, but focusing on the millennials simply because of the mindset that they are groomed with early on. From the environments that millennials are raised in, they are quite frankly different from the stereotypical family and the dynamics that contribute to their development that many of the previous generations were exposed to.

Millennials bring a slew of diversification to the workforce. And not to mention, I need to throw this out there, three of my four boys are millennials So, I think it’s important to talk about the millennials, so that I know how I can gain a better sense of how their wiring is different from generations prior.

And, you know, speaking of wiring, the millennial was actually that first generation to be fully technology driven. I don’t know if you remember MySpace, that pre-Facebook, but I remember my kids requesting vitamins (crazy!).

I think that there are things about the millennials that we didn’t think about as we were grooming them, growing them, that are definitely spilling over into the workplace today. The millennial is more socially and more community engaged; they’re more community-minded; and it’s huge for the millennial to be engaged with employers and others that are of the like-mindedness.

Linda Ashar: It sounds to me like what drives and motivates this generation is different, and it triggers me for something I’ve read in Forbes. This comment was that a millennial would rather have a career they are passionate about, but doesn’t earn a lot of money than have a higher earning career that they’re not passionate about. Is that your observation?

Dr. Doris Blanton: Yes. I would have to say that they have to be happy in their work-life balance. And I think the millennial bring that to the workplace, whereas previous generations were pretty dedicated to the work, work, work. The millennial has a much better grasp of the balance in life, and from that perspective, yes, I think that they do.

Linda Ashar: Given that dynamic, then this is a challenge for employers, and supervisors in particular, to change the way we have traditionally thought about motivating employees. We have encapsulated a paradigm of annual reviews, sometimes more often in the year, raises and other types of rewards that have typically been used to motivate employees, without really much else. Does that work real well for an employee who wants to be passionate and understand the philosophy of a workplace?

Dr. Doris Blanton: Great question. I think I’m going to tease this out just a little bit, because I think it is a challenge for supervisors to understand how to motivate the millennial or any of their employees. But for me as a supervisor and from some of the colleagues that I have talked to about this and working with the different generations in the workforce, our first challenge, and I’m speaking primarily for me, but it seems to be a consistent thread among everyone that I have had the opportunity to ask about it. The first challenge was simply reflecting on myself. It’s my lack of awareness of the millennial.

So when I was a kid and I was growing up, my folks got up in the morning and they got dressed because they were going to work, it was their job. Both of my parents worked outside of the home and they dressed for their job.

My mom was a nurse; she’d get up and put her hose on and white uniform. My father was an administrator, a school administrator, and he’d get up and he’d put that tie on, and they  donned their attire for the day.

So when I entered the workforce, dressing was part of the role that was required at work. For me, I saw that as I’m becoming adult, that’s the rite of passage when you finally take that real job, you’re dressing up for it.

But I think what’s important to keep in mind when we’re working with millennials is millennials do not see the roles that we prior generations predefined of the worker expectation. They don’t see the roles the same, how to look when they come to work, what to wear when they come to work, perhaps even when to arrive to work.

So motivating them means that we need to know a little bit more about them. The changes that I think that we’re seeing in the workplace and how to motivate millennials is to know what they are passionate about and to give them that food on a daily basis. And when I say food, give them the details that they need to satisfy their hunger for being passionate about and staying at their job. When they’re passionate, they’re motivated, when they’re motivated, you’ve got a stronger, harder-working employee.

Linda Ashar: You made a comment about dress. Let’s touch on that for a minute. But I have heard people complain that their millennial workers or younger workers don’t come to work dressed the way they expect them to or they’d get pushback on the dress code.

For remote workers obviously that’s much less of an issue or maybe not even an issue, but we still have brick-and-mortar workplaces. Is that something that employers continue to need to be concerned about? And I’m not talking about hospitals, where there have to be uniforms and personal protective equipment and that type of thing, I’m talking about just the standard business workplace.

