Cam Marston: The Hiring, Shaping, and Retention of Young Talent


With so many generations currently in the workforce, more and more organizations are struggling to build a cohesive team; cultivating a harmonious and productive working environment seems to be a daily challenge for many businesses. In this post our generational expert and Speaker Cam Marston explores these struggles of hiring, retaining, and shaping young talent: 

Last week I received the following email:

“We are a small company with a diverse workforce and recently hired a team (4) of recent college engineering graduates as Sales Engineers. The generational differences are creating challenges that are affecting productivity and morale and we are searching for ways to help all of us to overcome these differences with better understanding and support.” 

Workplace challenges among the generations continue as they have for the past twenty years. I see no slack in the demand for solutions. And the solutions vary depending on the size and ability of the employer. For example, a fellow panelist at an event this past spring listed the things that the Millennials want in their workplace: Mentors, meaningful work, flexible schedules, newest technologies, planned career paths, predictable bonuses and raises, and the freedom to work on things that interest them. “It’s simple,” he said. “None of this is hard.” Maybe not, but are these reasonable things to offer to a new-hire with no track record? And only the largest workplaces with ample HR budgets can afford to offer them. Most workplaces are like the writers of the email above – small companies where workplace disruptions impact lots of people. The audience that day listened, like I did, with a perplexed look on their face, thinking, “Yeah. It’s easy to understand. But who is going to implement all this? And change the way we currently do things? And smooth it over with the old-timers who have been loyal and received none of this treatment? And where is the budget going to come from? We’re small and need people who want to fit in, not disrupt.” Easy to understand? Yes. Realistic? I don’t think so.

Today’s workplace has gone from a place where a new hire sought opportunities to prove themselves to a place where new hires say to their employers “Make me happy or else…” From “give me a chance” to “you get one chance.” My assessment may be a bit severe but my employer-clients seem to agree with my description. As a society we have promised today’s youth that someone else will make them happy, that their happiness is not up to them. In their workplace they want to be made happy, not to be happy. So all the things contemporary workplace trends highlight – from mentors to workplace buddies to ping-pong tables – are to make employees happy, especially the youngest ones. Maturity will ultimately teach them that their happiness is their own job, but until this maturity sets in, the job is the employers. It’s evident in the way we raise children today – from rewarding participation vs results – to the way we talk about the purpose of education – “do well on your tests so that someday you’ll find a good job that makes you happy.” It has become a part of our culture.

So what do you do? First, there is an undeniable association between age and turnover: the younger they are, the more likely they are to leave your employment to find another employer who they hope will make them happy. From now on, hire youth at your own risk. Buyer beware.

Next, don’t let “short timer’s disease” deter you when you’re hiring. If you you see an applicant is nearing their late twenties or early thirties they’ve now become a more predictable person and are likely learning that no employer, job, title, or Aeron chair is going to make them happy. They’re at the age when they are realizing that they want a good job and are willing to invest their efforts into making it a good job. They’re also at the age where they realize that happiness is their job, not yours.

Next, communicate inter-personally and frequently. Set the devices and the emails aside and find your people and look them in the eye and talk. The screens in our life prevent meaningful interpersonal connections. Talk, show interest, and relate – old school stuff.

Finally, where you can provide things from the list of what Millennials want mentioned above, do it. But don’t alienate your loyal workers in the process. Explain that these new workplace offerings are designed to benefit everyone, not just your youngest employees.

Ultimately word will get out that you’re a good, fair employer and they’ll come looking for you with their resumes in their hands.

Cam Marston is the leading expert on the impact of generational characteristics and differences on the workplace and the marketplace. As an author, columnist, blogger, and lecturer, he imparts a clear understanding of how generational demographics are changing the landscape of business. Learn more about Cam Marston.

Top 10 Closing Speakers for July 2015


A great closing speaker is one who sends your audience away on a high note. They are inspiring, motivational, and energizing – often with a compelling story that reaches people on an emotional level. After two or three days of heavy content, a speaker who entertains and engages your attendees will leave them feeling excited and ready to implement everything they’ve learned. Here are the Top 10 Closing Speakers* for July 2015:

Mike Abrashoff | Formal Naval Commander and Speaker on Inspired Leadership

Mike Abrashoff’s story of turning one of the lowest performing naval ships into one of the finest in the Pacific Fleet will have audiences inspired to take initiative within their own leadership and collaborative roles.  Mike’s keynotes are an engaging combination of great storytelling and practical advice on leadership, teamwork, and peak performance.

Stacy Allison | First American female to reach Mount Everest summit, Speaker on Risk

Stacy Allison’s stories of adventure will inspire audiences to undertake their own exciting ventures. Attendees will no longer want to run from risk but rather they will be ready to approach it with eagerness and excitement.

Dr. Robert Ballard | Deep-sea Explorer and Discoverer of Titanic Wreckage

Dr. Ballard will have audiences captivated with his tales of the deep. His presentations will inspire attendees to develop a culture of teamwork as well as motivate them to venture into uncharted territory – leading to new discoveries and innovation.

Robyn Benincasa | CNN Hero, Firefighter, and Motivational Speaker on Teamwork 

As an adventure racer and firefighter, Robyn Beninicasa has amazing stories about leadership, change, and human synergy. Her high energy keynotes will have audiences feeling empowered to perform at their maximum potential both personally and professionally.

