FISH! Philosophy in the Millennial Workplace

Published On: May 17, 2023Categories: Blog

If it’s been a while since you checked your generational calendar, take a peek: The oldest Millennials are now in their forties, and even the youngest are generally past traditional college age. That means that if you haven’t noticed already, Millennials are likely a huge part of your organization’s workforce.

Plenty of ink has been spilled about working with Millennials, but let us spill just a bit more: this generation isn’t made up of children, but rather regular human beings with the same feelings as the rest of us. But it is true that as they’ve aged into the workforce, they’ve also brought about a change in culture and a change in professional norms. So here’s some tips for how you can use the FISH! Philosophy to help you navigate the changing workplace with your new, younger teammates:

Be There: See your team as full human beings

One of the most prevalent stereotypes about Millennials is that they’re hyper-sensitive, letting their emotions take hold of them at any given moment. In reality, Millennials feel the same feelings as everyone else, but don’t necessarily ascribe to the (outdated, in their eyes) view that professionalism and stoicism are synonymous. To them, work is a big part of everyone’s lives, and there’s no sense in pushing down your emotions while you’re there.

Now obviously, there are still professional limits–angry outbursts or uncontrollable sobbing are not emotionally healthy things to have in your workplace. But the more you can see your coworkers as full human beings with a full range of emotions and Be There to listen actively, respond empathetically, and provide basic human kindness, the more they’ll feel like they’re in a workplace that supports them and cares about their well-being. 

Choose Your Attitude: Find your mission and focus on it always 

For Millennials, work isn’t just something you do to fund your passions; they’ve realized that if you’re going to spend 8 hours of every day doing the same thing, that thing needs to reflect their values as well. Not every job needs to be changing the world, but Millennials need to understand how their workplace is positively affecting others in order to feel loyalty and investment in their jobs.

We talk a lot about the core FISH! Pillar that is Choose Your Attitude, and we focus it mostly on those everyday moments that require us to reflect inward and make decisions about our attitudes before proceeding. But if you’re working with a lot of Millennials, consider adapting Choose Your Attitude to your entire organization: Is your organizational culture based around something extractive, or the idea of making a lot of money? Or is it values-oriented, constantly reaffirming how you work to improve the lives of others? The latter cultural attitude will almost certainly entice Millennials to work harder and stick around longer!

Play: Open the office to new ideas and contributions 

Another common misconception about Millennials is that they have no respect for authority. It is true that Millennials are more likely to question those in power more than some past generations, but this isn’t due to disrespect, but out of a need for understanding: They want to know why things are done the way they are and want a path to change if things need to be changed.

So bringing a greater sense of Play into the workplace is great for your Millennial cohorts. This doesn’t mean completely unstructured power, but it means opportunities to brainstorm new ideas and know that they’ll be genuinely heard and considered. Not only will this satisfy younger generations of workers, but it’ll also give your organization opportunities to improve that you may have never considered.

Make Their Day: Give honest feedback in the moment

Millennials don’t care for fancy awards for years of hard work; they prefer feedback about their performance in the moment. While plenty of people still call Millennials “snowflakes” who are unwilling to accept anything but effusive praise, this isn’t true–they simply crave feedback for their work rather than being given the silent treatment.

Millennials are keenly aware that silence is a form of communication and carries implicit meaning, whether you intend it or not, and rather than following the old adage that “no news is good news,” are instead quick to assume that silence is implied criticism. So rather than holding your praise–or criticism–for a yearly review, share your praise when you notice something done right, and don’t be afraid to give corrective feedback (politely and professionally, of course) when you see something that needs improvement.

Make Their Day is all about the small actions that improve someone’s day, and while it can feel odd to wrap criticism into that, for Millennials, having the opportunity to hear what they’ve done well and where they can improve in the moment while they still have time to use that feedback can Make Their Day better than anxiously fretting over silence from superiors.

Ideas to Reflect On:

  • What are 3 assumptions you have about Millennials? Are these assumptions rooted in fact, or just stereotypes?
  • How does your management give feedback? If it’s tightly controlled and rarely shared, consider what you can do to open this line of communication.
  • What are your workplace norms around open displays of emotion? Do you shy away from them, or find ways to support coworkers having big feelings?

Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and avoid the symptoms of impending burnout. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

Want to Implement FISH! in your organization?

Are you a leader?  Do you train others?  Do you want others to be leaders?

Charthouse Learning, the creator of the world-famous, award-winning, FISH! film is offering an in-person, 2-day workshop, interactive Train-the-Trainer lead by our Senior Trainer.

During our time together you’ll learn how to:

  • Share the motivation and foundation of FISH!
  • Introduce the FISH! film with the four practices.
  • Present the invitation to apply the practices in everyday interaction with others.
  • Build a sustainability and reinforcement program to transform the culture.
  • Pick up tips from other FISH! Philosophers and develop a strategy to embed the practices into the DNA of your culture.
  • Create an energized organization that is the “first choice” for employees, faculty, staff, leaders, and customers.

Plus, you will learn how to create a workplace where people choose to “be and bring” their best self everywhere, every day.

At the FISH! Train the Trainer you will:

  • Dive Deep: Discover The FISH! Philosophy – full of “A-ha!” takeaways and perspective-shifting realizations.
  • Transform: Make the four FISH! practices – Play, Be There, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude – an essential part of your professional and personal skill set.
  • Discover: Learn practical ways to apply the FISH! practices to improve teamwork, service, leadership, retention and performance.
  • Develop: Brainstorm strategies to embed The FISH! Philosophy into the DNA of your culture, strengthening your mission, vision and values.
  • Collaborate: Learn and laugh with like-minded folks from across the globe.

Click Here for More FISH! Train the Trainer Information

FISH! Executive Briefing

You have probably heard about the Culture Shift in the news. Organizations are struggling to find talent, employee morale is low, retention is a common goal and customers are dissatisfied with buying experiences.

These are all symptoms of an underlying challenge leadership is faced with every day, regardless of the industry. You can look for temporary relief or an overall, long-term cure.

Join us for a 60-minute webinar on the world-famous, award-winning FISH! practices.

Click Here for More FISH! Executive Briefing Information


Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

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