Dr. Doris Blanton:  You could not have asked a better question, Linda. Something that I have experienced over the past 10, 15 years maybe, we developed a casual Friday. And on that Friday, the employer would allow us to make a donation to whatever nonprofit the organization was supporting at that time. You could wear jeans and a perhaps polo shirt.

The millennial, and I’ll use my son for example, on Fridays, casual Fridays, he would wear a kilt. And it wasn’t that he could not wear a kilt, the thing was you could dress down in casual attire as long as you were representing the company and some type of a company top or polo top.

My son started wearing kilts to work on casual Fridays and other fellows started to do the same. I think they just started to feel a lot [of] liberation with it. I have to admit that I saw my son change the dress code in the department. And then in the company that he was working with to allow those kilts as long as they were professional to also be worn Monday through Thursday rather than on casual Fridays, as long as the person wearing the kilt was wearing an upper body with a tie if it needed to be a shirt and not just the polo that was the dress-down appearance on Fridays.

I found it really liberating, and I saw a huge shift in those employees that were able to loosen up the restrictions, the guys having to wear slacks every day. The guys not able to be a little more free as the girls were, and I mean free with respect to the layering. Women can wear dresses, guys can’t. But with the kilt, it allowed some of these guys who were really passionate about being a little different, that freedom to do it. The dress code policy has since been rewritten and adopted.

But I think something else that’s important to talk about dress code is, millennials don’t really like to dress up for work. They want to be passionate about what they’re doing, and it doesn’t mean they have to look the part. Whereas previous generations had to not only know their work, but look the part and be in sync, the millennial lets us step out of that mold and see things from a different perspective.

I think the dress code is just one great example that I’ve seen shift since then. I think, well, and because of COVID, we’re all working more remotely, but we’re seeing more and more companies allow people that flexibility and not as rigid of parameters of what you look like when you come to work.

Linda Ashar: That workplace for your son illustrates great flexibility on the employer’s part, because I know some employers and some offices who would not have accommodated that no matter what, I just can’t imagine that they would have. Can we talk about flexibility a little bit as an accommodation? Maybe accommodation isn’t even a good word because it sounds like making an exception. And I’m not sure that making an exception is what we ought to be talking about here, as opposed to growing with the way our society is growing and changing in the workplace.

Dr. Doris Blanton:  Linda, I think you’ve hit on it right there. The flexibility is huge and all generations, the Baby Boomer, the Gen Xers, the Gen Yers and we’ve got Zers coming into the mix, which are going to change us even more. The millennial employee, I think, has pushed that evolution of us adopting change and flexibility in ways we hadn’t considered.

I know that for me, I have had millennials who want to stand up and work, and I thought to myself, “Why?” Then when I realized the ergonomic of it and how excited some of these salespeople would get when they were standing up versus sitting down, it was the right thing to do. They knew what they needed to be successful.

We need to be flexible and look at things from a different perspective. Maybe coming in later and working later, something that is beyond the 9:00 to 5:00 mindset, is something that we need to consider.

But I’ve also had employees that needed a different time in the office simply so that they can focus and concentrate without the influence of peers and other things depending on the project, whereas other employees would have shut the door during office hours and maybe been a little crankier. The millennial knew what they needed to be successful, and they needed time, quietness, whatever it might’ve been.

And that flexibility for an employee is huge. For us to break away from the stereotype of the 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, is just one of the tiny pieces of flexibility that we can consider when working with millennials.

Linda Ashar: Do employers need to go so far as to be reexamining the task assignments for employees or is that asking employers to bend too far in what they need for having their work done? Where’s the line drawn?

We’ve been talking a lot about what needs to be done for millennials to work better and more comfortably in the workplace, but I can hear some people saying this is the tail wagging the dog. So how does the employer find a balance between getting the most from their employees versus having the employee running the show to their own interests?

Because you have a lot of insight into the millennial and dealing with differences in the workplace, and I’m just interested, because we’re talking about here integrating. So we also, while the millennial is working in different hours and wearing different clothes and standing up and sitting down, and I’m not making light of that, I’m just going to some of the things we’ve talked about, we have other employees that are more traditional and rigid looking at that. So the employer has to integrate these differences and keep the workplace smoothly, moving forward.

