Highlights from Finn Kelly on the panel of: How Millennials will change the workplace

Finn Kelly’s highlights from: Get with It … How Gen Y (Millennials) and Gen Z will affect and change the workplace – part of the AIME Saxton speaker series.

Workplaces are an intergenerational melting pot, so how do we best utilise the skills of each generation to maximise business and social success?

In just three short years, more than half the entire workforce population around the world will be made up by workers under the age of 38.

How will this change your business and how can you attract and retain them not just as employees but as clients?

Entrepreneur Finn Kelly, co-founder of award-winning millennial community, Wealth Enhancers, shares his highlights from the session.

Finn speaks about what he thinks about Gen Y and Z, how millennials are changing the structure of work, performance reviews, the biggest misconception about millennials and why Wealth Enhancers chose to work with these younger generations instead of the traditional path of the financial advice industry: Baby Boomers.

This insightful session was moderated by global strategist on intergenerational leadership, Holly Ransom.


Holly Ransom: Finn’s purpose is to lead a passionate, values-based life free of societal pressures and through his positive actions influence and inspire others to do the same. Finn, your business, Wealth Enhancers, is built around helping this generation to get financially free. Why did you target that niche and how have you gone about engaging Gen Y as customers?

Finn Kelly: We started probably a little bit too early, about five or six years ago, and it was because out of a desire to help ourselves and our friends. We used to have a private wealth management company traditionally built to look after the wealthy Baby Boomers and we were like,

This doesn’t really make sense. Why are we making more money for someone who already has money? What about the generation below?

A big reason we started was the demographics. In a weird way we’re a new Baby Boomer generation and we can grow with this generation. If we can help them become financially free, free of the dependency on money, imagine what else they can start doing. They can start choosing that they want to go work for that not-for-profit. They can take some time off to travel, or they can start their own businesses.

So we see it as a very philanthropic activity that we’re doing. We’re passionate about this concept of for-profit or not-for-profit. Why does that have to be the case, why can’t it be just for purpose?Why can’t every business be helping the world? And we’re a very proud, passionate B Corp. We’re the 55th B Corp in Australia and when we first came up with that for the business no one really bought in. Now you talk about recruitment and that is one of our number one recruitment tools. People want to work with us because we’re a B Corp.


Holly: What do you think is the biggest misconception about Gen Z or millennials? Both the younger generations?

Finn: I actually think the biggest misconception is that we’re young! We’re not young anymore! If you look at Gen Y and Millennials, it’s 1980 to 1995, they vary, but like, that’s 37 years old. We’re having kids, we’re actually skipping Gen X and becoming CEOs of corporate, ASX companies, global companies. We’re not young and we’ve seen a lot. We’ve seen a GFC, we’ve seen political turmoil and we’ve now had a lot of time in the professional world. We’re able to make smart decisions, so don’t think you can ignore our generation.
We are the largest generation now. We’re overtaking Baby Boomers and that’s only going to increase because of the immigration that’s coming in. We’re now spending over 50% of discretionary spending, so we’re a big player in this country and in the world, so you can’t ignore us.


Holly: I’m really interested for your take as someone who employs an enormous number of millennials, what are your observations about this generation and how you engage them? What do you understand about them?

Finn: This generation is one that questions everything. But it’s not out of negativity; it’s asking, “How can we do better? How can we actually be living a life driven by our values and be aligned in a common purpose?”

We’re not on this mission where we’re just trying to build wealth for the sake of it, or trying to climb the corporate ladder. We’re going, “Can we be part of something which is actually really great?”

I’m seeing it in Wealth Enhancers a lot at the moment: people reaching a certain level in their corporate career because they thought that was the right thing to do and then they’re like,

“Hmm this doesn’t seem really right to me. My parents are a bit disgruntled about where they’ve got to in their careers, maybe I need to make some changes earlier on.”

They’re starting to work out what their values are, what their purpose is, and which organisations actually align with these. They are making the tough decisions and they’re leaving, even if it means pay cuts, needing more education, changing living locations. They’re willing to do it.

