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How to Build a Cutting Edge Company Using the Hearts, Minds, Passions and Dedication of the Millennial Generation

Jacob Morgan | Dec 14, 2016 80 views No Comments

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Doug Waggoner is the Chairman and CEO of Echo Global Logistics, a non asset based trucking company. Echo Global Logistics carries out about 14,000 shipments per day. They have 2300 employees in 30 offices across the country and 70% of the company is made up of Millennials.

There are a lot of stereotypes and preconceived notions these days about Millennials and how they work. A lot of times people assume Millennials are lazy, spoiled, and they feel they are entitled. As someone who hires a large amount of Millennials, Waggoner feels that the stereotypes are not always accurate and they come from a misunderstanding of this generation.

Waggoner says Millennials “don’t want anything everyone else doesn’t want, they’re just not afraid to ask for it” and that ability to ask for what they want comes from the values this generation has been taught. Waggoner believes Millennials are confident, authentic and they want opportunity and transparency.

So how does Echo Global Logistics attract Millennials? They mainly send recruiters to college campuses to recruit newly graduated talent. The company understands what Millennials are looking for and what they want in a job. Waggoner believes that some of their biggest selling points to Millennials are their office locations, the unique office space set ups and their corporate culture. One of their main offices in the River North area of Chicago is located in a 100 year old distribution warehouse that has been modernized. They have floor to ceiling windows, an open work environment, a coffee shop and TVs all around the office.

Their corporate culture is built on five main values, called the Echo Way. The five values are: Better is the only way, carry the load together, work hard and hustle, do what’s right and bring your own. They promote teamwork, making ethical decisions, working hard and always improving as well as being self motivated. They also use awards and social media recognition programs to frequently reward employees for carrying out the Echo Way values.

Waggoner says his company is constantly listening to employees and having open conversations about what they are looking for, however it is a balancing act. It is important to listen to employees about what they are looking for, but it is “not just about bending to every will of the employee”.  Echo uses focus groups, surveys, committees and an internal podcast to learn about their employees’ wants and needs. However, with most of the company’s new hires coming right out of college, Waggoner says “we have to train new hires how to be employees”. They have to train them how to have realistic expectations, how to be responsible, and how to work hard as a large number of them have never had a job before.

They say that by 2020 70% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials. So what can company leaders do now to be prepared for this shift? Waggoner advises company leaders to accept the fact that the world is changing and don’t resist it. He says, “you will become irrelevant if you don’t adapt”. You have to “do away with bureaucracy. Be honest, transparent and keep it light and fun”. Waggoner brings up the fact that ultimately you have to remember that as Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, you raised the Millennial generation and you are the reason they are the way they are. Therefore you have to deal with that now.

What you will learn in this episode:

How the workforce would look if we didn’t have any millennials

Career paths and what the Millennials actually care about

All about Eco Global Logistics and how they have used the hearts, minds, passions and dedications of Millennials to build a cutting edge organization

How to build a company with millennials

How to manage millennials

Some misconceptions about millennials

Link From The Episode:

Echo Global Logistics

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