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Episode 2: What most workplaces have totally backwards about Millennials and Gen Z

Employ­ers and peo­ple lead­ers across indus­tries are fac­ing the same chal­lenge at work.

How do you lead a diverse work­force well?

For the first time in his­to­ry, there are five dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions in the work­place — Silent, Boomer, Gen X, Mil­len­ni­al, and Gen Z. And each gen­er­a­tion has a fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence of the world, lead­ing to com­pet­ing expec­ta­tions of the employer.

How can lead­ers demon­strate care and respect for all of their employ­ees when they expe­ri­ence the same work envi­ron­ment dif­fer­ent­ly?

In this episode of How Peo­ple Work, Jor­dan and Jason dis­cuss how lead­ers can meet the com­pet­ing needs of today’s employ­ees with­out neglect­ing any one group. They’ll answer ques­tions like:

  • How do our employ­ees want to be recognized?
  • What incen­tives will moti­vate each generation?
  • How do employ­ees define well­be­ing and why does that matter?

Now avail­able on: YouTube | Apple Pod­casts | Spo­ti­fy

Key ideas and highlights

  • Cur­rent­ly, Mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z make up 35% and 7% of the workforce
  • By 2030, Mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z will make up over two-thirds of the workforce
  • Rewards and recog­ni­tion pro­grams need to be tai­lored to the dif­fer­ent expec­ta­tions of each generation
  • Show­ing appre­ci­a­tion to a Mil­len­ni­al in the same you would you show appre­ci­a­tion to a Boomer is like­ly to offend rather than inspire that employee
  • The expe­ri­ence of the world is fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent for each generation.
  • Employ­ers who aren’t aware of these dif­fer­ences will strug­gle to acquire and retain top talent.

“Com­pa­nies are gross­ly unpre­pared to han­dle the gen­er­a­tional shifts about to take place over the next 5 years. The expe­ri­ence of the world is fun­da­men­tal­ly dif­fer­ent for each generation.”

— Jason Murray

Word of the day

  • Ame­lio­rate — said @ 33:43 ✅


  • 0:00 Intro
  • 1:18 What are the five gen­er­a­tions in the workforce?
  • 3:06 What the work­force will look like by 2030
  • 3:56 The rad­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent expec­ta­tions each gen­er­a­tion has for their employer
  • 5:10 Why many recog­ni­tion pro­grams do more harm than good
  • 7:16 What each gen­er­a­tion has in com­mon at work
  • 17:18 How to lead all 5 gen­er­a­tions well
  • 22:50 What hap­pens when you view work as the enemy
  • 24:18 Why ​“work-life bal­ance” is a ridicu­lous false dichotomy
  • 26:30 What we stand to gain if we think of work as play
  • 27:30 What work, camp­ing, and sports have in common
  • 29:05 What lan­guage trips up lead­ers and silences employees?
  • 33:28 How lead­ing out of fear vs. trust will inform your tal­ent strategy


Jason Mur­ray 0:00

Well, wel­come back to the how peo­ple work Pod­cast. I’m Jason Mur­ray, I’m here with my co host and co founder of fringe Jor­dan Peace. Hey there. And on this pod­cast, we talk about the inter­sec­tion of how humans work as indi­vid­u­als and how they apply them­selves to work. And hope­ful­ly that helps us to be more insight­ful, com­pas­sion­ate, com­pelling lead­ers of peo­ple and com­pa­ny builders.

And so today, we’re con­tin­u­ing some of the themes that came out of our first episode, where we talked a lit­tle bit about our gen­e­sis sto­ry, around what is Fringe, how we got start­ed, a lit­tle bit of our back­sto­ry, and even why we’re pas­sion­ate about some of these top­ics. And so I think the the sort of over­ar­ch­ing premise, if you will, that might be help­ful for peo­ple to under­stand, that I think will be com­mon, but we want to dig into this in a lit­tle bit more detail is just how are the var­i­ous gen­er­a­tions out there in the work­force, impact­ing the way that work is get­ting done impact­ing the way that gen­er­a­tions are inter­act­ing with their employ­ers? And what does that rela­tion­ship look like? And I use that word rela­tion­ship very inten­tion­al­ly here —so pop quiz, sur­prise, to start us off.

Jor­dan Peace 1:20

Thank you for that. Appre­ci­ate it.

Jason Mur­ray 1:22

Can you name the gen­er­a­tions that are in the work­force today?

Jor­dan Peace 1:26

I think so. We got the Baby Boomers. The Gen Xers. Which I refer to as the baby boomer car­bon copies. Which is prob­a­bly not fair. Then Gen Y or mil­len­ni­al? Yeah, two names for our gen­er­a­tion. And then the Gen z’s. Okay, I miss some­body. That’s four of them.

