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Change Management Tips for Human Resources Professionals

One of the greatest challenges for leadership today is keeping up with the rapid changes in their industry. As communication tools and cultural norms begin to morph, it can be difficult for leaders not only to keep up with the necessary changes, but to implement them in a way that is healthy for the company.

When we approach change in our organizations, there are three guiding principles we should follow.

Clarity

change management tips for human resources professionals

There’s nothing worse than being faced with a big decision or new change and not understanding why it’s happening. Getting employees involved in the decision is key to ensuring its success. In fact, Torben Rick, an operational and change management expert, says the key to implementing change in a successful way is to tell a compelling story. Rick states “before leaders can get buy-in, people need to feel the problem. People aren’t going to consider anything until they are convinced there is a problem that truly needs to be addressed.” Provide clarity on what problem this new change is solving and offer insights into any other possible solutions you may have explored before landing on this one. You may find that employees not only support your decision, but become change agents themselves.

Transparency

change management tips for human resources professionals

This goes hand in hand with clarity, but it’s also important that you don’t just talk about the benefits this new change will bring, but also the challenges. The sad truth is that 70% of all change initiatives fail. As a leader, explain why this risk will ultimately bring rewards. As a basic guide, your conversation around changes should include answers to the following questions:

  • Why is this change necessary?
  • What actually is going to change and how does this affect each of us?
  • When will we introduce and implement this change?
  • How do we communicate this change?
  • What will determine that this has been successful?
  • What challenges will this change bring?
  • How can we motivate and support people during this change?

Beyond these questions, offer to address any specific concerns employees may have, and follow through on that promise. Transparency offers the opportunity to shape the conversation into a more positive and exciting tone that could otherwise be one of confusion or fear.

Humility

change management tips for human resources professionals

Someone once said “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less”. We don’t often pair humility with great leadership, but we should! Understated, but incredible valuable, humility is a quality that every leader should possess. Humility drives leaders to think about how others might be feeling in a certain situation and empathize with their concerns. This is especially important when dealing with new information or even a shift in the organization. However big or small the change might be, by practicing empathy, we can ensure our employees feel heard and understood. In fact,  what they’re trying to tell you may surprise you.

Have you dealt with a large change in your organization? What are the hurdles you overcame? Share your advice in the comments!

Recruiting Star Candidates Without a Star Salary

We all want the best for our businesses, which includes the best employees. But what happens when you just can’t afford to pay big bucks for the best candidates? How can you recruit without the enticement of a fancy corner office or large salary?

recruitment-without-a-big-salary

Here are three things to consider:

Celebrate Your Culture

It should come as no surprise that employee engagement really pays off (literally). In fact, a Gallup survey reported that 54% of workers who are disengaged would leave their company for a 20% raise or less, while only 37% of engaged employees would make that same decision. Your company may not have a multitude of resources, but there’s one currency that’s undeniably valuable – your people. When interviewing for a new position, don’t forget to highlight your culture. There are many ways to educate interviewees about your culture, but it all starts with asking the right questions and highlighting what makes you unique. You’ll end up finding someone who not only is excited about the role, but is a fabulous culture fit to boot.

Promote Your Perks

Salary is only one piece of the puzzle. Does your company offer an above average vacation plan? What about work from home policies? No business is created equal so be sure and highlight the added perks that a new hire would receive. Maybe you’re even saving them money with exclusive discounts. Whatever the case may be, studies show that happy employees are better employees. Win-win.

Invite Their Input

In a recent survey, 80% of millennials said they want regular feedback from their managers, and 75% yearn for mentors. Highlight this in your interviews and you’re guaranteed to stand out among the crowd. 85% of everything we’ve learned comes from listening. Which means, if we want to know how to effectively lead employees well, we need to provide a platform for them to speak. Do you offer performance reviews every quarter? What about a weekly touch base? However you provide opportunities to listen and learn, showcase this in your recruitment efforts.

