Brent Niemuth, President & CCO

I think Millennials get a bad rap. Apparently, they’re to blame for everything. They’re lazy and privileged and don’t want to work hard. I’ve heard a number of people complain that they just don’t get this generation. I have to disagree. Are Millennials perfect? Nope. But neither were the generations that preceded them.

I’m basing my opinion on one thing—my personal experience with Millennials on our staff here at J.Schmid. More than half of our employees are under the age of 35. This is pretty typical of agency life. It’s a young person’s game. Always has been. But it’s this youth and energy and questioning of the status quo where new ideas come from. And we’re in the idea business. I find it refreshing that meetings in our office are filled with young folks who aren’t afraid to question the rules or how things have always been done. It keeps us honest.

As our agency now provides digital services and social media strategy, we find ourselves leaning on the natural instincts of the Millennials down the hall. These guys live and breathe this stuff. They’re not waiting for management to teach them the tricks of the trade. They’re leading the way. It is the rest of us who have to keep up.

I’d like to share a few things that work around our office—maybe you can benefit from them, as well. We’ve made some operational changes over the years to accommodate this new breed of Millennial worker, all of which have made us a better company. In fact, our culture might be our biggest asset (thanks in large part to those darn Millennials).

Here are three things we’ve done that have been successful.

Flexible work schedules

We don’t track hours or keep time sheets. What?! That’s right. Never have. If you have a doctor’s appointment, go. If your kid has an event at school, go. If your favorite band is in town and you need to leave early, go. No need to take personal time or use a vacation day. Just make sure your work gets done on time and you’re available if clients or team members need you. The lines between work and personal life continue to get blurred. Agency life can be brutal. We realize people are checking email around the clock. They miss kids’ birthdays because they’re traveling. They work through the weekend on a tight deadline. If work encroaches on their personal time, then we must allow some personal time during the workday. Turns out, people don’t mind working hard when they have a passion for what they do. There is no longer a “9-to-5” work life and a separate “personal” life. There is simply LIFE. Make it a good one.

Have a purpose

Millennials want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to contribute to something that matters. This ranks higher than pay scale. We make sure everyone at J.Schmid understands why we’re here (to do good work that actually works). We talk about it every day. The work, the work, the work. How do we make it better? More effective? How do we move our clients’ brands forward? And how can each of us contribute to this mission? For the record, it’s not just Millennials who want to be a part of something special. The rest of us do, too.

Quit treating them like Millennials

Are they all lazy and privileged? Not the crew in our shop. They work their tails off. These are smart people. We can learn from them if we’d just stop judging. Try putting them in charge of projects. Let them solve problems. Listen to their ideas. Do they think and act and live their lives differently than us gray hairs? Yes, for sure. But that’s not a bad thing. If companies want to survive in these crazy times we have to start thinking and acting differently. Be open to new ways of doing things. Try seeing the world through the eyes of a Millennial.

Turns out, this is their world and we’re just living in it. By the way…it’s the next generation (Gen Z) that we have to look out for. They’re flat-out nuts!

Interested in talking about new ways to evolve your culture or some new digital ideas from our Millennials? Shoot me a note at

Tags: , , ,