I managed over 12,000 people at Groupon, most under the age of 25. One thing that surprised me was that many would arrive at orientation with minimal understanding of basic business wisdom. “Haven’t you read any business books? Good to Great? Winning? The One Minute Manager?” I’d ask. “Business books? Not really our thing,” was the typical response. I came to realize that there was a real need to present business wisdom in a format that is more accessible to the younger generation. Andrew Mason
While “most under the age of 25. (…) arrive at orientation with minimal understanding of basic business wisdom” surprised ousted Groupon CEO Andrew Mason, it probably doesn’t surprise most seasoned managers.
Managers have always assumed there was a general business learning curve when hiring new grads, but what has changed is how steep it’s become.
One exasperated manager described it as “remedial orientation”—from showing up on time every day looking presentable, being ready to work and paying attention during meetings to not wearing an iPod/checking Facebook/playing Angry Birds in front of customers—much of what used to come under the heading of ‘common courtesy’ and ‘basic living skills’.
Mason’s solution is recording a “seven-song album of motivational business music.”
Reading business books has never been high on the list of most 22-year-olds, so what has changed?
My own view is that most of the time the need for remedial orientation can be traced back to parents and how they chose to raise their kids.
Flickr image credit: Keith Laverack