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Evaluating the Performance Review

Whether you’re reading this as a manager or an employee, chances are you feel the same way: Performance Reviews are the absolute worst. In fact, a report by the Society for Human Resource Management dove into the success of performance management. Their findings showed that more than half (53%) of human resource professional grade their organization between a C+ and a B, another fifth (21%) chose a C, and a mere 2% gave their management an A.

performance review tips

A key to making performance reviews successful is ensuring this isn’t just happening once a year, but that you provide consistent, valuable feedback. In addition, the review should strike a balance between evaluating the past and setting goals for the future. These three components are essential to a healthy, successful performance review that both managers and employees can stand behind.

Consistent and Quantifiable Feedback

SHRM reported that 72% of performance appraisals were done on an annual basis. However, a study by Globoforce reported that 71% of employees prefer to receive feedback ASAP. While this doesn’t mean you should totally eliminate the annual performance review, it does mean you should find ways to provide ongoing feedback throughout the year. Perhaps this means tracking goals in a spreadsheet, or maybe it means writing down current projects and their outcomes every quarter. However the team functions, it’s important to track and record successes and failures and ensure you’re giving feedback immediately and not waiting until the end of the year.

Concrete Evaluation of Previous Performance

The most important thing to remember is that evaluating past performance does not mean focusing on the negative. Studies have shown that positivity has a major impact on work performance. In fact, psychologist Martin Seligman reports that Optimistic salespeople sold 37% more than their pessimist colleagues, who, on the other hand, were twice as likely to leave the company during their first year of employment. Take some time before you meet with the employee to evaluate which goals they’ve met and which you need to revisit. If you’ve been tracking these all along, this should be pretty straightforward. Encourage employees in the areas where they have been successful and challenge them in the areas where they struggled. You may be surprised at the results.

Clear Goal-Setting for the Future

A huge success factor for performance appraisals is tying the employee’s goals with the company’s mission and goals overall. According to Globoforce, 70% of employees say the point of performance reviews is to help them develop and grow. By tying their personal achievements to company successes, this helps to not only give them clarity around their responsibilities, but also increase motivation in the future. These goals should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Encourage employees to write down their goals and put them in a place where they will see them throughout the day. After all, goals are pointless if you forget what they are.

Need help getting started? Here are a few useful phrases to ramp up your performance reviews.

Promoting Mindfulness at Work

Mindfulness, as defined by Merriam-Webster,  is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis”.

promoting mindfulness at work

While the Eastern hemisphere has practiced mindfulness for years, the Western world is slowly coming around to the idea. Perhaps with the increase of technology and constant distraction, mindfulness is becoming more important as a practice. In fact, a recent report showed how schools have implemented mindfulness as a replacement for detention and the results have been staggering. We’re also seeing yoga and meditation rooms popping up in offices and airports all over the U.S.. What was once confined to monasteries is now flowing into our everyday lives.

Practicing mindfulness can change your perspective, your leadership, and your mind:

Mindfulness changes your perspective

A fascinating article by Psychology Today goes through the various ways that mindfulness molds the mind. From making us more empathetic and compassionate to decreasing fear and anxiety, mindfulness can truly change your point of view. Instead of fixating on the problems that surround you, mindfulness gives you the opportunity to clear your mind and think more positively. By stopping, breathing and focusing on more positive things, you can turn your whole day around.

Mindfulness makes you a better leader

To lead others well, it’s important to first take care of yourself. Maybe that’s why companies like Google, Ford, Target and Goldman Sachs have all initiated programs to promote mindfulness. As leaders sit down to empty their minds, they are able to make better decisions. Don’t just take our word for it. Mindfulness can help leaders de-stress and focus on the tasks at hand. And studies show that happier leaders, lead to happier employees. Want to engage your employees? Try mindfulness on for size.

Mindfulness is great for the mind

It’s no surprise that mindfulness also impacts our mind. Inside the brain is a region known as the hippocampus which is composed of grey matter that is essential for our functions of memory, learning, emotions, and motor skills. This grey matter is largely affected by our age, drug use, and even poverty. While all of these “stress factors” are known to reduce the amount of grey matter, practicing mindfulness has been proven to have the opposite effect. In a Harvard study, participants who engaged in an average of 27 minutes a day in meditation, showed an increase in grey matter in just eight weeks. Who knew getting smarter was so easy?  

Want to implement more mindfulness practices into your office? Here are five tips for where to start.

