Emily Meredith
Emily Meredith

Holy cow—was Google something. There’s a workplace that embraces its millennial employees. From free food 24/7, to on-site laundry facilities and doctors and dentists right there on “campus,” Google has certainly cracked the millennial code.

They recognize that it’s not all about the bottom line with us Gen-Y-ers, instead it’s about work/life balance, associated “perks” and appreciation. They’ve discovered that if you provide your employees simple creature comforts, they are even more likely to work extra hours and go the extra mile without complaint.

And they’re more likely to have better job satisfaction, which leads to better performance.

While we can’t all offer on-site medical professionals and delicious cafeteria food that’s free (I still can’t get over the free part!), what was most inspiring about Google was the structure of the organization.

Google embraces the philosophy that it’s not when you work; it’s what you do at work. It focuses not on clock-watching and timecards, but instead on results. Managers bring in speakers and display art to foster a creative environment and inspire their workforce. And their CEOs are available for office hours and lead weekly “town hall” style meetings.

Even though Google is a ginormous technology conglomerate with countless arms and projects—it felt like a team. I saw more employees smiling during our tour than I think I have anywhere.

The energy was contagious. I left inspired and I don’t even work at Google.

I’m sure some of you more cynical readers are probably thinking: “Bet I can find a disgruntled Googler.” And I bet you can, but that’s not really the point, is it?

The point is, what can we learn from Google? What can you do to make your millennial workforce feel more inspired, more appreciated, more engaged?

A friend of mine told me that her Chairman of the Board recently remarked that he “wouldn’t want to work for her, or have her work for him.” The Chairman, who I’ve been told is of a much older generation has, at times, been frustrated by my friend’s enthusiasm, energy and unyielding expectations.

I feel her pain—I’ve at times been nicknamed the “Tazmanian Devil,” by members of our Board—admittedly a less-than-flattering nickname, and one that sometimes makes me sad.

I get it—we’re frustrating, with all our notions about the world and desire to “do good” and “effectuate change.” We’re young and hungry, and we see the world differently.

But my challenge to you, agriculture, is to embrace my generation. Rethink your frustration, your defensiveness, your dismissal of that energy and those notions. Don’t squander that passion. Don’t ignore the opportunity to take risks and do things differently.

Reconnect with your hippie roots and remember the Magic Bus. Take a page from Google. Millennials aren’t the enemy: we’re just you—20, 30, or yes, even 40 years ago.  And for agriculture and the world’s sake—I hope we never lose that passion, that fervor or that hope for a better tomorrow.

#millenniallove. Give it a try.