DSES Keynote: “The Millennials Are Coming” with Kristen Hadeed

5 min read

Day 2 of DSES kicked off nicely with a keynote by entrepreneur and author, Kristen Hadeed. Kristen realizes that Millennials (people born between the 1980s to early 2000s) have become and continue to be the primary customers in a number of different industries.


Along with being the primary customers, they’re also becoming the primary employees in a number of different organizations. Like each “generation” before them, Millennials regularly possesses specific characteristics that have an impact in the workplace — sometimes good and sometimes bad.


In her morning keynote, Kristen went over 3 major components that every business should possess in order to foster a comfortable and efficient work environment.

1. Trust

Regardless of what we want to admit, Millennials are often known for having their hand held. Stereotypically speaking, Millennials get participation trophies and are expected to have their problems solved for them. This isn’t because Millennials are lazy, but rather, they were weren’t trusted to make decisions.


Any sort of crutches Millennial employees lean on are because of fear of failure. One of the most important business components discussed was “trust.”


“It’ll feel all the more gratifying when they fix their error.”


If you, as a manager, leave it to an employee to do something and they make a mistake, it’ll feel all the more gratifying when they fix their error. Trust is more than an absence of mistakes, but rather, validation that success can be attained in spite of them.

2. Feedback

According to Kristen, another thing that Millennials aren’t used to getting is feedback. Because Millennials are typically known as the “participation trophy” generation, any sort of criticism might feel devastating.


Instead of it being a way to grow, it’s an indication that they’ve failed and that they aren’t as good as they thought they were. Obviously, this is an extreme example, but according to Kristen, it holds true.


Because of these reactions, it’s clear that feedback is extremely important, and can help employees to grow. Naturally, how that feedback is presented to this generation matters. And just to be clear, feedback can be both good AND bad.


“It’s clear that feedback is extremely important, and can help employees to grow.”


When it comes to providing feedback, Kristen incorporates something called the “FBI Method” — which stands for Feeling, Behavior, Impact. 


As a manager, you start off with your fields (positive or negative), you mention the behavior that caused those feelings and then you mention the impact it caused on your team or organization. What makes this method so great is that it offers CLEAR advice and insight to the employee — it offers a WHY as opposed to “you’re great just because” or “you’re bad just because.”

3. Relationships

The last component Kristen mentions as an integral part of an organization are relationships. Being a Millennial herself, Kristen realizes how easy it is to want to text instead of call or email instead of meet-up in person.


Despite how wonderful technology is and how convenient it’s made people’s lives, it’s also disconnected people — especially in organizations (regardless of industry).


Because so many Millennials prefer to hide behind a screen, it’s important to foster in-person communication amongst your team — Millennial or not.


One way Kristen does this at her organization, Student Maid, is to hold regular one-on-ones with her employees. She encourages managers to ask questions like “How can we help you? What are you up to? Where do you want to go?” It’s uncomfortable at first for many people, but what these one-on-ones tell the employee is “I care about you.”