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Leadership Beyond the Office

When you think about leaders who inspire you, chances are you aren’t thinking about their job title or their corner office. You think about the inspiring words they spoke when you needed to hear it, the efforts they took to make a change, and the lives they impacted.

leadership-beyond-office

I recently spoke with the Director of Human Resources for a start-up located here in Chicago. She shared insights into what makes their office culture truly unique and hands-down it was the leadership. In fact, part of their on-boarding process for new employees includes a goal-setting session with the CEO. While this might not seem out of the ordinary, the goals are not strictly professional. With a strong financial background, the CEO helps each employee set savings goals such as taking a vacation with their family or paying off student loans. With a high percentage of part-time employees, many do not have the ability to hire a financial planner and chances are, have never received financial advice from an expert. By understanding their needs and using her skills, their CEO helps employees achieve things they never thought possible.

From the human resources department to the CEO to the marketing managers, every leader in an organization is tasked with an overwhelming responsibility to make a difference in their employees’ lives. So while not all of us can become financial advisors, there are plenty of ways we can lead well no matter your job title or area of expertise.

Learn.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
– John F. Kennedy

True leaders never stop learning. It’s easy to be mediocre, only absorbing information as we need it, but great leaders know that “knowledge is power”. With humble attitudes, they are proactive in seeking out advice and expertise. It can also be said that great leaders should push their employees to seek out knowledge as well. By offering a continuing education program or professional development courses, you and your employees can learn more, together. In fact, many companies offer a “Lunch and Learn” each month where employees get together to learn something new over a meal. They bring experts on everything from financial advice to html coding to business skills. Leading means learning, and pushing others to do the same.

Listen.

When people talk, listen completely.
– Ernest Hemingway

One of the most obvious ways we can lead people well is by listening well. It’s easy to assume as leaders that we know best, but every person has a unique story and perspective. By taking time to first understand and get to know their personalities, their struggles and their strengths, we can push them to be the best version of themselves. Leadership expert, David Marquet, describes listening as using “not only your ears, but your eyes and heart as well.”

Lead the Change.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
– Martin Luther King Jr.

We have unlimited vacation days at PerkSpot. I know what you’re thinking, “But do people actually use them?”. The answer is yes and the reason is our leadership. While many offices claim to have great employee perks, what makes the difference at our company is that our executive team lives out these values. We take vacation days because the leaders do, we participate in charity because our leaders volunteer, and we congratulate each other on successes because our leaders model this behavior. It’s nothing new and nothing crazy, but having leaders pave the way  makes all the difference.

Let Go.

The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.
– Ronald Reagan

Great leaders are the ones who are okay with relinquishing control. While many feel that giving up control is a sign of weakness,  it actually is a great testament to the strength of your leadership. “Control is about power – not leadership. Surrender allows a leader to get out of their own way and focus on adding value to those whom they serve.” Again, humility is key to being a successful leader. By focusing more on who your employees can be and what they can accomplish and less on making a name for yourself, your team will grow to respect you and your authority.

 
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Strategic Questions, Higher Engagement

Every Total Rewards professional has the desire to improve employee engagement. But sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start. Should you conduct a company-wide survey? What questions should you ask? What do you do with the information?

strategic questions, higher engagement

The key to a successful employee engagement strategy is asking the right questions. Although you can throw out surveys all day long, unless your questions are centered on the right things, they become just one more document to file and a whole lot of useless information. In fact, a recent article by Deloitte states that “among 80 of the most advanced users of engagement surveys, only half believe their executives know how to build a culture of engagement.”

As leaders it’s important to assist others in their professional development, which means asking intentional questions and listening well.

Here are a few of our favorite strategic questions to improve employee engagement:

Questions for Advancing Careers:

  • Which projects have you enjoyed working on the most?
  • What would others on your team be likely to come to you for help with?
  • Are there strengths of yours that you feel are not being utilized?
  • What new responsibilities would you like to take on in the next few months?
  • What projects would you like to be more involved in?

For more questions about career advancement click here.

Questions for Dealing with Change:

  • What do you think about this new change?
  • How do you feel about this change? (the key here is to get their honest opinion)
  • What is your new role in this change? How does it affect what you’re working on?
  • In what way will this new change be challenging for you?
  • What would help you most in adapting to this change?