Jason Mur­ray 1:52

You got some strag­glers in the Silent Gen­er­a­tion. Bless their hearts if they’re still working.

Jor­dan Peace 2:01

Yeah, I did­n’t. I nev­er thought about that.

Jason Mur­ray 2:05

But there are some that are still out there in the workforce.

Jor­dan Peace 2:10

I just saw a sto­ry today about a great grand­moth­er got her mas­ter’s degree at 87 years old. I’m like, Yeah, that’s awesome.

Jason Mur­ray 2:18

Appar­ent­ly, they’re so silent. You for­got about appar­ent­ly. So we got the gen­er­a­tions here. That’s prob­a­bly com­mon knowl­edge to most of us, who­ev­er that last one may be. It’s not com­mon to me. One of the things I think would be real­ly inter­est­ing, though, is to talk about, you know, espe­cial­ly in the work­place, is: How are we start­ing to expe­ri­ence some of the dif­fer­ent expec­ta­tions of these gen­er­a­tions who are com­ing into the work­force? And in par­tic­u­lar, what are the expec­ta­tions of mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z?

Mil­len­ni­als already make up 35% of the work­force, and Gen Z cur­rent­ly stands at about 7% to 10%. What I think is actu­al­ly stag­ger­ing is by 2025, over 30% of the work­force is esti­mat­ed to be Gen Z. And so we’re about to see a mas­sive change in the num­ber of employ­ees rep­re­sent­ed in the work­force by Gen Z. And so what that means then is s of the work­force by 2030 is going to be mil­len­ni­als and Gen Z. And so I think it’s of espe­cial impor­tance to talk about what’s going on with those gen­er­a­tions. So just as you’ve been in the busi­ness, and I’ve been work­ing in this space, what are some of the things that you’ve noticed along the way around expec­ta­tions of these dif­fer­ent generations?

Jor­dan Peace 4:03

Yeah, I think one of the things that stood out to me the more we we not only observe but also research and even write about this and pod­cast about this an inter­view oth­er folks about this, I remem­ber I inter­viewed a cul­tur­al anthro­pol­o­gist, one time, it was a fas­ci­nat­ing inter­view and learned a lot from that con­ver­sa­tion. But what you find is that human beings across gen­er­a­tions, much of what they want, at their core, is the same. The way they want that com­mu­ni­cat­ed or deliv­ered or who they want that mes­sage from changes dra­mat­i­cal­ly across gen­er­a­tions, right.

And then some­times there’s things that just com­plete­ly pop up for a new gen­er­a­tion. They have new needs, new desires that just most­ly because of tech­nol­o­gy advances in the world that either that oppor­tu­ni­ty or that thing just was­n’t vail­able in the past, but is as an exam­ple of some­thing that is com­mon­place, right? Every­body wants to feel seen and heard, every­body wants to feel appre­ci­at­ed at work, right? That appre­ci­a­tion in, let’s say the work­place 30 years ago, prob­a­bly would have come to the form of some­thing trans­ac­tion­al, when it comes to the form of a phys­i­cal award, prob­a­bly a plaque, some­thing that was actu­al­ly in and of itself expen­sive and heavy, right? A thing that said, This per­son is valu­able, they achieved some­thing, they bet­tered their peers, they’re the best of, of what­ev­er they are. And then of course, through income, right through a through a bonus or pro­mo­tion, which is still com­mon­place to this day.

If you were to give a plaque to a mil­len­ni­al, right, they would imme­di­ate­ly drop it in the trash can, right on their way out the door, like how they would actu­al­ly be offend­ed. Like, how dare you think that all this work I put in to sep­a­rate myself and to do some­thing great, and to con­tribute to the com­pa­ny. And you thought I want­ed a piece of met­al with some­thing engraved on it? I mean, the thought the thought­ful­ness is still there, the idea of just try­ing to say, hey, we see you, you’ve done a great job. But the per­spec­tive has come in, that’s just a, it’s just the lan­guage that you’re speak­ing, the heart of the mat­ter is, I want to feel appre­ci­at­ed, right? In both gen­er­a­tions. So it’s just real­ly inter­est­ing that like, some­times the, you know, at the very core, it’s noth­ing’s real­ly changed all that much. But if I say it in the wrong lan­guage, you actu­al­ly offend more than you do good. Show what you want to show. Yeah, so just just as a high­light, but I think that’s a lot of what I’ve learned is, when you get into con­ver­sa­tions with peo­ple in our par­ents’ gen­er­a­tions, you ask them about their expe­ri­ence at work, their expe­ri­ence is very dif­fer­ent. But if you dig into what they want­ed to expe­ri­ence, what the words are that they want­ed to hear from their boss, what they wish it would have been like, or the things that were great about their work with. A lot of that stuff turned out to be like, oh, yeah, I feel the same way. Yeah, yeah. No, like, I total­ly see that.