Dr. Doris Blanton:  Linda, I like how you said some people interpreted it as the tail wagging the dog. And I think that for some of us, we may feel that way initially. I think the important thing is, when stepping back to see, is this millennial that the tail wagging the dog? Or for some of my peers who feel like the squeaky wheel gets the grease?

I have seen some millennials really customize their role in the organization and become a better performer. When supervisors can find the strengths of all their employees, but specifically the millennials to keep them motivated, interested in their work, we have to allow them that freedom to customize their duties. It might mean that there are some job duty shifts, but quite often I think the company, the supervisor, the project at hand is going to flesh itself out and to be more successful.

It can be frustrating, I think, for Baby Boomers or Gen Xers, working with millennials who have customized their role and they’ve gone off in another direction. I heard from my peers, “They’re rogue, they’re just rogue out there.” But then at the end of the day, when we all come back together and we see what the millennial has completed with the task, they may have gone about it differently. And they may not have completed some of the pieces that are important to other team members, overall the project is being completed.

And I think the value in supervising millennials is to adjust our perspective and to step back and think about what is the perspective of my employee and how can I reach that employee and make them successful? When you help a millennial become successful, your organization is going to be more successful.

Linda Ashar: That is really an excellent answer. The way you put that is beautiful because, ultimately, I think what we’re talking about is getting the most out of the employee, and from the employee’s perspective, “doing what I know best how to do, that’s contributive to my job.”

Now, not every employee is going to be a perfect fit to every job and those of course have to be identified. But we’re talking about an employee here for our discussion that essentially would be a fit, but for some of these differences in, for better way of putting it, a generational perspective or outlook. Would you agree?

Dr. Doris Blanton: I think working with millennials it’s important, and for any generation, we are focused on the task. We know how we want to get there, we have things in front of us.

The millennial brings something a little different to the environment in the workplace where they may not have the same path structure that we’re going down. So we need to allow for that flexibility in the workplace where the millennial might be performing things differently and the outcomes might be differently, but is the bottom line the end of the task accomplished the way that is successful for the organization?

Linda Ashar: We are speaking here in the context of an employee that has the skills and has the abilities, if the employer looks for the best way to make use of those skills and abilities, rather than trying to fit the employees in an artificial box and telling them this is how they have to work. This is really true, I think, for all employees. I think what’s happening with the millennial generation is, it’s a wakeup call as to how we really should be … and I’m using “we” in the context of the workplace, of employers, how we really should be managing all employees.

Dr. Doris Blanton: Hear, hear! I couldn’t agree with you more. I think that’s what the millennial has brought to the workplace as a purpose for prior generations to take into consideration, why have we been doing it for this long because now we’re working with Generation Y?

They want to know the whys. And as supervisors and even peers and parents of millennials, which I can speak for myself, providing the details of whys are invaluable, and I have found that I don’t have to open the books of the organization to share. This is where the bottom line is and how are we going to get there, but I can definitely share more details with all of my employees and especially with my millennials about the “why,” why are we doing it? What’s in it for them? What are they going to contribute? Where is their role? How are they a stakeholder? We need their buy in.

The best way to get that of course is to give them more details and perhaps more details that we would have previously kept closer to the chest. I think that was just an old behavior, an archaic behavior of power that we need to let go of.

I think the millennials have brought in a lot of empowerment in the company, in any company, and part of that stems from their liberated perspective of what’s happening in the world. They have that global view from day one in their life, everything is instant to write in their own organization. Why are things happening? And I need to see the big picture, and they might need more details than we’re accustomed to sharing with our subordinates, but there’s nothing wrong with doing that.

Linda Ashar: We have a need to want the millennials to buy-in to motivate them. And my earlier comment was, there was probably a good point to that for many employees; maybe not every employee has that interest, but I think most do.

