Work=Life: Redefining the 9-to-5

How Echo Global Logistics makes millennials feel at home in the workplace


Location. Pay. Advancement. When it comes to taking and keeping a job, these factors typically top the list.

Millennial employees have different priorities.

“Millennials specifically want their work experience to match their life experience,” said Cheryl Johnson, Senior Vice President of Talent at Echo Global Logistics.

A leading transportation management provider, Echo’s workforce is both geographically dispersed and 75 percent millennial. The company’s personnel is a reflection of a national trend first reported in 2015: adults aged 18 to 35 are now the largest segment of the US workforce.

Speaking at the recent HR Insight Summit, Johnson said Echo is using the power of IT to create a workplace experience that will inspire millennial loyalty.

“They want to be connected. They want to know what’s going on. They want to connect to people, even to people they don’t know,” said Johnson. “They want their opinion heard. They want people to know they exist…that they’re out there. And they want to be appreciated.”

Millennials like being in teams. They will stick around longer if they feel included and connected.

Utilizing HighGround employee engagement software, Echo developed ENGAGE, an ‘internal Facebook’ where employees can ‘connect, be seen, heard and appreciated.’

“This was a key, instrumental tool for us when we were rolling out our values,” said Johnson. “We put in this system so that they could help us bring it to life organically from the bottom up, not just from the top down.”

Polling, surveys, feedback loops (both internal and external), and collaboration tools are central offerings of ENGAGE.

“They [millennials] like being in teams. They feel isolated when they are not part of teams. So it’s really important that you find a way to make sure the work they are part of is in a team setting,” said Johnson. “They will stick around longer if they feel included and connected.”

And those same feedback loops allow the executive team to give shout-outs to employees at all levels of the organization.

“People want to know that the higher-ups know what they’re doing,” said Johnson. “Because the higher-ups are making decisions about our future. And being able to be seen here is huge.”

Johnson also employs some non-traditional methods for learning and development.

“This is the YouTube generation,” said Johnson. “I curate their learning experiences with podcasts, TED Talks…in snippets and in formats that are familiar to them.”

Johnson recommends mentoring programs, volunteer opportunities, employee interest groups and ‘lots of contests,’ and encourages companies to leverage every piece of available technology within the work environment to inspire millennial loyalty.

“It’s the reality. So you can either fight it, ignore it, or get right on that freight train and go with it, and get a more productive, excited and engaged workforce that will be excited to work there.”

If you’re interested in attending or learning more about the 2017 HR Insight Summit, visit the summit website for details.