Jason Mur­ray 7:14

Right, well, I think that’s a real­ly impor­tant dis­tinc­tion there because I think it speaks to things that I think we believe to be true, which is that humans are, have intrin­sic val­ue to them. Humans have intrin­sic needs that are, you know, true about just who we are as peo­ple, regard­less of gen­er­a­tion. And so there are things gen­er­a­tional­ly in our expe­ri­ence of just world events, and things of that nature that have shaped who we are and how we go about and kind of oper­ate in the world. But at the same time, yeah, like that desire for appre­ci­a­tion and, you know, respect and what­ev­er the case may be. But I think it’s, it’s inter­est­ing. And it might be help­ful, even if we just share some of our own expe­ri­ences of our par­ents maybe and what were there maybe are some real­ly notable dif­fer­ences is what their expec­ta­tion of their employ­er was, because I would say, with my par­ents, in par­tic­u­lar, while they may have desired to have those things, they nev­er expect­ed it from their employ­er. And so although they might have appre­ci­at­ed hav­ing, you know, more recog­ni­tion in that fash­ion from man­agers and super­vi­sors, I think, you know, for my par­ents, it was real­ly like, I go to work to pro­vide for my fam­i­ly. It’s very trans­ac­tion­al, because they give me a pay­check. And I give them labor. And that’s all I’m ask­ing for. Or that’s all I expect from them. And any­thing more than that is like, that’s great. It’s kind of icing on the cake. And I think what’s changed, at least in my own expe­ri­ence that I found was like, Well, I don’t want that. You know, and I think that’s what a lot of folks in our gen­er­a­tion, you know, as mil­len­ni­als have seen, and part of what’s kind of cre­at­ing that, you know, reac­tion that maybe we’re see­ing in the work­force now,

Jor­dan Peace 9:08

I think it comes down to how peo­ple are raised. If you’re raised by folks that are com­ing out of, you know, the Depres­sion era, the expeca­tion is to just store away every­thing you have, be grate­ful for what lit­tle you do have if you have a job, hold on to that thing with all your mind, do what­ev­er you’re ask­ing. And then they raise the baby boomers, they raised this gen­er­a­tion of peo­ple, and they tell them about how hard things where they tell them about how for­tu­nate they are to have the oppo rtu­ni­ties that they have. And I think it just cre­ates a sit­u­a­tion where the mes­sage is: Go to work. Keep your head down, keep your mouth shut, do what you’re told, right? And don’t have a lot of needs, right? I mean, that was the oth­er thing. It’s like, just the emo­tion­al avail­abil­i­ty of par­ents then ver­sus, like, what we expe­ri­enced prob­a­bly being raised and what our chil­dren are expe­ri­enced being raised. Like, and again, speak­ing in gen­er­al­i­ties, but that’s what we’re doing in this point in this episode, right? We are just going to be much more emo­tion­al­ly avail­able. And so what is the mes­sage that my par­ents were very emo­tion­al­ly avail­able to me grow­ing up, and so the mes­sage that taught me was, I’m allowed to have needs, I’m allowed to want things I’m allowed to be upset, I’m allowed to not feel like the rela­tion­ship’s okay, and want to kind of restore that, what­ev­er. But if you’re not grow­ing up in a sit­u­a­tion where that’s being pro­mot­ed, you’re not gonna go to work and expect some per­son that’s not even your fam­i­ly, to sit down with you and go, ​“You seem to real­ly hav­ing a real­ly hard day, what can we do to help you?” You expect to hear, ​“Shut up and do your job”. Right. So it’s, it’s, it’s not so much only the work­place, the work­place is kind of an out­pour­ing of I think, what hap­pens in the home. And that, and that’s what’s been passed down to the, through the gen­er­a­tions is that there’s just more emo­tion­al avail­abil­i­ty, more of a rela­tion­al aspect, between par­ent and child that is more around feel­ings, right? And so there­fore, when you go to work, and you have this rela­tion­ships, it’s not meant to be parental, but you do hear peo­ple bor­row that lan­guage, when they talk about the work­place, and they talk about, then they should­n’t, but they talk about employ­ees as kids, right, you hear that all the time. And and I think the rea­son why that lan­guage is being bor­rowed is because peo­ple drag that in to the work­place and it affects their expec­ta­tions of who their employ­er is and who they’re going to be.