For more questions about dealing with change click here.

Questions for Measuring Motivation:

  • Can you see a clear connection between your work and the company’s goals and objectives?
  • What makes you proud to be a member of your team?
  • When something unexpected comes up, do you know who to ask for help?
  • Do you have the appropriate amount of information to make informed decisions?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of processes and procedures within the organization?

For more questions about measuring motivation click here.

While asking the right questions is important, it’s also vital that you listen well to the responses. There are so many ways that listening can improve the employee experience, including creating a trustworthy relationship between managers and employees that “are transparent and breed loyalty.” This is the key to success. You can ask questions all day long, but if you don’t actually hear and respond to employees, it is all in vain.

Are there questions you find more effective than others in improving employee satisfaction? What are some ways you’ve seen listening improve the employee experience? Leave us a comment below!

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Corporate Philanthropy: Serve a Good Cause, Make a Lasting Effect

Corporate philanthropy is “the act of a corporation or business promoting the welfare of others, generally via charitable donations of funds or time.”

Over the years, corporate giving and employee volunteering has provided tremendous value not only to businesses but to society as whole.

There are various ways your business can provide philanthropic efforts:

  • Company-wide service day
  • Corporate giving (everyone receives $X to give to the charity of their choice)
  • Volunteer competitions
  • Matching gift programs
  • Volunteer grants

corporate-philanthropy-impacts-employee-engagement

No matter what type of philanthropy you choose, here are a few ways giving back can increase employee retention and engagement:

Employees Learn Something New:

Looking for new and creative ways to develop your employees? This is it. Through volunteering, employees are provided opportunities to not only give back, but also learn something along the way. From improving their leadership skills to physically building a house, there are a variety of ways employees can serve their community and continue their professional development. By pushing them to give back, employees feel valued and trust that their employer is invested in their future.

Employees Feel Supported:

According to a Robert Half survey, 41% of employees are already volunteering in some capacity. In fact, many employers find that by either matching their existing donations or giving them the day off to participate in volunteer efforts they can show their support for activities and passions employees may already have. Consequently it’s an excellent way to see great talent doing great things.

Employees (Especially Millennials) Feel Good about Their Work:

The Millennial generation has a strong desire to make an impact in the world. Idealism? Maybe. But we can’t fault them for wanting to do meaningful work. For this reason, many companies are seeing employee engagement spike as they empower their employees to make a difference. In fact, one report states that over 90% of companies that participate in community involvement found positive correlations between volunteer participation and employee engagement.

Employees Bond with Each Other:

An obvious side effect of employees engaging in volunteer activities is that they learn to work together in a team. For many companies, cross-departmental cooperation doesn’t happen on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. Volunteering can be a great time to learn how others in the company work and improve communication as a whole among departments.

Because we’re all about the perks, and corporate philanthropy is just one of many easy and inexpensive ways to engage and retain employees. Therefore by commissioning employees to give back, you’ll show them you’re invested in their well-being and their passions.

Q&A with a Millennial Manager

There is a lot of information out there about millennials. From hopes and dreams to workplace perks, everyone is trying to figure out what makes them tick. But are we analyzing this group accurately? Generally, we imagine an older manager surrounded by an office of disgruntled young professionals. The fictitious manager often struggles with decisions like signing off on work-from-home policies and catering pizza parties for the office.

But is this reality?

As millennials become the largest population in the workplace, they are also filling a significant amount of managerial roles. This change brings a new dynamic to the workplace: The Millennial Manager.

millennial manager perkspot culture

To truly dive into this topic, we interviewed Michael DeRose, Staffing and Compensation Manager at the Michigan Department of Transportation. Throughout his decade of experience, Michael has insight not only as a Millennial Manager but an HR expert as well.

We asked him to share his thoughts on life as a Millennial Manager in a world of baby boomers.

Here’s what he had to say:

Tell me a little bit about yourself!

Currently, I am the Staffing & Compensation Manager for the Michigan Department of Transportation. I worked in state government for just over 10 years after obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Western Michigan University.