So eternally optimistic, I actually think this generation is going to be the connector between the generations. We’ve got the Baby Boomers who have been brilliant and built up a lot of wealth. They’ve got a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience. And we’ve got the Gen Zs, who’ve got so much ability to just live their lives with technology and they’re questioning things in a different way than we are.

So I believe we’re going to be the connectors and we’re actually going be the leaders of the modern-day world. When you think about what’s happening right now: who are the biggest companies in the world and who are they run by? We’ve got facebook run by Zuckerberg, we’ve got Google run by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. We’re having so much disruption by these young people and they’re actually determining where the world’s going.


Holly: What do you think are the traits of this generation of leaders?

Finn: I believe it’s about a coaching and collaborative environment. I actually used to be an army officer, so the most dictatorial type of leadership you could have! I used to think,

“Oh well, this is how you’ve got to lead, you’ve got to be very strong and you’ve got to have your opinions and you’ve got to be able to just basically say, this is my way and it’s the only way.”

That doesn’t work in the real world. If I did some of the things to my team that I used to do in the army, they would just laugh at me, give me the finger and get out of here. They would move. Now it’s about collaborating with them and coaching them to work out how you can help them reach their goals rather than how they can reach your goals.

You need to have a very strong purpose for the business and then be the visionary of that purpose, bringing it alive any chance you can. I call myself sort of like the chief cheerleader. I’m out there cheerleading the vision all the time and going,

“This is how you can fit into it and how you can actually live a great life in accordance with our business as well.”

And I think finally with the leadership style, is they need to know that you’re open to hearing their opinions but they also want decisions. That’s a big thing. Everyone thinks that Gen Y and millennials are very technology focused and they can do it all themselves. But they want their hand held more than any other generation. They really do. So you coach them and guide them but when it comes to it, you need to still make a decision.


Holly: You’ve been jet-setting around the world, living a remote and flexible lifestyle and that’s a really interesting feature for me about how differently these younger generations want to work. They want to be able to work from anywhere, they want that flexibility around when their work’s done. Talk to us about how they’re actually changing the structure of work.

Finn: It’s a fascinating experience. One of the common questions I get all the time, because I’m seen travelling around the world, is: Do you actually lead in your company? Do you do anything?

I work more than I probably used to in the office because I’m actually passionate about working rather than just showing up and doing it for the sake of it! And these days, what job can’t you do behind a computer? Everyone is pretty much behind a computer so why are we geographically dependent? Why can’t we be geographically independent?

So we’re seeing flexibility in that manner, and we’re seeing a lot of outcome lead results. Rather than just showing up and saying, all right, here’s my nine-to-five job, we don’t care about that. I don’t care if my team members surf half the morning, go catch up with some friends and then they work for two hours really efficiently. If they actually get the work done, isn’t that what we care about?

Outcome lead leadership is really important. They want to be able to know that they can come in and out depending on their desires and their path in their life. So flexibility is very important. It’s almost like a bridge between full-time employment and contractor models where you can actually connect the two, where they’ve got choice in how much they want to work and how much they want to contribute.


Holly: So what’s your take on feedback and performance reviews?

Finn: We use a combination of technology and regular face-to-face, or video, feedback. So everything from your number one goal in the business, the priorities, links down to how the individual employer works and it all flows and they can see where their contribution is contributing to the company.

So that’s one way and it’s just direct scorecards. They actually respond well to numbers but it’s got to be timely numbers. They don’t want to have the numbers six months down the track, they want to know on the day. We don’t do reviews or performance reviews, we have check-ins. Constant check-ins and if you see something you can provide feedback on, they want it that day. I want it in a manner where it’s like, okay, give them a coaching format to provide the feedback, let them have time to think about it and come back with their solution.


Holly: I feel like a lot of leaders feel they’re very demanding. This isn’t a generation who conforms with the way that legacy businesses and traditional businesses have been structured. Are they demanding or is it just really different and do we have to get on board with the way that they want to work?

Finn: I think they’re really different! They’re curious and they want to find ways to improve your business. I don’t see why you wouldn’t want that as a leader, isn’t that what we want? So I don’t see my role as the person who’s like stepping up above and saying,
This is what needs to be done. I’m trying to feed them little bits of information and get them in line with a common vision. Then they can create the future of the business.


Watch the video interview on our Youtube channel here.