Jason Mur­ray 12:02

Well, I think it’s real­ly impor­tant that we not just gloss over the fact that there are these gen­er­a­tions, and there are these dif­fer­ences, too, because I think the the time in his­to­ry that we’re liv­ing in right now is one of the most unique that we’ve ever seen. So there’s nev­er been a time in human his­to­ry where there’s been lit­er­al­ly five gen­er­a­tions of human beings that may be work­ing togeth­er in the same place. That’s nev­er hap­pened before. And then lay­er on top of that, the fact that we’re liv­ing lit­er­al­ly in the fastest tech­no­log­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion that’s ever hap­pened in human his­to­ry over the last 20 years. So we’ve got both of these things going on at the same time. It’s real­ly hard to over­state how impact­ful that is to what peo­ple expect from work, how they think work should hap­pen, what com­pa­nies are try­ing to do. And so, you know, this isn’t like, you know, hey, let’s just kind of like make this gen­er­a­tion hap­py and move on. I think it’s actu­al­ly we real­ly have to fun­da­men­tal­ly look at how are com­pa­nies designed to enable peo­ple to work in a good way. And that’s some­thing we talked about in the last episode is this notion that work is good. Like, we think it’s a good thing for peo­ple to have that. And so it means that we real­ly have to rethink how com­pa­nies are designed to enable peo­ple to work effectively.

Jor­dan Peace 13:27

Yeah, no, we real­ly do. I mean, your point about tech­nol­o­gy, it actu­al­ly just made me think about some­body sent me on YouTube was like the first TV com­mer­cial ever for Microsoft Excel. I don’t know if you’ve seen that. It’s hilar­i­ous that the TV com­mer­cial is show­ing this per­son that has built a spread­sheet, and they drag a group of cells over to the right, and the for­mu­la gets applied into the future. And they’re like in an ele­va­tor, and every­one is just like — brains out the back of their skull! Like, what just hap­pened? It just makes me think like, that was­n’t that long ago, right. And if you had to build a spread­sheet, you were going to be work­ing on that thing for weeks. Right, you know, like just on this one thing for this one meet­ing to give that one report if you weren’t doing it on paper if you weren’t doing it on paper, right. And before that it was done on paper. And now, the tech­nol­o­gy is at a place where I would expect some­one to do that same work that took that per­son weeks, 30 years ago, to be able to get it done in a cou­ple of hours, and then go do anoth­er 40 tasks today. Right? And the tech­nol­o­gy allows it right. But as our brain chem­istry caught up to the fact that we can achieve that much in one day. And so it’s just inter­est­ing is we’re fight­ing against, not against but we’re fight­ing along­side tech­nol­o­gy’s chang­ing gen­er­a­tional expec­ta­tions, what a work­day should look like what you can accom­plish and it worked. A Right, right. And I think if I would have start­ed my career, which I did­n’t, but if I would have start­ed my career 30 years ago, and I’m still in that career now, I would feel like what, like, I’m expect­ed to do so much in one day, and I’m will­ing, because I’m of the gen­er­a­tion, I’m gonna do what­ev­er you tell me to do. I’m gonna hus­tle, I’m going to work hard, right? And but I’m play­ing catch up all the time. Where­as I think some­times, you know, if I could raise a crit­i­cism of our own gen­er­a­tion, we’ve become so effi­cient at doing things that some­times we can put in two or three hours of work, and we sit back and go, ​“I’ve accom­plished kind of a lot today”. I’m prob­a­bly good, right? Like, and you kind of see that reflect­ed in this ten­sion between like, you know, those of an old­er gen­er­a­tion, just like, you guys don’t even work.

Now in the younger gen­er­a­tions, like, actu­al­ly, we’re achiev­ing a whole lot, right? We’re just doing it more effi­cient­ly. And it’s, it’s prob­a­bly blow­ing your mind a lit­tle bit, but like, how do we learn from each oth­er in the right, you know, like, how do we not just go well, they’re old and wrong. And we’re young and right. Or if you’re sit­ting on the oth­er, and we’re kind of sit­ting in the mid­dle? You know, the two of us? Yeah, or go, ​“All those young lazy peo­ple, they don’t know how to put in an hon­est day’s work.” Right? And why don’t they do it? Like, nei­ther one is cor­rect, real­ly. And I think, you know, what’s sad to me about the work­place is it seems like it’s got­ten, it’s got­ten to a place where there’s not a lot of knowl­edge shar­ing, and I would even use the word like wis­dom shar­ing between the gen­er­a­tions. You know, it just I think there’s not a lot of respect giv­en to the knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence of those that have gone before. And there’s also not a lot of patience and under­stand­ing giv­en to the younger gen­er­a­tions of maybe you’re not actu­al­ly just worth­less and lazier.