When did you reach management level? Was it challenging to “prove” yourself as a millennial?

I became a manager about 2 ½ years ago, after working in various HR roles for the State of Michigan for about 8 years. Thankfully, I am lucky to be surrounded by incredible direct reports and colleagues within my office but I certainly felt, and continue to feel, a pressure to prove myself. I am the youngest member of just about any meeting of organizational leaders. Whether feeling the need to prove myself is perception or reality is tough to discern, but I certainly feel like I have more to prove than colleagues that are 10, 20, or 30 years my senior.

What frustrates you about fellow millennials?

Feelings of entitlement are frustrating to me. This is not exclusive to millennials but I often speak with millennials that are frustrated about not getting a job, not getting a raise, etc. Millennials are an instant gratification generation. We can click a few buttons on our phone and have a new television delivered in 2 days, we bank from home and on the go, find answers in the blink of an eye, and connect with complete strangers in a matter of seconds online. I think some Millennials struggle when things aren’t granted to them immediately. That is probably my biggest frustration, especially working in a very large organization.

How do you measure performance as a manager?

For me, measurement is two-fold. I rely heavily on ongoing feedback from my staff and our customers. I find this to be important and I think it helps to have a general understanding of how things are going. Additionally, I try to utilize metrics as much as possible. I want to have data to back up the feedback that I receive. For example, I trust when my staff tells me it has been a busy year. However, I run a report of all application activity for the department at the end of each year. Not only is the data useful for determining inefficiencies and process improvements, it provides a great starting point for more discussion with staff.

What are some strengths you feel you bring to the table as a Millennial in management?

I think being a millennial allows me to see possibilities for significant, and rapid, growth. Millennials have come of age in an era where the Internet transformed the world. I think this backdrop allows me to feel that significant and rapid change is achievable. Additionally, I think I have strengths in the ability to understand and utilize technology to solve problems and create efficiencies. I’m no technology expert. However, I have a good enough understanding to know what may or may not be possible if the technology experts are brought in.

What is one common misconception you think millennial managers get?

One misconception that I think millennial managers get is that we aren’t solely focused on technology “because we are Millennials.”  I think Millennials, at least I know this is the case for me, are just as uncomfortable with an archaic paper process as baby boomers are with newer technologies. In other words, we’re not just trying to use technology to “try something new”. We just feel more comfortable with the efficiency and convenience that technology provides.

What is one thing you wish Baby Boomers (coworkers or superiors) knew about you?

I hope my coworkers and superiors know that I value loyalty. The idea of a 30-year career with a pension and a gold watch ceremony upon retirement is appealing to me. That is simply not the work world I entered into. Millennials may want different things (I.e. Flexibility, career changes, etc.) but we are also presented with significantly different options than our predecessors. The removal of the pension (in most cases) is huge.

What are the weaknesses of being a millennial manager?

I think my greatest weakness related to being a millennial is understanding co-workers from other generations. It can be difficult to explain how a computer document is more efficient than paper documents. For example, when the individuals I’m explaining it to may have a strong comfort level with a paper process. I think it’s important to try to understand everyone’s view and communicate accordingly.

What trends do you see emerging in millennial management?

I think the biggest trend is that Millennials now make up the largest group in the country! Before we know it, millennials will make up a large majority of the workforce. Many of the generational differences will be between millennials and Generation Z, instead of with Generation X or baby boomers. It will be interesting to see how typical millennial traits change as millennials settle down, start families, and more closely align with previous generations, albeit at a later age.

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Every Professional Needs LinkedIn (Yes, Even You)

Chances are Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook are natural parts of your everyday life, but there’s one social network that really gets it. No, it won’t tell you which FRIENDS character you are, and it may not update you on where your friends took their latest tropical vacation. But, there are so many reasons why every professional needs LinkedIn.
why every professional needs linkedin

Networking, duh

Let’s be honest, whether you’re the life of the party or a homebody, there are very few people who actually love attending networking events. It feels a lot like cold-calling, but in real life. That’s not to say there isn’t value in these events, but LinkedIn provides an excellent platform to engage with influencers in the industry in a non-intrusive way. You can join groups to see what others in your field are discussing. It’s a great way to meet others, learn from experts and by posting, provide value to others. No matter if you’re a Human Resources Professional or a Civil Engineer, there is a group for everyone.  