I don’t think that’s too huge a generalization to make. What does that really mean? I mean, we know what buy-in means, being committed, being understanding, wanting to do what the employer’s mission is. So let’s dig into that a little bit. How do we communicate mission to employees? We tell them, “Well, go read the mission statement.”

Dr. Doris Blanton: That is a great question. I think the mission is invaluable. Employees can read it; we can read it, but what does the mission mean? How is the mission lived in the organization and is there value to that?

And for the millennial employee, I think it’s incumbent to point out that millennials are very socially attuned and they expect their organization to be as socially attuned and caring of the community around them. Getting millennials to buy in and reading and using the mission statement, organizations need to not only know the mission statement, but is that mission statement really accurate, are we living it? Are we breathing it?

The millennial wants to have that whole experience, they’re not going to work for an organization that isn’t sharing the same values that they do. They need to be walking in sync, and I think for me, it was very difficult at first when I was working with millennials early in my career, to answer those “why, why, why, why whys.”

At the end of the day, those whys were that buy-in. They wanted to invest, and I needed to find what that sweet spot was for that millennial to get them to buy into whatever task or project we had at the time.

The mission of the organization is one thing, but I think the next piece of that is the organization’s visions and values. If a supervisor cannot speak to those vision and values that support the mission statement, it’s going to be very difficult for a millennial to buy in at all.

Linda Ashar: What ways have you found to be successful in conveying mission and values? If an employee says, “Well, how does this fit into anything that we should be doing in this organization?” or “What is the value in this point and my job description or this point on my performance review? Why does this matter?” How do you go about communicating that to them?

Dr. Doris Blanton: Communicating is the piece in all of that, and I think communicating and sometimes over-communicating, repetitive communicating, and saying the same thing in various different ways, for a millennial, is invaluable. I think for the buy-in and living the mission, the vision, the values for an employee, if we communicate our expectations, we live to those expectations, we are specific in conveying with what the outcomes should be and how we’re going to get there.

Then the millennial is more interested in contributing their creativity, their knowledge, their skills. And more often than not, a perspective that hasn’t been brought to the table already by decision makers and senior leadership.

The communication expectations, Linda, I think it’s important to tease out that this Generation Y are millennials; they need more information than generations before. A lot of that has to do with technology. It’s at their fingertips. They have a world view right from day one in their lives. They have seen everything, and they can see anything within an instant.

So I think it’s important for employers to share more whys, which is going to cause the millennial to bring their A game to anything that they’re doing in work, because they want to contribute to something that they believe in and that they understand. So sometimes communication might mean, over-communicating through somebody who isn’t used to doing that. But after a while, I think I have found personally, by over-communicating, I get the results that I’m seeking.

Linda Ashar: Okay, that’s really good. You hit on a buzzword in my head that I’ve read and we’ve all read over and over, and that is the buzz word “transparency.”

And it’s a buzzword for a reason. I think transparency is something that employers, particularly private employers, well, even in the government too as we all know, there’s a tendency to want to withhold information. And you said it earlier because information is power, but at least that’s the perception that’s been ingrained for centuries probably. But that power has increasingly diminished by the very fact that you just said that information is at everybody’s fingertips if they only know how to go look for it.

Dr. Doris Blanton: And thankfully those millennials bring that to the workplace for us. If we haven’t incorporated technology, they’re going to find a way to bring more technology to ease their job, ultimately showing us how to ease our own tasks as well.

Linda Ashar: I was talking with someone the other day about explaining a job description to someone. And I said, “Be very clear on what your company perceives that to be because your employees, at least most of the younger ones are going to go out and Google these terms, and they’re going to come up with what they think that means and maybe even argue with you about them, if you are not very clear as to what you are looking for.”

Because as we all know, many job descriptions are canned. And that saves time, and that’s not a bad place to start with anything, but we can’t just give people canned language and expect them to be on the same page as we are with that language. We better at least see what Google says it is.

Dr. Doris Blanton: Right, or Wikipedia, either one of those places are going to help us out. I think saving money, saving time, for canned job positions have been going on for a long time. But I think what’s important is providing more information about where the job is in placement of the function of the tasks.