I think you can’t ignore that ten­sion in this con­ver­sa­tion, because I think it’s one of the good rea­sons to talk about it, is to help open the con­ver­sa­tion of every gen­er­a­tion has some­thing to offer. And the oth­er side of the coin, of course, we’re going to get to is, if you’re an employ­er, you’ve got to think about how do I employ well, all five of these gen­er­a­tions? And how do I treat them real­ly well? How do I have prop­er expec­ta­tions for them?

Jason Mur­ray 17:31

That is just such a huge chal­lenge. I think that under­stand­ing between gen­er­a­tions is so impor­tant, because as we talked about that shift that’s hap­pen­ing over the next five years, I think com­pa­nies are just gross­ly unpre­pared for what’s hap­pen­ing. And some of that I think, is, you know, let’s say the arro­gance of maybe old­er mil­len­ni­als, like us that are kind of on the cusp of like Gen X. And then those old­er gen­er­a­tions that are frankly, the ones that are run­ning com­pa­nies, for the most part, yeah, that call the shots.

Those are the ones that, you know, tend to — even when they’re try­ing to be empa­thet­ic — lack the full under­stand­ing of how dif­fer­ent the expe­ri­ence of the world is for that new gen­er­a­tion. And so, I was think­ing it’d be fun to even think about, like, some of the exam­ples because for one, for instance, like cell­phones, you know, we’re like, we remem­ber a time in our lives. I’m 38, then that was not com­mon­place. Like, I got a cell phone my first year in col­lege, it was a flip phone, which I thought was pret­ty damn. The green back­lit screen. You know, and you had to like press like 999 but­tons to like, send one text mes­sage and so you just did­n’t send text mes­sages. It was too dif­fi­cult. That was kind of the real­i­ty ver­sus you know, when I look at what Gen Z is today, yeah, like my daugh­ter is in Gen Z. So Gen Z is any­one who’s ages 10 to 25 right now. And so her famil­iar­i­ty with like, a cell phone tex­ting, like how you inter­act with that tech­nol­o­gy is just so dif­fer­ent from what I experienced.

Jor­dan Peace 19:37

Yeah, yeah, def­i­nite­ly. And I think, you know, if you’re employ­ing peo­ple of these dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions, that’s where the seri­ous chal­lenge comes in. Because you have to have the wis­dom to under­stand what are the com­mon threads that span across, all gen­er­a­tions, right? If you don’t find those, you dri­ve your­self crazy, try­ing to con­tex­tu­al­ize every sin­gle thing you’re doing based on how old peo­ple are, what their expe­ri­ence has been, and so forth, right? You have to per­son­al­ize to some extent. But if you spend 100% of your time try­ing to per­son­al­ize mes­sages, you’ll just go insane. Like, you’ve got to find ways to com­mu­ni­cate, and you’ve got to find the heart of the mat­ter. And so, you know, I think one of the things, you know, we talked about appre­ci­a­tion, you know, but I think anoth­er thing is just peo­ple want, peo­ple want to under­stand how what they do, it does­n’t mat­ter if they’re 55 years old, or they’re 22 years old, they want to under­stand what how does what I do con­tribute to the greater cause of the com­pa­ny, right? That is not a new idea.

The new idea is that the caus­es, social and oth­er­wise, that a com­pa­ny stands for, ought to be aligned with what I stand for, right? That is a very younger gen­er­a­tion thing. I don’t think the old­er gen­er­a­tions care about that what­so­ev­er, because their iden­ti­ty is not asso­ci­at­ed with the com­pa­ny near­ly as tight­ly and there all sorts of rea­sons for that. That’s anoth­er episode, I think, right around how we go about our soci­ety and nav­i­gate the world. But every­body wants to feel like their job mat­ters. And I think that one of the chal­lenges is that for the old­er gen­er­a­tions that are not in the lead­er­ship role, right? That are in you know, that VP lev­el, man­ag­er lev­el, what­ev­er it is, they can eas­i­ly feel like the world’s kind of pass­ing me by, I’m just sort of like hang­ing out wait­ing for retire­ment, I’m just try­ing to get to the fin­ish line, I’m not real­ly vital to this com­pa­ny any­more. And harken­ing back to this idea of wis­dom trans­fer, there’s just stuff that you can­not learn in a book, you can’t even learn through your first four or 5, 10 years in your career that we need to be hav­ing more men­tor­ship type of rela­tion­ships between the old­er and younger gen­er­a­tions, so that that stuff can get passed through so that we don’t grow busi­ness­es where you’re gen­er­al­iz­ing. Well, we don’t actu­al­ly learn how to do sat­is­fy­ing work, we don’t learn how to hus­tle to the point of, ​“Wow, I worked real­ly, real­ly hard this week.” And like, and I have this clear accom­plish­ment in front of me.