Tom Flick | Former NFL Quarterback, Authority on Leadership, Teamwork, and Peak Performance

Tom Flick draws on his extensive knowledge as an athlete and leader in corporate America to deliver a high intensity, and inspirational message to his audiences. He is a skilled storyteller who will galvanize attendees to take the necessary steps to achieve greatness.

Adam Kreek | Olympic Gold Medalist, Adventure Rower and Motivational Speaker

A gifted storyteller, Adam Kreek will captivate your audience with his amazing adventures. His focus on preparation and teamwork will motivate your audience to foster a culture of collaboration and development.

Dr. Janet Lapp | Authority Change Management and Employee Engagement

Dr. Janet Lapp is one of the most dynamic and entertaining speakers on the circuit. Her presentations are funny, engaging, and highly motivating. Dr. Lapp’s keynote will leave attendees feeling energized and ready to face challenges with fortitude and positivity.

Mike Rayburn | Musician, Entertainer, and Speaker

Hilarious and unique, Mike Rayburn’s presentations are like nothing you’ve seen before. As a guitar virtuoso, Mike will inspire audiences to challenge their perceived limitations and teach them how to push themselves and their organizations beyond existing barriers.

Steve Rizzo | Motivational Speaker on The Power of Positivity

Steve Rizzo’s interactive presentations will have attendees laughing and learning. He will teach your audience how to develop and maintain a positive attitude – creating a more cohesive and healthy working environment.

Rick Searfoss | Astronaut and Inspiring Speaker on Teamwork and Leadership

Rick Searfoss will have audiences fascinated with his presentation which combines exciting imagery and moving stories of leadership, teamwork, and personal performance. He will leave attendees committed to holding themselves and their business to new and higher standards of greatness.

*Speakers are listed in alphabetical order

Top 10 Opening Speakers for July 2015


Selecting the right opening speaker for your event is crucial – they set the tone for entire engagement. A great opening speaker should inspire their audience to open a dialogue with one another. They should also energize, engage, and motivate attendees to get the most out of the event. Here are our Top Ten Opening Speakers* for July 2015:

Ty Bennett | Inspiring Speaker on Improving Your Communication Skills and the Power of Story

Ty’s keynotes teach attendees how to effectively engage others on an emotional level, leading to stronger connections, stronger commitment, and ultimately a stronger bottom-line. Audiences describe his presentations as inspiring, thought-provoking, and entertaining.

Walter Bond | Motivating Speaker on Becoming More Accountable, Former NBA Athlete

Teaching how personal and organizational accountability creates teamwork and engagement, Walter Bond’s unique presentation style motivates audiences to take responsibility for their own continued improvement. Walter’s keynotes are funny, insightful, and full of practical strategies for sustainable success.

Nicholas Boothman | Engaging Speaker on How to Connect with Clients and Colleagues

Nicholas Boothman’s entertaining and thoughtful presentations demonstrate that connecting with others is not an innate talent, but a teachable skill. His interactive keynotes and workshops will encourage attendees to open up and communicate with one another while developing skills that will improve sales and productivity.

Dr. Travis Bradberry | Author and Speaker on Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is one of the most accurate predictors of personal and professional success. Dr. Travis Bradberry is a world-renowned expert on EQ whose fascinating presentations teach audience members how to increase their EQ and achieve more. Attendees leave with a newfound sense of self, as well as practical strategies for future success.

Dan Clark | Motivating Speaker on Teamwork and Sales

Dan Clark’s presentation is the ultimate motivator. Combining inspiring stories with practical insights, Dan encourages attendees to push themselves to the next level.  Audiences leave Dan’s presentations hungry to learn and do more.

Chip Eichelberger | Motivational Speaker on Focus and Committing To Your Goals

Motivational Speaker Chip Eichelberger will energize your audience with his contagious enthusiasm. His interactive presentations allow audience members to break the ice and begin to collaborate. Attendees will leave his presentation feeling motivated, excited, and empowered to take on new and existing challenges.

Chester Elton | “The Apostle of Appreciation” and Best Selling Author

Dubbed “The Apostle of Appreciation” by The Globe and Mail, Chester Elton’s presentations explore the connection between effective recognition and employee engagement. His motivational keynotes are full of energy and enthusiasm, setting an exciting and positive foundation for any event.

Dr. Tasha Eurich | Organizational Phycologist and Speaker on Leadership

Dr. Tasha Eurich is a highly sought-after leadership expert who captivates her audiences with interactive discussions, engaging activities, and real-world applications. Dr. Eurich blends scientific theory with practical information, creating a new and exciting perspective on leadership.

Steve Gilliland | Famed Storyteller and Motivational Speaker

Steve Gilliland’s keynotes are funny, energizing, and compelling. His presentations motivate audiences to thrive both personally and professionally, creating a desire to get the most out of what life has to offer.

Ross Shafer | Motivational Speaker and Humorist

Enlightening and fun, Ross Shafer’s presentations will have audience members inspired to reach their maximum potential. He will inspire attendees to take the steps necessary in their own personal and professional development – and he’ll tell some jokes too!


*Speakers are listed in alphabetical order