The BLOG: Voices

Millennials killed the suit, but created a culture

(Adobe stock photo)

(Adobe stock photo)

Millennials are eroding the culture of “corporate America.” They are laughing at the word “slacks” and rolling their eyes at the thought of a 9-6 work day. And for business leaders who embrace this new movement, it’s got the potential to be a spectacular thing.

When I was growing up, I was always taught you should “dress for success.” It was drilled into me growing up by my parents, my teachers and my bosses.

With that being said, I’ve also always been a little bit of a rebel. In Catholic school, my feet were so big that we had trouble finding affordable dress shoes that fit. So my parents bought me black sneakers.

With them came a detention for breaching the dress code. My first detention — and it wasn’t even my fault. Go figure. To my mother’s credit, she went all Momma Bear on the school and I don’t believe I ever actually served that detention. Unlike the detention I got for bringing my mother’s bra into school for Show and Tell in second grade. Sister Gertrude did NOT like that.

I digress.

At my first job, I was written up for growing facial hair. For the love of God, going through puberty I was sprouting facial hair faster than I was serving up Big Macs.

Working in television, I was given hell if I wasn’t perfectly ironed and tucked in.

Then something magical happened. I became a business owner. And I decided that if I never wanted to wear a suit again, I didn’t have to.

If I didn’t want to shave, I didn’t have to.

If I wanted to wear jeans and a hoodie and a backwards baseball cap, I could.

And so could my staff.

Here’s the thing. If you are hiring members of your team who can’t differentiate between what is and isn’t appropriate and when it is and isn’t appropriate, then you’ve got bigger problems than a damn dress code.

A study back in 2012 by Adecco, a human resources consulting company, asked about 500 hiring managers about millennials. Seventy-five percent of those hiring managers said millennials fail to wear appropriate interview attire.

Interesting stats. But I’d argue the number means 75 percent of those hiring managers need to loosen up their neckties and chill out. Welcome to the real world, baby. Just because you aren’t wearing a tie doesn’t mean you’re not qualified for the job.

You know when I get my best work done? When I’m in jeans and a hoodie. And I have music playing. And a beer next to me – but that’s an entirely different story. Or is it?

Here’s a look at some of the top perks (as unusual as they may be) that some top creative companies (such as The Silent Partner Marketing) offer to their team members to keep them around.

— Weekly chair massages

— A stash of snacks

— A keg or a bar in the office (or a super stocked bar like ours)

— Ice cream parties

— A pile of fresh fruits and veggies

— Child care on location

— Napping rooms

— Xbox

— Free breakfast or lunch every day

— Show or sports tickets

— Paid gym memberships

— Organized volunteer efforts for the whole office

— Paid time off for volunteering or board service

— Monthly parties

— Business retreats to places like breweries or vineyards

— Flexible scheduling

— Telecommuting

— Reduced summer hours

— Paid birthdays off

— Errand services (dry cleaning pickup, taking your vehicle for oil changes, etc.)

— On-site fitness gym

— Use of company equipment for freelancing

— No “no swearing” policy

— Lunchtime workouts

A few weeks ago, I was on Fox and Friends discussing millennials after a post I wrote – “An Open Letter To College Crybabies From A CEO.”  Since then, I’ve had meetings with a few dozen leaders of other corporations across the country where we discussed the future of corporate culture as it pertains to millennials. The simple solution? Treat your millennial staff as you would your millennial customer. Understand their wants and needs — and everybody wins.

What are your thoughts on the casual workplace? Does it help or hinder the creative process … and are we facing the death of the suit?

Kyle S. Reyes is President and CEO of The Silent Partner Marketing. He’s also an acclaimed keynote speaker on entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing and social media. You can find him on Facebook and LinkedIn. Read his past blogs here.

Also by Kyle S. Reyes:

Enjoy your transgender bathrooms. We just lost America.

An open letter to college crybabies from a CEO