We were just talk­ing to some­body before we start­ed record­ing, who said he feels guilty when work­ing too hard. Like what Boomer would have ever said, ​“I feel guilty work­ing too hard”. Right? Like, that’s inter­est­ing. It and like, can you work too hard? Absolute­ly. Right. You absolute­ly can you can work your­self into the ground. But I think this belief has come to bear in our gen­er­a­tion, and per­haps the younger gen­er­a­tions that work is the ene­my and I just need to work as lit­tle as pos­si­ble so that I can go live. And it’s just miss­ing the fact that the liv­ing that you plan to do will actu­al­ly be far less sat­is­fy­ing. If you don’t strive and work real­ly hard to feel like you actu­al­ly earned the liv­ing and you actu­al­ly like need the rest and you need the restora­tion that comes with the time off because you gave it all you had when you were work­ing. That stuff just needs to get talked about between these generations.

Jason Mur­ray 24:51

Well, and and it’s real­ly fas­ci­nat­ing. So Mar­cus Buck­ing­ham talks about this in his book ​“Nine Lies About Work”. And, you know, we talked about this con­cept too, but basi­cal­ly the false dichoto­my of work life bal­ance, because I think it’s just ridicu­lous because like you said, work-life bal­ance sets up this, you know, you know, it puts work and life at odds with one anoth­er, like, yeah, work is neg­a­tive, right? And we want to do as lit­tle of it as pos­si­ble so that we can get around to our liv­ing, right, because life is where all the good stuff hap­pens. And it’s actu­al­ly not true about how humans are wired. Yeah, that some of the most ful­fill­ing things that we can do are inti­mate­ly inte­gral­ly tied into the work that we do. And so, you know, psy­chol­o­gists talk about this con­cept of ​“flow”. You know, when you get into those states of like, I’m doing work that I love, you lose track of time, and it does­n’t even feel like work. I mean, you might feel like, Hey, I worked hard, but it was­n’t drain­ing, or it was­n’t exhaust­ing, it was actu­al­ly high­ly ener­giz­ing. And so find­ing ways to cre­ate more of that is actu­al­ly going to be pos­i­tive for everyone.

Jor­dan Peace 26:01

Yeah, I mean, it’s real­ly fun­ny that we believe that false dichoto­my because if you think about how we play, they set up com­pet­i­tive games with rules that they can lose, right? And they have to exert them­selves. And they have to think real­ly hard. And even think about camp­ing! Peo­ple crit­i­cize camp­ing, and I get why they do, but peo­ple put them­selves out of the home that they have with run­ning water and elec­tric­i­ty, and inten­tion­al­ly make life a lot hard­er to go in the woods and set up a tent and sleep with wild ani­mals. That’s work. But it’s sat­is­fy­ing, because you wake up in the morn­ing, and you’re like, I just slept out in the wilder­ness. Like, I don’t need all this house and elec­tric­i­ty and stuff. Like I’m tough. There’s some­thing real­ly cool about that. And so, like, why do we believe that work is bad when all we end up doing when we’re not work­ing is set­ting up ways for us to work?

Jason Mur­ray 27:02

Yeah. Maybe that’s it? Maybe that’s an inter­est­ing dis­tinc­tion is, you know, pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions nev­er expect­ed work to feel like play, right? But sure, there’s maybe more of a desire that’s being expressed for that to be true. Because if you think about kids, like play is how you explore the world and play’s, how you engage with things that are new or fun, or it’s sort of how you learn. Yeah. And so like, why would­n’t we want work to feel more like play, and then it becomes this thing that’s ful­ly inte­grat­ed into your life. Because the prob­lem with that dichotomies, when you set it up is, you know, these two things that are at odds with one anoth­er. I mean, think about how much time you have to spend at work, like it’s unavoid­able, unless you’ve got some giant trust fund.

Jor­dan Peace 27:48

But like, I mean, we had clients that were trust fund kids and how hap­py were those peo­ple? Yeah, most­ly miserable?

Jason Mur­ray 27:59

Because it tells you some­thing. Yeah. about human nature. Yeah. Which is we need respon­si­bil­i­ty for some­thing because the respon­si­bil­i­ty gives us pur­pose. And that pur­pose is what actu­al­ly gives us sat­is­fac­tion. So if we don’t have a pur­pose to strive for, which is, I think, the appeal of games, right? We set up these com­pet­i­tive games, because what are we doing, we’re aim­ing for a goal, col­lec­tive­ly. And it’s a whole hell of a lot of fun when you’re aim­ing for a goal col­lec­tive­ly. And so that’s more or less what we should be in busi­ness. Right. And so, I mean, it’d be real­ly inter­est­ing to talk about, you know, we haven’t fig­ured all this stuff out. That’s why we’re talk­ing about it. But what are some of the things that we’ve been try­ing around here at Fringe that you feel like, you know, we’ve seen some suc­cess with?

