Meet Nandi Shareef, a global training manager who just also happens to be a Millennial. Through this monthly blog series she will share her experiences and insight on how Millennials are navigating the corporate world, and offer advice on how the corporate world can plot a course for keeping this generation of workers engaged and exceeding on the job. Here’s how her story begins.
I got the job. As I pressed the END button on my Android phone, it took everything in me not to scream with elation. It was 9:30 a.m. on a scorching August Monday morning, and I had not been looking forward to the work week ahead. It felt a little easier knowing that it would begin with me turning in my resignation.
Rewind two months to a similar Monday morning: I was home sick from work, hoping that whatever the sickness was, it would get worse so that I could avoid the office just a little longer. In the position and for nearly 2.5 years, I lived with every trainer’s nightmare… non-existent orientation, poor onboarding, lack of training, arguments coined as “development,” and an irritant boss who complained about my cumulatively par (yes, I said par) performance in an underperforming franchise industry greatly affected by America’s economic downturn.
Staring back at my phone in disbelief, I had been sure that I hadn’t made the cut. Me? The new global training manager? Well, I’d done my best through the prescreening, but I had assumed the HR assistant was just being nice. The initial interview, which had been 1.5 hours on Skype, complete with me conducting a 30-minute training on service basics, had felt amazing. But I still had my doubts.
After being flown in for a 1.5 hour in-person panel interview consisting of a 20-minute session on interview basics juxtaposed with the tango and given to an audience of 7.5/11 left brainers (what was I thinking?), I walked away knowing I wasn’t the best fit. However, I was happy for the opportunity, and extremely excited that I had taken a step in cultivating my future self.
A couple of months into the new position—after completely uprooting my life and moving to a new city where I knew no one (how fun!)—I learned that all of the other candidates needed more dialing up and that it was easier for my new organization to rein me in. I still don’t know how I feel about that, and I’m not sure whether the organization feels that its been successful or not. Either way, I believe it was an awesome decision for both parties.
Fast forward almost one year, and all of that energy is being put to great use. With a Gen X boss who has a collaborative nature, I have successfully created orientation programming and onboarding processes that drive customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention in our business. I play an active role in redefining our company culture, and as the global training manager, I ensure that our 400 employees do not experience the same stifling and underutilization I encountered in my first position out of B-School. It’s a work in progress, but I feel accomplished knowing that I am valued and indirectly adding revenue to the bottom line.
As my generation—the Millennials—creep through the ranks at companies, there’s a drive to know what will keep us engaged. Furthermore, there are misinterpretations about our inherent attributes that when handled correctly can be used as fodder to retain us. I decided to blog about my experience because based on a myriad of internship and full-time work experiences, I can share what works and what doesn’t. And as I will discuss next week, this very topic is the foundation of my doctoral work in organization development.
Bottom line: Taking my current position was the best decision I ever made, and blogging is my opportunity to pay it forward for Millennials who want answers about their future as well as for other generations who are annoyed by Millennials and want answers about how to “rein us in.” More important, this is anopportunity for me to grow and gain answers to some of life’s greatest self-imposed questions.
Welcome to my story!