So if you’re a millennial and you’re working in the middle of a project, they need to see that beginning work and they need to know the big picture in order for them to know the value of what they’re contributing to the project. They want to contribute, and they want to be respected for their contributions. But if they don’t have the whole picture, I think millennials feel a little slighted and perhaps invaluable that we don’t share more with them.

We go back to communication. It’s communication and over-communication, or at least I use over-communication when, in fact, I think it’s a different perspective on how I communicate with others. I am hoping that as I progress professionally, my communication continues to improve.

The Generation Z will be in the workplace in no time. A lot of them are already. So it’s important to know how they function as well and their thought process and decision-making.

Linda Ashar: Let’s talk about that just a little bit, the Generation Z. Do you see any differences evolving in Generation Z from the millennial?

Dr. Doris Blanton: I don’t have enough to go on, but I think that the millennials have brought a much larger diversified economy to the workplace. And I can only anticipate that the Gen Zers are going to quadruple that type of behavior in the workplace.

Linda Ashar: I would like to shift just a little bit in talking about the millennial perspective and that’s the perspective of the non-millennial, the older employee. I’m not talking about the employees that are ready for the graveyard by any means, but they’re just employees that are just a step behind them in terms of the technological experience, that are more used to the traditional ways that the workplace has functioned.

How do you find communicating to the more traditional employee the need to be more flexible with the millennial employee? Because the more traditional employee’s mindset is going to see those differences and perhaps question them or be negative about them. So how do we fold a more positive outlook for those employees into this change in workplace practices?

Dr. Doris Blanton: That’s a great question, Linda. As I’m thinking about how to answer it, my head goes back to how do I communicate with my peers who are not millennials, and I have chatted with many who are frustrating. I think back to a time, millennials were groomed quite differently and it spills completely into the workplace.

And something that I remember seeing when I went to one of my kids’ classrooms, when they were in grade school, when I was in school you’d take quizzes and tests. And when you were finished, you’d sit quietly. You didn’t disrupt your neighbor or you could have been accused of cheating, or you’d put your head down, but you waited for the assignment to be completed.

I noticed when my boys were in school, when half of the class appeared to be finished with whatever task, test, quiz they were doing, I don’t remember what it was at the time, the teacher asked how many students needed more time. Those students raised their hand[s], the teacher then looked to the other children in the classroom and said, “Would you like to help your peer? Help your classmate out, help him finish this assignment, find out how they are struggling and then share with them how you completed the task.” I want to say it was probably a math test in about the third grade.

That spills over into the workplace. I tell my colleagues who are frustrated when they don’t quite understand the millennial, that the millennial was raised in an environment of community. They are socially invested in their community.

The millennial wants to be able to give back, and they want to know that their employers are reciprocating the same thing, giving back to them in flexibility and perhaps different responsibilities within the organization. But also that the organization is sharing in some community mindedness as well and social mindedness as well.

So I think when I communicate with colleagues, I try to share with them. Remember when we had to put our heads down at the end of a quiz or we were called cheaters? The millennials were raised where it was encouraged. The environments that they were raised in, the community mindedness was really fostered. And we see that shift happening all around us, and the millennials are making these shifts for us.

We better — we meaning us Baby Boomers — we need to open our eyes, hear their perspectives and recognize the value that they bring to it. Or we’re going to continue to wring our hands and shake our heads and feel frustrated, not understanding our colleagues that are millennials in the workplace.

Linda Ashar: Again, it all swings back to communication. If I could sum up our conversation so far, I would, and correct me if I’m wrong, I’m hearing the need for a broader understanding of what people bring to the workplace, each individual, flexibility and utilizing the skills of our workers to the best that they can contribute to the workplace.

If they don’t have any skills, then I think we look back as an employer and say, “Well, there was a reason we hired this person; what was it?” Thirdly, the transparency is part of the need to communicate; I think it’s very important and we’re seeing that emphasis in laws as well. I mean, even private employers don’t have the luxury of operating in secret anymore.