Jor­dan Peace 28:46

Gosh, I mean, just in terms of kind of, like gam­i­fy­ing, the work experience?

Jason Mur­ray 28:52

In the last episode, you talked a lit­tle bit about, you know, the the dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ence peo­ple have expressed when they’ve come to work here. And so it’s not to, you know, self con­grat­u­late our­selves on what we’ve built here. I’ve actu­al­ly found it quite sur­pris­ing. Yeah, you know, how much peo­ple have emot­ed about that expe­ri­ence? Because, again, you know, you and I did­n’t have a ton of, you know, cor­po­rate expe­ri­ence, or we did­n’t work at star­tups, before buy­ing com­pa­nies or small com­pa­nies, we kind of just did solo­pre­neur things and start­ed a small com­pa­ny that is the two of us. And so I don’t think we had expec­ta­tions. So for me, it’s actu­al­ly been more sur­pris­ing, but it feels like there’s some things that we’re doing that seemed to be working.

Jor­dan Peace 29:35

Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think a lot of its cul­tur­al, right. I think a lot of it is is how you talk about peo­ple, right? I think it’s the words you use, right? So I think they’re one of the biggest prob­lems like is when we play, right when we go we get on the team and we play a game. It’s all very egal­i­tar­i­an. And I’m not say­ing that that’s how the work­place should be. You absolute­ly need author­i­ty and you actu­al­ly need lead­ers and so forth. How­ev­er, you, you don’t have to talk down to peo­ple, right? You don’t have to call your­self, the per­son­’s boss all the time, you could say we work togeth­er, you don’t have to say I’m this many lev­els up or down. Like it’s some of the lan­guage that I think is prob­lem­at­ic. I don’t care what gen­er­a­tion you’re in, that it’s just not the right way to approach some­body and say, Hey, we’re all human beings, we’re all here to work. We’re all here to achieve a goal. Like, let’s go get this done and imme­di­ate­ly sets up a sit­u­a­tion where, because I’m me, and you’re you, we’re going to do it my way, my opin­ion is just the one that just silences peo­ple, right? Because like that, you’re con­stant­ly remind­ing peo­ple that they’re not impor­tant as you are, which is, first of all, not true from a human lev­el. But sec­ond­ly, it just real­ly sti­fles the cre­ativ­i­ty in the room. And I think pre­vents peo­ple from hav­ing that courage. Say, I got an idea. Like, it’s my first week, and I’m 22 years old, and I’m fresh out of school, and I have an idea. And my idea might be ter­ri­ble, but it might be the thing that takes your com­pa­ny to the next lev­el. Right? And you will not hear it. Unless you show that humil­i­ty in that respect. Yeah. And so I think we’ve, I think we’ve just set up a place where, and again, I want to pat myself on the back or you or any­body else, but it’s there’s a humil­i­ty and lead­er­ship that I think brings every­body’s voice to bear. I think the oth­er thing that we’ve done is, I think we’ve allowed peo­ple to work in the way that they need to work based on their their sit­u­a­tion, right? Like if they’re, they’re so low at home. And that’s, you know, they get dis­tract­ed that you know, or they’re, they can’t focus, they need to come into the office, we have that avail­able, they can do that they can be engaged that way. If they’re, like you and me with a bunch of kids at home, it’s like, we need to escape we got to get here. But occa­sion­al­ly, it’s like, I got­ta just like lock myself in a room. And so I was like, All right, like hav­ing those options avail­able. And being able to pro­vide dif­fer­ent, you know, means for peo­ple I think has been big. I think, again, that’s a gen­er­al­ly gen­er­a­tional expe­ri­ence as well, because you need dif­fer­ent things when you’re 25, than you do when you’re 35 and 45. And 55. In your work­place, and then your envi­ron­ment and, and also the time, right? Like, I don’t mind any of our employ­ees hear­ing that, like every what is it? Wednes­day, I leave at three o’clock, I go home, I grab my daugh­ter, I take her to gym­nas­tics where they’re from 430 to six. A lot of times I’ll sit and watch or some­times I’ll do a lit­tle work in the car, some­times a mix of both, right? But then again, I’m here at 10 o’clock at night, right doing this because this is play, right? For me, this is fun, but it’s you know, it’s also accoun­tants work, right? And so does that flex­i­bil­i­ty, too. You know, work when you want to work and play when you want to play, like there’s a trust that you give over. And not every­body can han­dle that trust, right. And that’s why you got to be first, real­ly care­ful about who you hire. And also, like not try to hold on to peo­ple that you don’t think can actu­al­ly mature quick­ly han­dle the trust. What if you can trust peo­ple with that time and give them that free­dom? It’s just a beau­ti­ful thing, because they appre­ci­ate so they appre­ci­ate it so, so much, right? And it real­ly elic­its a whole lot of loy­al­ty and respect and good­will between the two par­ties. Yes. I mean, I could go on about a lot of things that we’ve done, I think ame­lio­rates the tra­di­tion­al, you know, cor­po­rate model.

