How 31-year old 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year and TaskUs co-founder Jaspar Weir Leads 8,000 Millennials and Built a Global Business

Jaspar Weir

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Guest: Jaspar Weir, co-founder and president of TaskUs, the leading provider of customer care and back-office outsourcing to evolving businesses around the world. Recently, Jaspar and his partner, Bryce Maddock, won the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Greater Los Angeles award.

Episode in a Tweet: Engage millennials on your team with strong culture and a clear purpose to get BIG results.

Quick Background: Since 2008, TaskUs has grown from a struggling start-up run by two entrepreneurs out of their parents’ houses into a thriving company with more than 8,000 employees around the world. Jaspar says millennials comprise over 90% of his workforce, and TaskUs has invested substantial time and resources in measuring and improving the engagement of its employees to keep building on its rapid growth.

On today’s show, Jaspar points past Bulletproof Coffee and Avocado Toast memes to discuss how strong corporate culture and a defined sense of purpose can attract, engage, and retain top millennial talent.

Transcript: Download the full transcript here.

Key Insights on Managing Millennials

1. Harness the stereotypes.

The stereotype of coddled millennials, brought up with an iPhone in-hand and feeling like they’re incredibly special exists because … Well, because it’s kind of true! “I had two brothers, and we were constantly given participation trophies,” remembers Jaspar. “We really were told, ‘You’re special.’ That’s really true in our generation.” Also, because millennials grew up with always-on, always-connected tech as a part of their lives, they’re used to their less-connected boomer parents consulting them about big purchases.  Jaspar points out that a majority of home-sale searches are started by millennials – not for themselves, but for their parents.

In other words, the millennials on your staff are used to being asked for their opinions, and having those opinions respected. Jaspar recommends using that mindset “as an advantage and not thinking about it as, ‘Oh, these guys are entitled. They’re spoiled,’ but actually using that as a tool to get them engaged with work.” The more engaged your employees are, the more effective they’ll be at executing the tasks that will move your company closer to your BIG goals. And if your millennial employees feel like your door is always open, they’ll feel more free to share a potentially crazy idea that might put you at the forefront of the next big disruption in your industry.

2. Your company’s culture is your strongest manager.

As TaskUs grew, Jaspar and Bryce knew that the only way to keep thousands of millennials all over the world focused on the same mission was to stick to a set of core values:

  • Inspire others by believing in yourself.
  • Do more with less.
  • Be ridiculous.
  • Teamwork makes a dream work.
  • Continuous self-improvement.
  • Always strive for excellence.
  • Exercise emotional intelligence.

Sounds like a mouthful, but Jaspar says, ” I would bet almost every single one of our 8000-plus employees could tell you all of our core values — because we reinforce them.” For example, TaskUs makes a habit of concluding its meetings by having employees recognize each other for exhibiting a core value in their work performance that week.

TaskUs also uses these principles as part of their annual employee reviews. Jaspar says these reviews are “constantly reinforcing behavior and using these critical coaching moments, especially when they’re constructive feedback, to create these patterns within our employees where they really recognize the behavior and correlate it to a core value.”

 3. Hire employees who share your values.

Jaspar and Bryce have trained their managers to look beyond resumes when hiring millennials, and include questions that test whether a potential candidate shares the values that are important to TaskUs’ success. Jaspar doesn’t just want to see sterling recommendations, he wants to know how a candidate has exhibited a commitment to “continuous self-improvement” in their profession; how he or she has “exercised emotional intelligence” during a stressful situation; or been a little “ridiculous” in ways that shook up the workplace for the better.

4. Practice radical transparency.

The companies that baby boomers worked for were often closed-off and impersonal. Millennials have grown up with all of the world’s information right at their fingertips. They expect that same free flow from their employers. TaskUs is very open with its financial statements, which keeps the rumor mill from spreading any misinformation, and instills confidence in employees.

Jaspar and Bryce also hold town hall-style meetings at their Santa Monica headquarters, and whenever they visit any of their operational sites. Before these meetings, employees are given the opportunity to answer a survey and submit questions. To date, Jaspar and Bryce have answered every single question their employees have asked, even hard-hitting questions about budget cuts and financing. “We think that that kind of transparency buys us trust with our team,” says Jaspar.

5. Keep your team engaged, and measure their engagement.

Jaspar has learned that millennials really do want to feel like they’re working for a company that has a purpose, and that will respect them as individuals. He encourages CEOs to “find genuine passions of your team that can give opportunities to give back to your local communities or larger entrepreneurial communities and organizations that you support.” TaskUs even allocates business time to giving back via corporate-sponsored charities and initiatives at its local offices.

Jaspar also emphasizes the Employee Net Promoter Score, “which asks our global workforce on a quarterly basis, ‘How likely are you to recommend TaskUs as a place to work for your friends and family?’ And we manage and measure this metric like we do revenue and profit.” Strong core values and the investments that Jaspar and Bryce have made in a beautiful working environment drive ENPS numbers that place TaskUs near top companies like Apple.

Top Takeaways

1. Millennials are not boomers, but they aren’t just fragile and entitled either. Respect the unique strengths of this new talent pool.

2. Your company’s core values will create a culture of accountability that keeps everyone on target while attracting and retaining young talent.

3. Engage millennial workers with a purpose beyond profit, and use the ENPS to keep tabs on that engagement.

Transcript: Download the full transcript here.