I think there’s a good reason for that for our society. I think society has an expectation of more knowledge. The technological society opened up by the Internet has made that a given. I don’t see any backing away from that.

So the millennials, it sounds like from our discussion, have done a great deal to expand the consciousness of the workplace in many positive ways, as opposed to some of the negative stereotypes that we’ve been hearing about. What do you think, Doris?

Dr. Doris Blanton: I couldn’t agree with you more. You’ve hit on the three key pieces that I think are the points that I keep coming back to when I’m working with colleagues; communication is huge, huge, huge, huge. Over-communication, communicate the details. Flexibility in how the tasks can be completed is also huge, but also having transparency, those pieces working with the cross generations and especially a millennials, they’re bringing it to us.

We’ve got to open our eyes and know that that’s what they need. And perhaps we have been groomed in ways that prevented us from questioning things sooner in our careers. But communication and flexibility and transparency from what I’ve experienced have been pretty much fundamental working with millennials.

Linda Ashar: I appreciate your final remarks, Doris. I think you’ve summarized it very well, and I really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you today about this topic. It’s concerned me reading about many negative things about millennial employees. Definitely this group brings new insights and new ways of doing things to the workplace that can be championed and translated into a much better workplace.

I firmly believe a better workplace that functions to its capacity is definitely going to turn into profit for the business. I hear employers say sometimes “when we talk about all the touchy-feely stuff, and we’re supposed to be running a business and making a profit.” Well, if you have employees being used to their maximum capacity, using their skills in ways that bring them to an investment, I think you used the word buy-in, Doris, to the employer’s purpose, mission, business, then you’re going to have that profit because the business is going to flow well. Labor is an important capital, and I think that concept gets lost in a purely money- driven mindset.

Dr. Doris Blanton: Absolutely, Linda, I would agree with that entirely. I think what the millennial brings to the workplace is a shift in how some business is conducted. We mentioned a few minutes ago about transparency. There are few millennials that will keep anything close to the chest, because they want to share information as much as they need information shared with them. When we are providing millennials with the information that they need to keep them motivated, and as I mentioned earlier, can be more information or more communication than we’re used to. It is profits to the bottom line, simply because we’re going to get more from that employee, millennial or Gen Xer. If we are making our employees happy, our human capital wants to be there; we are going to be more successful as an organization overall.

Linda Ashar: Well, I can’t thank you enough for time you’ve brought to this podcast and lending us your insights and your expertise. It’s been really a pleasure to do this, and I’m sure our audience feels the same way. Thank you, Dr. Blanton.

Dr. Doris Blanton:  Thank you, Linda, for having me. It’s been my pleasure to be here today. Thank you.

Linda Ashar: We’ve been speaking today with Dr. Doris Blanton, faculty director at American Public University Systems. Our topic today was the millennial employee for “Politics in the Workplace.” We appreciate Dr. Blanton’s expertise and appreciate your time listening to this podcast.

About the Speakers

Linda Clark Ashar is a full-time associate professor of business, law and ethics in the School of Business at American Public University. Having practiced law in federal and state courts for more than 30 years, Ms. Ashar continues to manage her own law practice part-time.

An experienced litigator, her practice focus is employment and labor law, agriculture and equine law, public interest, and management consultation for businesses and nonprofit organizations. Ms. Ashar has represented both employers and employees. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Muskingum College, a master’s degree in special education from Kent State University and a Juris Doctorate in law from the University of Akron.

Dr. Doris Blanton is originally from the Central Valley/Fresno, California. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Dickinson State University, her master’s in organizational management from the University of Phoenix and her doctorate in management in organizational leadership from the University of Phoenix. 

Dr. Blanton has more than 35 years of professional experience in coaching, management, leadership, marketing and higher education. Her career experiences span through a transition of traditional organizations to hybrids of both brick-and-mortar and virtual business philosophies. Her background is heavy in higher education and human capital development.

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