A PSFK post stopped me in my tracks earlier this week. In fact, at first glance, I really thought it was an sponsored Onion post on PSFK.
Really, I did.
But nope–this is very real. Grey Advertising, AdWeek’s 2014 Agency of the Year, has created a separate work environment–specifically for Millennials–within its New York office called “Basecamp.”
Grey representatives describe “Basecamp” as “an environment that gives structure, but creates self-sufficiency [and] encourages relationship building with key learnings more readily shared.”
And, according to the PSFK article, Michael Houston, CEO of Grey North America, says that Basecamp shows that “we’re learning from this group rather than showing them how we’ve previously worked. We’re working to understand their organic tendencies.”
So, essentially, Grey has cordoned off Millennials from the rest of the workforce in the interest of “understanding their organic tendencies”?
OK, so I’ll fully admit, I’m a huge skeptic when it comes to discussion that leads with “how do we adapt to working with Millennials in the workforce?” I know Millennials are a big demo. I know they have incredible power. I know they work differently.
But man, I think this is a horrible idea.
For starters, think about the message it sends to the rest of Grey Advertising.
Grey claims to have 1,000 employees–48% of which are Millennials.
OK, so what about the other 52%? What about the Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, who, by the way, are most likely the managers and leaders of the agency at this point? What message is this sending to those folks?
I’ll tell you what message it’s sending. It’s the same one we’ve been hearing non-stop from Millennials and those looking to accommodate them for the last few years: We need to coddle the Millennials in order to better work with them.
That’s it. Plain and simple.
Why else would they create a SEPARATE WORK ENVIRONMENT for these employees? Why would they go out of their way to talk to the media about it?
I mean, I get it from a business perspective. You need to attract the Millennial market. You need them more than they need you. Junior to mid-level talent is the engine that runs agencies, right?
I’m just not sure this is the right way to go about doing that.
Look, I’m sure Grey has done their due diligence. And who I am really? Just some consultant with a blog in Minnesota. I’m not running AdWeek’s 2014 Agency of the Year. So, clearly these people know more than I do.
I’m just sick of the coddling.
And I don’t think it’s doing the Millennials any favors either.
Think about the message they’re sending to Millennials now for a moment. We’re going to give you your own work space. We’re going to go well out of our way to make you happy. WE WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY!
I think this, too, is a horrible message to send. It says: People are going to go out of their way to accommodate you and your workstyles. So, don’t worry about it. We’ll work around you–don’t you worry about learning to work with other people. You’re Millennials, after all!
Also, think about this. If you put up a wall around these Millennials in the workplace, how will they find mentoring opportunities with more experienced staff? Aren’t you kinda telling them the opposite by doing this? Stay with people your own age/experience. Learn from them–not the older folks.
I don’t know. We’re now crossing an awfully dangerous line with all this coddling.
I mean, really, isn’t this taking it a bit too far?