The Millennial Guide to Being a Boss: Secrets from Forbes’ 30-Under-30 List Members



This event took place at Social Media Week in New York. You can get the SMW Insider Digital Subscription to access the full video of this event and 60+ other #SMWNYC sessions.

“Hire smart people who are innately curious and share your passion.”

Forbes brought some of their 30-Under-30 leaders to the Social Media Week stage to discuss the things they’ve learned, experienced, and recognized as a Millennial boss. The Forbes 30-Under-30 list started in 2012 and aims to highlight a select number of individuals doing incredible things in their respective space.

Joining Social Media Week was Josh Bruno, Founder and CEO of Hometeam, a company that provides in-home senior care to help older individuals be happier, safer, and lead more fulfilling lives at their own home. The company employs caregivers with extensive training programs and support systems, rather than use models from the gig-economy, that others tap into.

Tyler Haney, Founder of athletic activewear company, Outdoor Voices, wants to create the next greatest brand for recreational activity, and shift the mentality from competitive in nature to to moderation, ease, and delight in your activity.

Mikhail Naumov is the Chief Strategy Officer of DigitalGenius, a human-assisted artificially intelligent customer service tool for businesses. DigitalGenius takes data sets with deep-learning to automatically provide answers, confidence ratings, and even helps pre-write responses for agents to use and personalize with customers.

Finding the right people to join their vision and team

Tyler discussed how Millennials want to deeply connect with the work they’re doing and the people they’re around. “One of our best recruiting tools has been pick-up basketball games we host in New York for anyone to join and meet the company. We always meet people that want to play, regardless of skill, just to meet the team and join in on our mission.”

She encourages Millennial founders to “make sure the team has more energy than yourself, and bring people into the problems and challenges so that you can solve them together.”

Mikhail referenced hiring talent as a snowball effect. “Once you find smart people who share your passion, whether they become an employee, a customer, an ambassador, or anything else, they typically will commit themselves to the product, and then feel special and important in the overall company’s context.”

“In your childhood days,” he says, “You have real imagination and dreams, but over time, more and more layers form from your many experiences and responsibilities, and eventually that inner kid gets lost. When you start and develop a company, though, you channel that inner child to reconnect with those dreams.”

Creating a healthy environment for employees to grow

Mikhail says Digital Genius’ youngest employee is 22, and the oldest is in his 60’s. “Those two don’t always connect on the technology side of the business, but there is mutual respect and each have a sense of belonging that pushes everyone else in the right direction to get things done and get ideas out into the world.”

Mikhail’s culture, he says, “allows younger people to step up to the level of experienced professionals, while also enabling the more experienced individuals to understand new-age tools and trends, and understand the emerging culture that younger generations value.”

For Hometeam, Josh mapped out his team’s environment. “We have this evolving energy where everyone shares the mission while also learning from each other. We forget about age because the mission overpowers that characteristic of each employee on the team.”

Millennials are seeking jobs in new ways than older generations

Tyler says “our generation has no work-life balance because we only have one life. A company’s environment needs to be inclusive and community-driven, where each individual has an identity within the overall team and mission. People want to know what they’re doing and what they stand for within an organization because it ties directly to their personal time and life.”

Josh explained how only one friend encouraged him to quit his job and start a company. “It as a specific moment where I decided to enter this unknown. It’s easy to come out of college and join incredible companies like Google and IBM that create open and safe environments where you work less and probably get paid more.”

He explained how startup employees typically put in double the amount work with less pay, but it works because people want to be a part of that idea and play a role in changing the world or solving a problem.

What are Millennials truly like as employees?

“Each ‘Millennial’ at Hometeam is very aggressive when thinking about their career because they want to have meaning in their life.” He explained the questions he always asks himself when working with his younger employees. “Are they smart? Do they fit into the culture? Can this company fulfill their needs and make them happier?”

Mikhail commented on the fast-paced lives of Millennials. “One example,” Mikhail says, “is when we switched to Slack and got the entire team started on that within 24 hours, and then the very next day we built a Slack bot integration for our customers to use. Without our own team’s adoption of new technology and tools, we wouldn’t

“For us, we make sure there is a feedback loop,” Tyler says. She has direct conversations with her employees on what they want to get out of working there, and getting on the same page of what each employee owns, and why it’s important.

“The very first thing you need between the founder and his or her employees is trust. Once you establish that, it’s much easier to make everyone accountable and responsible.”

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