Higher quality, less fluff

One turn that many other social mediums have taken is the increase of irrelevant content. So many Facebook feeds are filled with advertisements, recipe videos and BuzzFeed listicles. With LinkedIn, on the other hand, I am able to follow key influencers who post content that is relevant to my work. Need help with a certain issue? Pose the question in a group and others will respond with articles and discussions to provide insights and answers to whatever challenges you’re facing.  Plus, you never know who you might meet.

Moving on up

Career advancement is a huge reason why most people have a LinkedIn. It’s a great place to search for jobs, find new companies, and get noticed by top recruiters. See your dream job? Try searching the company name to find the person who posted it. Obviously, be careful with your approach and don’t go spamming everyone who posts something you’re slightly interested in. But with passion and respect, shoot them a message asking them to connect and informing them of what makes you great for the position.

*P.S.: Regardless of your profession, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and engaging. There’s a common misconception that your profile should read like a resume. While, yes, a lot of the information is the same, the tone is not. This is your chance to add some personality to your experience, so take advantage of the opportunity to market yourself.

With thoughtful content, inspiring influencers, and a great opportunity for advancement, LinkedIn should become your new favorite social network. 

The Millennial American Dream

millennial american dream perkspot

The Millennial generation, lovers of Facebook, the selfie, and on-demand technology, view the world through a different lens. And when it comes to the idea of the American dream, this is no exception. Yes, a successful career, a loving family and financial security are still as desired by millennials as their predecessors. But their means of achieving these successes is changing quite a bit. In fact, they may think these achievements look entirely different than their parents did.

The Millennial Career Dream

While the Baby Boomers and Generation X sought to earn a good wage and advance in their career, millennials are diving a little deeper. Facing the tragedy of September 11th, increasing gun violence, and the War on Terror, this generation is seeking to make a change. No longer is a paycheck enough to keep them satisfied at their nine-to-five. More important to these echo-boomers is making a difference in the world around them and being happy with their work. Sounds simple, but like many things, a closer look proves satisfaction in the workplace is more complex than it appears.

The Huffington Post reports that 67 percent of millennials want to be entrepreneurs. This entrepreneurial spirit is ingrained in this generation, giving them a greater appreciation for independence and autonomy. To them, a successful career is defined by freedom and opportunity to grow and learn. This, however, is not in the traditional corner-office type of way. Job titles and fancy views aren’t enough to keep them satisfied. But give them a chance to learn something new and change the world, and you will discover what they can accomplish.

The Millennial Family Dream

The American dream, however, goes beyond just having a career. For many, this ideal also encompasses strong family values and creating a better life for the next generation. This is a far cry from the stereotyped “Me Generation” . But just because millennials aren’t having kids right now doesn’t mean they never will, says an article in Bloomberg.

PEW Research Center reported in 2013 that fewer than half of U.S. kids today live in a ‘traditional’ family. Because millennials have grown up in these non-traditional environments, many are waiting to start their families until they are emotionally and financially ready in order to provide a more stable and sustainable family environment. Which often means starting a family later in life. But, according to a Gallup survey, only 5% of Americans say they don’t want kids, up only 1% from 1990. So just because they aren’t married by 30, doesn’t mean they never get married. It just might take them a little longer than it did in the 70’s.

The Millennial Financial Dream

Another possible reason millennials are waiting to start a family is due to an increase in financial problems. While the “rags to riches” stories of generations past may be lost on these Americans, they are no strangers to financial hardship. Graduating in the middle of the recession, this generation has struggled to find jobs and, adding insult to injury, battled the weight of student loan debt. For that reason, financial security ranks high among the priorities of millennials. Not for the purpose of putting a car in the garage or buying that house with the white picket fence, but for many millennials the goal is financial freedom from the overwhelming debts.

Understanding how millennials view the world and their hopes for the future will provide insights into our workplaces and our homes. While the American Dream lives on in this generation, the methods and goals have changed quite a bit. One thing, however, will never change: the American Dream is what drives this country and will continue to do so for generations to come.