Jason Mur­ray 33:46

Every­one catch that? I was just won­der­ing if I was gonna have to tip you off there. Give you a lit­tle help on that one. Yeah, I think that the trust piece real­ly res­onates with me. Because, you know, in my mind, I like to think about, you know, is there is there a crit­i­cal lever that makes a lot of oth­er things work? Right. So there’s lots of tac­tics that you can imple­ment to make things work in your com­pa­ny, you know, flex­i­ble work sched­ules, yada, yada, yada, the ben­e­fits that you pro­vide all of these kinds of things that, you know, help com­mu­ni­cate some­thing, but it real­ly starts I think, with that trust, it’s like the reci­procity that comes from, you know, orga­ni­za­tion lead­ers say­ing to their peo­ple, Hey, I trust you to you under­stand the job. And just, you work when you need, like, you don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly have the hours lto get it done.

Well I mean, as some­one who’s an intro­vert, and I know you’re an extro­vert, even like the expe­ri­ence of flex­i­bil­i­ty of work­places. It’s like, there are some days where I’m just like, I’d pre­fer to work at home, even with the kids run­ning around down­stairs because like, I just need to focus I need that time like there. Do some­thing about that. And like, I don’t think twice about it, because there is that flex­i­bil­i­ty that actu­al­ly enables the work to hap­pen in the way that it needs to hap­pen. And so I think that’s a real­ly pow­er­ful thing, if we can design that expe­ri­ence for all employ­ees, and it has to be done with a lot of intention.

Jor­dan Peace 35:18

Well I think the qual­i­ty of your employ­ees is more impor­tant than ever. Because if you’re going to lead from a stand­point of trust, that’s a very dif­fer­ent thing from lead­ing out of fear. Because you can dri­ve peo­ple that are not actu­al­ly that great of an employ­ee through fear to just do the job, right. And you prob­a­bly could get fur­ther with less tal­ent­ed peo­ple, if you’re lead­ing out of fear, not real­ly an enjoy­able way to lead not an enjoy­able thing for the peo­ple work­ing for you. But from an effec­tive­ness stand­point, you prob­a­bly could get more out of less so to speak. But if you’re going to lead out of trust, you need not only tal­ent­ed peo­ple, but mature peo­ple and self moti­vat­ed peo­ple. And peo­ple that don’t need some­body cuz you can’t have some­body look­ing over their shoul­der all the time, lit­er­al­ly phys­i­cal­ly. So that it real­ly changes I think, how you need to look at the tal­ent pool.

Jason Mur­ray 36:13

I think that’s a great ques­tion. In some respects a good place to wrap up on this idea. Are you dri­ving peo­ple out of fear? Or are you lead­ing out of trust? And I think there’s a lot of things that you could answer about your com­pa­ny based on, you know, the way that you would respond to that question.

Well, we have a long stand­ing tra­di­tion on this show, now that we’re on the sec­ond episode here. Where I do pick a word, some­what at random.

Jor­dan Peace 36:40

The word today was ame­lio­rate if you did­n’t lis­ten to the first episode. That’s why Jason kind of freaked out when I said the word ame­lio­rate ear­li­er it was the secret word of the day.

Jason Mur­ray 36:51

And it was well placed and well used. And accu­rate. Yes, I can attest to that fact. So I did come up with the word of today myself and did­n’t use Google to find this one. So our word of today that will be woven into the con­ver­sa­tion in the next episode is cacophony.

Jor­dan Peace 37:11

Wow. You’re upping the ante imme­di­ate­ly from ame­lio­rate to cacophony.

Jason Mur­ray 37:18

I know how much you love words, and I do I do this and I’m a lit­tle bit but it’s gonna be fun. Yes,

Jor­dan Peace 37:22

let’s do it. Thanks, every­body, for lis­ten­ing episode two of how peo­ple work. We’re real­ly enjoy­ing this. I hope you’re real­ly enjoy­ing this, and we’ll see you on the next one. Bye bye bye.

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