The fact that I am 27 puts me right there in the middle of what is the greatest generation (other than “The Greatest Generation”, those people fought Nazis and are awesome). Say what you will about millennials, but if you motivate us in the right way, we are going to do some crazy cool things.
(I am Han Solo in this picture)
At Knight the expectation for office employees is 7 to 5 (that’s a 10 hour work day). This stems from a culture created by drivers. Drivers only make money if they are driving and that means they are going to do as much driving as possible. If our most important employees are doing as much work as they can in a 24 hour time period, so are we.
A fair question would be, how do you get younger employees who are part of a generation that is known for being lazy to not only give as much as they can on what could be considered an extended work week, but ask them to come in and get caught up after hours. The answer is simple.
Threaten their jobs!
Juuuuust kidding. The real answer lies in our ability to have fun in the work place. We do a lot of cutting up and I make them watch this video at least 3 times a day, and I know that there are questions floating around about what our team actually does because we are always having a good time together, even when crushing data (and making horrible run on sentences). It’s like that one story about the two woodcutters that had a competition where one guy just worked hard and his ax dulled, while the other guy took a lot of breaks and sharpened his ax and then won the competition. (the third one down here) We are able to put out a really good product without burning the candle at both ends and have a good time doing it.
I also find that you can generate a huge amount of loyalty when you make a bet on someone. What I mean by that is we have been able to identify employees that are stuck in a rut, where either their daily functions are “beneath their potential” or they are unable to make the next step because there is nowhere for them to go. Or that they are simply creative thinkers and are in the same role as Sisyphus (which can destroy an “outside the box” kind of person). More often than not, when we grant these people an opportunity, they rise to the occasion. I believe in my teammates and their potential to get quality work done. As an adviser, it allows me the ability to do my own work without babysitting a bunch of my piers, which is incredibly satisfying.
It also helps when the same management style came down to me from my boss.
In each of my posts I have to stick in a little thing about the tools that I use. So here we go.
Alteryx. As you may know, I am a fan. We have consistently been able to solve problems and eliminate stress points in the business. As the team dives more and more into the tool, their ability to do awesome things continues to expand. One of them just used these instructions I wrote to start using the Dynamic Input tool. I was a proud mama hen.
Power BI. This tool has grown on me. I kind of cut my teeth on Tableau and when I moved over to Knight, I started using this instead. It’s been an adventure, let me tell ya. When I started playing with it in the beginning of 2016 I pretty much found the entire experience to be frustrating. However, over the past 14 months, Microsoft has put a bunch of effort into making it a more usable tool. If you don’t believe me, look at the Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Feb. 2017.
Okay so I took a right turn there but let’s get back on track. Since we are able to offer younger employees the ability to get outside of the day to day work experience as well as offer them the ability to learn new skills in these tools, we have been able to create this unique team that is really making a difference at Knight. The ones that are most engaged have seen the fruits of their labor and have become empowered and feel relevant to what is happening at our company. In turn, they are sold into the dream of making this a better workplace through their continued efforts.
Side note: It’s quite serendipitous that this article from 3 years ago came across my LinkedIn page as I was writing this. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140824235337-22330283-the-three-qualities-of-people-i-most-enjoy-working-with
Okay if you have made it this far, I want to let you know that on March 21, 2017 I will be taking part in a webinar that is put on by Alteryx and Microsoft where I will be talking about how we use these two tools to make magic happen! Here is the link!