Performance Management / HR

Motivating the millennial workforce [Podcast]

When it comes to understanding the needs of working millennials, Cara Program CEO Maria Kim has a lot to bring to her peers at Vistage. By working with a nonprofit that specializes in workforce development for the homeless and poverty-stricken, Kim has come to understand that in order to keep millennials happy and challenged, she has to understand what they’re passionate about.

Kim joined the Cara Program in 2005 and was the Chief Operating Officer prior to moving up to CEO. She understands that millennials (who will make up half of the workforce by 2020 – click to tweet this stat!) are motivated by a sense of purpose and not just a paycheck, and is bringing that knowledge to Vistage members.

“People are [driven] by a sense of purpose. No matter where you fall on the profit line, that by and large people are looking to identify with, go after and work toward a strong purpose and that that can be such a driving and motivating force for our team.”

When it comes to hiring, Kim tries to align someone’s passion with the community-based purpose of the Cara Program. By not just focusing on resumes, she looks to a person’s untapped potential and considers what their passions can bring to the company.

“Really, at the core, folks strive for autonomy (a sense of independence about their work), mastery (a sense of really understanding the scope of what they’re doing and getting really good at it) and purpose. I think those principles are really clarifying for me as a leader.”

A Vistage member for two years, Kim not only brings a lot to the table in terms of hiring practices, she also gains a lot. “We’ve talked about everything from key performance indicators to board governments to … management of millennials to the changing democracy of the workforce. It’s fascinating to me … that all of the things we’re talking about in a for-profit context have direct and absolute parallels in the nonprofit—or I like to say, social purpose.”

While many Vistage CEOs work with for-profits, Kim says that the differences between the two styles of organizations are not as vast as you may think.

“In the not-for-profit space, you still need to produce profit, you just happen to reinvest your dividend in a different way,” explains Kim. “Similar management practices … still apply to our sector and the really good ones that are out there, are doing those things well.”

Click “Play” on the podcast link above to hear more from Maria Kim and learn about her stance about not-for-profit operations and understanding of the millennial workforce. Please leave any questions or comments you have on the topics discussed in the comments below.

Category: Performance Management / HR

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About the Author: Dave Nelsen

I joined Vistage as a founding member (CE 676) in 2003. I've started four tech companies, attracting $70MM in venture capital. I was recognized as E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year (2000) and as Vistage Best Speaker of the Year (2011). I've h…

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